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Erica Enders and BLACK iGUANA Frozen Ritas to Debut Pro Stock Partnership in Kansas

Erica Enders BLACK iGUANA Camaro

Erica Enders BLACK iGUANA Camaro

TOPEKA, KS (May 15) — Erica Enders’ Pro Stock car will return to it’s stealth-black paint scheme when she takes to Heartland Park Topeka in her new BLACK iGUANA-backed Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at the 25th Annual NHRA Kansas Nationals.

Enders has inked an initial two-race marketing partnership with Tomball, Texas-based DGI Beverage, creators of the innovative pouch drink. The wildly popular NHRA racer will continue her Championship hunt with Cagnazzi Racing, introducing the BLACK iGUANA brand of packaged cocktails to drag racing fans nationwide.

“We’re very excited to bring BLACK iGUANA the national exposure and marketing horsepower it deserves. They’ve been huge supporters of ours and couldn’t be a better group of guys to work with. It’s a great product with a taste, look and convenience that can become a major player in the industry,” said Enders. “As they work on growth and investment as a company, we’re looking to prove our program and the loyal NHRA fans can play a huge role in achieving their corporate goals. If we do our job, and the fans respond well, this is just the beginning of a very exciting marketing partnership.”

BLACK iGUANA’s line of premium ready-to-drink margarita cocktails are packaged in fun, single-serving, pouches. With four flavors: Classic Lime, Strawberry, Peach and Pina Colada, the company started in 2005 and has been a catalyst for the fast-growing pouch beverage segment.
BLACK iGUANA Frozen Rita flavors
The patented BLACK iGUANA pouch features a convenient resealable spout for easy drinking and portability. There’s no blender, no mix, and no mess. Whether chilled or frozen, they are a perfect for on-the-go activities, from the beach to tailgating to backyard barbeques. With no metal or glass, they create less waste and go where other containers can’t be enjoyed.

Plus, with it’s distinctive black packaging and smirking iguana logo, fans of Erica’s history-making flat black racecar will be happy to see it’s full return as part of the BLACK iGUANA Camaro’s new look.

With their entry into NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing, DGI Beverage looks to grow the BLACK iGUANA brand with a national marketing program that follows the same grassroots philosophy of promotion that got them their start. The family-run company regularly sponsors and supported local festivals, music and community events across the South.

“We came up with the idea for BLACK iGUANA while enjoying time spent outdoors with family and friends. And that’s what going to the races is all about,” said co-founder Earl Castor. “We fell in love with Erica and how the drag racing community supports products that support NHRA teams. It’s fans get an experience and level of access to their favorite drivers that’s unlike anything else in motorsports. We want to be a part of that.”

BLACK iGUANA joins a winning combination with Enders and Cagnazzi Racing in the competitive Pro Stock class. In the last 18 races, Enders has been to nine finals, winning five and finishing 2nd in this year’s K&N Horsepower Challenge. In the past eight years, Cagnazzi has accumulated 64 NHRA National Event wins and are two-time NHRA Pro Stock World Champions.

Look for Erica behind the wheel of the BLACK iGUANA Camaro during qualifying for the NHRA Kansas Nationals beginning at 5:00 PM CDT at Heartland Park Topeka and continuing Saturday at 12:15 PM. Sunday eliminations are set to begin at 11:00 AM.

ESPN2’s broadcast of qualifying will begin at 4:30 PM on Saturday, with eliminations airing at 8:00 PM Sunday, May 19th.


www.BLACKiGUANA.com

Video: Erica Enders-Stevens & Dave Connolly Interview Segment

Watch this interview segment of Erica and crew chief Dave Connolly aired during the Spring Nationals in Houston.

Houston native Enders-Stevens in search of hometown victory

ee4Erica Enders-Stevens is easily the most successful woman in NHRA Pro Stock history. After a stellar 2012 season behind the wheel of her GK Motorsports Chevy that produced four wins in seven final rounds and a fourth-place points finish, there is one thing that would make her even more proud: to win a Wally in front of her hometown crowd at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Royal Purple Raceway.

“It would be amazing to win at home,” Enders-Stevens said. “We were able to get it done in Super Gas at the national event in 2004. I’m hopeful that we can seal the deal in Pro Stock as well. Not only am I from Houston, but my sponsors are also. It would be twice as special.”

Enders-Stevens is hoping that the momentum her team produced from winning the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix in late February will help push her to a second victory this season in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock), and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners of the event that will be televised on ESPN2HD.

Enders-Stevens practically grew up at Royal Purple Raceway, where she got her first taste of speed behind the wheel of an NHRA Jr. Dragster.

“I obviously love racing at home,” Enders-Stevens said. “I made my first pass at RPR back in 1992 in my Jr. Dragster, and prior to that, I grew up there watching my dad race. We had a lot of success in my JDRL and Sportsman days at RPR. That track and the Angel family [track owners] mean a lot to me.”

Enders-Stevens is already off to a great start this season with one win in three final-round appearances as well as a runner-up finish in the lucrative K&N Horsepower Challenge, a specialty bonus event that took place in Las Vegas. Currently sitting third in the points standings, she is looking forward to more positive results in Houston and throughout the 2013 season.

