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Erica Honored with 2016 Autoweek Driver Award

Erica Enders: 2016 Autoweek Driver Award

From Autoweek

NHRA superstar passed legend Shirley Muldowney for most career wins by a woman

Erica Enders continued her assault on drag racing’s record book in 2015 with an impressive run to a second straight NHRA Pro Stock title.

The 32-year-old Texan racked up nine wins, including three in the playoffs, giving her 21 for her career. She clinched the championship with a race weekend to spare and along the way passed NHRA legend Shirley Muldowney, who won 18 times, for most career wins by a woman.

Enders’ 58-14 elimination record over 24 national events easily topped all professional categories. Her nine 2015 wins broke three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Angelle Sampey’s NHRA single-season record (seven in 2001) for a female driver.

“To actually top what we did in 2014 in what started out as a very challenging year for us with the new tire and fuel they made us use, it’s really satisfying and says so much about this Elite Motorsports team,” Enders said. “The 20-plus years it took to get to this point, all the heartache and struggle, it was all worth it to feel like this again.

“By our standards, we struggled at the first four races, and when we qualified dead last in Charlotte, we knew something had to give. We stayed after and tested the wheels off our Rick Jones race car and finally we found something that worked.”

The challenges continue for Enders in ’16 as Pro Stock transitions to fuel injection. With all the teams on equal footing, 2016 provides yet another chance for her to prove her mettle.

[Vote Now] NHRA Pro Stock champion Erica Enders nominated for 2015 ESPY Award


Click here to vote for Erica Enders for Best Driver

WYNNEWOOD, OK — Reigning NHRA Pro Stock World Champion Erica Enders has added another accolade to her sterling résumé: an ESPY nomination.

Enders has been nominated in the Best Driver category, joining Kevin Harvick from NASCAR, Juan Pablo Montoya and Wil Power from IndyCar, and Lewis Hamilton from Formula One in the announcement Wednesday.

“Everyone always says it is an honor to be nominated for an award like this, and that is absolutely the case,” Enders said. “I am truly humbled to see my name alongside the greatest in the world, and I am honored to represent my Elite Motorsports team and NHRA at the ESPYs.”

Fans can vote for Enders for Best Driver HERE.

The 2015 ESPY Awards Show will be broadcast live on ABC on July 15 at 8 p.m. ET from the Nokia Theater L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Enders will attend the ceremony, which will be hosted by comedian Joel McHale.

The ESPY Awards Show brings top athletes and celebrities to recognize accomplishments in sports from the past year. Enders had a remarkable 2014, winning the Pro Stock championship in thrilling fashion in the final round of the final race.

Enders become the first female to win the title in drag racing’s ultra-competitive class, and she did it in clutch fashion, coming from behind in the points standings and winning the last two races of the season.

For her efforts in 2014, she was honored with Racer magazine’s prestigious Racer of the Year Award, beating out competitors across all forms of motorsports in. She also won the magazine’s Drag Racer of the Year honor, as well as earning All-American status from the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association.

Enders joined Elite Motorsports, owned by Richard Freeman, for the 2014 season. Led by crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones, Enders won six races and was fastest qualifier six times in 2014. She led the points standings for 15 of 24 races and set the national elapsed time (6.464 seconds) and speed record (215.55 mph) in Englishtown, N.J.

“My guys are absolutely incredible,” Enders said. “They never cease to amaze me. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. This is the first team I’ve ever worked for where we’ve had a unified front and they have my back. I’m blessed to have an incredible group of men, and the chemistry is there. It’s always a positive environment.”

The native of Houston has been racing since she was 8 years old, and she and her sister Courtney were featured in the Disney Channel movie Right on Track in 2003. She moved into the professional ranks in 2005, becoming the first female to win a Pro Stock race in 2012, at Chicago.

The voting link for Best Driver is

Enders-Stevens earns prestigious Racer of the Year Award

Erica Enders-Stevens Racer of the Year

WYNNEWOOD, OK – Reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens has been named RACER Magazine’s 2014 Racer of the Year.