“I’m pleased with our efforts so far this season, but being the perfectionist and eternal optimist that I am, I know we can do better,” Enders-Stevens said. “We let a big double-up win in Vegas slip through our fingers. We have been testing nonstop since then, and I’m confident that we are bettering our new Chevy Camaro and ourselves. One thing is for certain: When we go up to the line, I know we have all given 150 percent.”

If the Pro Stock fan favorite is going to add a Royal Purple Raceway victory to her list of accomplishments, she’ll have to hold off a tough group of challengers, including two-time defending event winner Nobile, defending world champ Allen Johnson, series points leader Mike Edwards, and Summit Racing’s Jason Line and Greg Anderson, among others.

[Source: NHRA.com]

Video: Cagnazzi Racing Shop Tour

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Cagnazzi Racing as the ESPN crew visits its Mooresville, NC facility leading up the Four-Wide Nationals in Concord.

Erica Enders-Stevens Debuts New NHRA Pro Stock Camaro

enders-gored-camaroDETROIT – NHRA Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens debuts an all-new Camaro SS-bodied race car this weekend at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, in Gainesville, Fla. It features a bold graphics package calling attention to the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign for heart disease prevention.

Coming off a win at the Phoenix race on Feb. 24, she rolls into the Gatornationals second in the NHRA Mello Yellow Championship Pro Stock standings, 16 points behind Vincent Nobile. Along with Chevrolet Performance, Enders-Stevens and GK Motorsports-supported Cagnazzi Racing have a longstanding relationship with the American Heart Association.

“Erica is a great competitor and with her win in Phoenix, she is poised to do well at the Gatornationals in her first outing with the new Camaro,” said Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Heart disease is a tough competitor, too, and the awareness Erica and the Cagnazzi Racing team bring to the subject through Go Red For Women is an important reminder to never slow down in the race to beat it. We’re proud to partner with her on this important topic.”

Enders-Stevens is the latest of a growing number of Pro Stock racers to campaign a Camaro-bodied race car. NHRA approved the body last year, after Chevrolet supplied a production model on which the bodywork was based. Time in General Motors’ wind tunnel was also donated to ensure the race car body performed well at 200+mph top speeds reached by modern Pro Stock cars in quarter-mile competition. The bodies resemble a production Camaro SS, but are aerodynamically optimized to minimize down force for speed.

Camaro bodies are also becoming increasingly popular in sportsman-level drag racing, including Pro Mod, while Chevrolet offers factory-built COPO Camaros designed for Stock Eliminator classes. All classes are represented this weekend at the Gatornationals.

“If you’re a Camaro fan, you’ll have plenty to cheer about in Gainesville – especially if Erica Enders-Stevens can pull off back-to-back wins in her new race car,” said Campbell.

Fans can learn more about Chevrolet race cars and the drivers behind them at theblock.com, the online automotive community powered by Chevrolet Performance, or by signing up for Chevrolet Performance’s FUEL e-newsletter at chevroletperformance.com.

Heart help

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women. In fact, more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease-related causes every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s 25 percent of all deaths. In women, however, heart disease accounts for one in three deaths.

“It is an eye-opener to learn how many women are affected by heart disease, and how the symptoms of a heart attack can go overlooked until the situation gets worse,” said Enders-Stevens. “It’s a privilege to work with Chevrolet and the American Heart Association to help make a difference. Go Red is something everyone can benefit from to improve awareness and even save lives.”

The GM Foundation and Chevrolet Performance have donated more than $1 million to the American Heart Association over the years – contributions that have been used to increase awareness of heart disease and its prevention, as well as research into treating it.

“Erica’s passion for racing is parallel to the American Heart Association’s lifesaving goal to beat heart disease in women,” said Kathy Kauffmann, executive director and vice president of the Metro Detroit American Heart Association. “The Association commends Erica for bringing Go Red For Women to the forefront, educating women about their No. 1 health threat. She won’t be stopped and realizes neither will heart disease unless it becomes the front-and-center issue for women – and the Go Red For Women movement is the call to do just that.”

More information about Go Red For Women, including how to donate to heart disease research and prevention advocacy, is available online at goredforwomen.org and facebook.com/GoRedForWomen, as well as Twitter: @GoRedForWomen.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

Erica Enders-Stevens Rebounds in Phoenix to Capture Her First NHRA Pro Stock Win of 2013

Erica Enders with Wally after Phoenix win

Erica Enders with Wally after Phoenix winPHOENIX, AZ — While Danica Patrick made women’s history in Daytona, KLR Group driver Erica Enders-Stevens rallied back from an early exit last weekend to claim her 5th career NHRA Pro Stock win at the 29th annual Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway outside of Phoenix.

Driving the Cagnazzi Racing-powered GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt from the number seven qualifying position, Erica advanced over Shane Gray in the first round before facing number two qualifier V. Gaines. With identical elapsed times of 6.533 seconds, Erica out-drove Gaines, posting a .033 reaction time to his .074. With the holeshot win, she advanced to a semi final matchup against 2-time champion Jason Line.

With lane choice in Line’s favor, Erica’s pass of 6.563 @ 212.19 mph bested Line, who shook the tires early and ended his run with a 6.619 @ 212.76 mph. She would advance to face Mike Edwards, whose Camaro dominated qualifying, claiming the number one spot for the second race in a row.

Yet in the final it was all Erica. Scoring a massive .053 second jump, she nailed her 2nd holeshot win of the event, beating Edwards to the finish line by over 10 feet with a 6.538 @ 211.99 to his 6.520 @ 213.74.

“Going into the final we knew we had to pull out all the stops,” said Erica. “The way we started this year, it was a gut check to see if we could get back to last year’s performance level.”

During last weekend’s Winternationals in Pomona, Enders-Stevens’ number three qualifying advantage was cut short by a crushing engine failure during the first round of eliminations, allowing Kurt Johnson to claim the win light.

But with Sunday’s win, Erica has rebounded to 2nd place in overall Pro Stock points with 155, trailing Vincent Nobile’s 171. She also joins Nobile as the first Pro Stock drivers to capture a Wally in the new NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and the second woman, alongside Funny Car driver Courtney Force.

Enders holeshot on Mike Edwards in Phoenix

Enders Kicks off NHRA Winternationals as Top Three Qualifier, Eyes First Pro Stock Win of 2013 Mello Yello Series

Erica Enders Cobalt at 2013 Winternationals

Erica Enders Cobalt at 2013 WinternationalsPomona, CA — Driving the stealth-black GK Motorsports Cobalt that took her to four 2012 event wins, Erica Ender’s Cagnazzi Racing-powered Chevy arrived in California after a brief test session in Las Vegas… and went on to secure the 3rd qualifying spot in a cutthroat field at the 53rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals.

“Victor [Cagnazzi] and my guys worked hard on some new stuff this winter and it’s bearing fruit,” Enders stated. “We know we have a winner in the Cobalt, so we have a solid platform to work from while we finish preparing our new Camaro.”

Mike Edwards and V. Gaines secured the 1st and 2nd spots with a 6.528 and 6.538, respectively. Ender’s 6.539 @ 212.23 mph put her ahead of Jason Line’s 6.541. Vincent Nobile rounded out the top five with a 6.551. Defending champ Allen Johnson had trouble making a full pass during the first two sessions, qualifying 10th overall with a 6.594.

While Saturday’s warmer conditions resulted in overall slower ETs, protecting the top four spots, Enders went on to be the 2nd fastest car during the final two sessions, backing up her Friday performance and accumulating a total of six bonus points.

“We had a few things go our way early that helped us hold onto the 3rd spot, and we were able to stay one of the fastest through Saturday,” said Enders. “We’re excited to see what Sunday could mean for us.”

With the start of the season comes the start of a new series. The winner of Sunday’s race will also be the first to win a Wally in the newly-named Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

“There are some fast cars out there, and we’ve got our work cut out for us,” said crew cheif Dave Connolly. “But to get the first Pro Stock win in the new series would be a huge way to start the season.”

Erica faces Kurt Johnson in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations from Pomona’s Auto Club Raceway. Catch the action on ESPN2 starting at 8:00 pm Eastern / 5:00 pm Pacific time.

Enders’ GK Motorsports gang named sport’s ‘Hard-Working Crew’

cagnazzi-hard-working-crew.jpgHOLLYWOOD, CA — KLR Group driver Erica Enders’ GK Motorsports team repeated as the Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award winners for the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class, earning the honor at the NHRA Awards Ceremony Monday night at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Enders’ team was nominated for its performance in guiding her to an historic victory July 1 in Joliet, Ill. Enders became the first woman to won a Pro Stock race when he beat Greg Anderson in the final of the Route 66 Raceway.

ESPN’s crew determines the Hard-Working Crew for each national event. After the late October race in Las Vegas, four teams from each of the four professional categories were announced as finalists for the award, and fans voted on the winner.

“Back-to-back is awesome,” Enders said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my guys. They are the reason why we have four trophies on our shelves this year. They work their tails off every day and spend a lot of time away from their families. They deserve this award a lot.”

Led by sponsor Gaston Kearby and team owner Victor Cagnazzi, the GK Motorsports team is comprised of crew chiefs Tommy Utt and Dave Connolly and crew members, Todd Bevis, Johnny Utt, Rich Saulino, Wayne “Turbo” Hasenmayer and Dan Duncan.

The team received a $15,000 check Monday night for winning the award.

“They do need the spotlight,” Enders said. “At the end of the day, I’m the one who gets a microphone shoved in my face when in all reality, all I did was drive the thing. Yeah, that’s a challenging job and you’ve got to be really good at it. But they’re the ones who make it happen. You can be the best driver in the world, but without a good, solid group of people behind you, you’ll go nowhere. I’m really blessed to have them.”

Enders finished her best season as a pro on Sunday when she ended up fourth in the Pro Stock points standings. She won four times, including back-to-back wins at Seattle and Brainerd, reached the final round seven times and won two No. 1 qualifiers.

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