The Elite Motorsports driver is the first woman to win the prestigious award, and she beat out NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick, IndyCar champ Will Power, Formula 1 titlist Lewis Hamilton and others among motorsports’ best. Enders-Stevens also won the magazine’s Drag Racer of the Year Award.

“I truly can’t put into words how I felt after I found out we had won the Racer of the Year award,” Enders-Stevens said. “First of all, I am incredibly thankful for all the fans who took time to vote for us. I’ve always said my fans are the best, and they proved it again.”

Enders-Stevens earned 48.9 percent of the vote from fans in Racer of the Year voting, easily topping Harvick’s 6.2 percent and Hamilton’s 5.4 percent. She garnered nearly 66 percent of the vote for Drag Racer of the Year, while John Force was next with 14.6 percent.

Enders-Stevens won the 2014 Pro Stock title in dramatic fashion, as the championship battle went down to the final round of the final race. She won six times in 2014, including the final two races, to become the first woman in history to win the Pro Stock title and the third woman to win an NHRA championship.

Enders-Stevens, 31, was fourth in the points standings with four races remaining, but she raced to the semifinals in St. Louis and Reading, Pa., to move to second place.

At the penultimate race, in Las Vegas, Enders-Stevens faced points leader Jason Line in a pivotal semifinal battle. She won that round and then beat five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the final round to win the race and take over the points lead.

At the season finale in Pomona, Calif., Enders-Stevens and Line were once again on a collision course as the two were on opposite sides of the ladder. After winning her first two rounds, Enders-Stevens faced Jonathan Gray in the semifinals. For the first time in NHRA pro history, both drivers ripped off perfect .000-second reaction times, with Enders-Stevens advancing to the final thanks to a quicker pass.

That put her against Line in a winner-take-all final round, and when Line went red, Enders-Stevens joined Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey as the only women to win an NHRA title.

“When my Elite Motorsports team and I achieved my lifelong goal of winning the NHRA Pro Stock championship last year, we all felt on top of the world,” Enders-Stevens said. “When we found out we won the prestigious Racer of the Year award, those feelings came back. I’ve got to thank my team owner Richard Freeman, my crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones and everyone at Elite for making the 2014 season the best of my career. We were fortunate enough to win six races – and the special K&N Horsepower Challenge event – and we were fast all year, thanks to our tremendous horsepower from Jake Hairston and Nick Ferri.

“But our championship was still in doubt, right down to the last round of the last race. In what was truly a Hollywood ending, we were able to win that round, that race and the championship.”

Enders-Stevens was named to the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association All-America Team for 2014. She was the lone female among the eight drivers selected.

“Shirley Muldowney was one of my heroes growing up, and I learned a lot from her and Angelle Sampey during my career,” Enders-Stevens said. “We are just a small part of a growing fraternity of women who are chasing their goals in all forms of motorsports. Hopefully one day soon we can all simply be considered racers.”

Enders-Stevens named to 2014 AARWBA All-America Team


WYNNEWOOD, OK — The honors keep coming for NHRA Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders-Stevens.

On Monday, she was named to the prestigious American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association All-America Team for 2014. She was the lone female among the eight drivers selected.

AARWBA has been naming its team since 1970 to honor drivers across the motorsports spectrum. Other drivers who made the 2014 team are Kevin Harvick (stock car), Will Power (open wheel), Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi (road racing), Donny Schatz (short track), Matt Crafton (touring), and Gabby Chaves (at-large).

“It’s a huge honor for all of us at Elite Motorsports to be on such an exclusive list,” Enders-Stevens said. “We had a dream season in 2014, and we have a bright future together.”

Enders-Stevens won six races in her first year with Richard Freeman’s Elite team. She won the championship in dramatic fashion, beating Jason Line in the final round of the final race to become the first woman to win the NHRA Pro Stock championship.

“What we accomplished in 2014 goes to show that with the right people anything is possible,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m blessed to be in a position to do what I love with people I love.”

Enders-Stevens’ six victories came in seven final-round appearances. Plus, she earned six No. 1 qualifiers and had a 45-16 round-win record.

AARWBA is the oldest and largest organization devoted to auto racing coverage. Founded in 1955 in Indianapolis, AARWBA has grown to more than 400 members throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

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.