Posts Tagged COPO

Once again, Erica Enders opens eliminations against an Elite Motorsports teammate

Erica Enders | NHRA Pro Stock Norwalk 2017

NORWALK, OH — For the fifth time this season, two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders will face a teammate from her Elite Motorsports camp at the start of eliminations. This time its Vincent Nobile, who she’s opened against twice previously and faced four times overall in 2017 competition.

“It always sucks racing a teammate, especially in the first round,” said Enders, who is 3-1 versus Nobile this year. “Vincent is a great competitor and I know both crews will bring everything they have. First round, for sure, will be a heavyweight battle for all four of our Elite Motorsports cars because we are all racing each other. I guess we should be happy that at least two Elite cars will advance no matter what.”

Although Enders was third in Friday’s provisional field, she dropped to 10th place in Saturday’s heat, giving lane choice away to Nobile. Still, the two are very close in performance with Enders running a best of 6.623 at 208.36 mph and Nobile going 6.616 at 210.01 mph.

“We had a top-three car yesterday but the weather is so different today and we fell back a little bit,” Enders said. “Tomorrow will be different as well and I remain very confident in my team’s ability to take whatever the weather and racetrack throws at us.

“There was a lot more water in the air yesterday, but with today’s better weather being a little hotter it became a much more difficult track. Power management was a little trickier. We just need to get a handle on it and do what we know how to do on race day. We have a lot of experience and data going into Sunday. I know we have what it takes to be a player when it comes to race day regardless of where we’re qualified.”

Saturday was a busy day for Enders as she pulled double duty, racing both her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stocker and the Omaha Track COPO Camaro in the Factory Stock Showdown. Enders already has an elimination-round win in the Showdown, beating No. 2 qualifier Peter Gasko when he fouled out at the start by -.007 seconds. She’ll face No. 8 qualifier Kevin Skinner in Sunday’s semifinals.

“My Omaha Track COPO Camaro is in the semifinals!” an excited Enders said. “This is the first time we’ve been able to get past the first round in the Factory Showdown so we’re pumped up. We made a decent run there but we definitely can tune it up and improve. I think we have a real shot at winning. We raced a guy first round who had us covered by a tenth of a second and found a way to make it happen.”

“I have an opportunity to bring home two Wallys tomorrow, which I have never done before. We are down to four cars so we just need to beat two more guys and we will be in the winner’s circle. Easier said than done, for sure, but we’re going to give it hell.”

Pro Stock eliminations start at 1 p.m., Sunday. FOX Sports 1 programming begins at 6 p.m., Sunday. Times are local and subject to change.

Two-time champ Erica Enders set to scoop up another trophy in Norwalk

Erica Enders | Factory Stock Showdown COPO Camaro

NORWALK, OH – Two-time NHRA Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders’ confidence going into the weekend’s 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park is extremely high.

The spunky 33-year-old driver of the Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro is excited about her team’s momentum and she’s anxious to build on her group’s recent successes, which have her eying a run at a third NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series championship.

“Norwalk is always a fun race for us; this year’s going to be awesome,” Enders said. “The weather forecast looks great and hopefully it’s not going to be 9 million degrees like it normally is there. We’ll carry the performance gains we made in Bristol (previous event) to Norwalk, and I think we’ll be just fine.”

Earlier this month in Epping, N.H., Enders tallied her first win since the fall of 2015. The Houston native is hoping to continue the hot streak she started in New England at a Norwalk facility known as much for its record-breaking performances as it is for its one pound of ice cream for one dollar promotion.

Only three years removed from her previous Norwalk trophy, Enders’ ambitious heart will be pumping icy blood through her veins when she rolls her Camaro to the starting line this year.

“I really think Epping was just the tip of the iceberg for us,” Enders said. “I didn’t execute properly in Bristol but going into Norwalk it’s go time. I’m ready to win again. We did get a team win in Bristol when Alex (Laughlin) got the victory so we’re firing on all cylinders. I actually won Norwalk in 2014, and I have a really cool ice cream scoop they gave me that sits proudly on my trophy shelf.”

Along with her 2014 victory, Enders, a resident of New Orleans, posted No. 1 qualifying efforts in Norwalk in 2015, 2014 and 2011.

Accustomed to the driver’s seat in just about any racecar, Enders will also be competing in a unique race-within-a-race event this weekend behind the wheel of one of the most powerful production cars rolling off the assembly lines in nearby Detroit.

“I’m get be drive the Omaha Track COPO Camaro in the Factory Stock Showdown so that will be exciting, too,” Enders said. “I’ve got lots to do and that’s the way I like it. We’ll see if we can get back on the right track in Norwalk.”

The Pro Stock racers hit the track Friday with two qualifying sessions at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. They return for two more qualifying sessions Saturday at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. First round of eliminations begin Sunday at 1 p.m. NHRA TV coverage on FOX Sports 1 includes original Norwalk programming at 10:30 p.m., Friday, and at 6 p.m., Sunday. Times are local and subject to change.

Points leader Enders-Stevens Hopes to Keep ‘Dream Season’ Going in Bristol

Erica Enders-Stevens Englishtown Elite Motorsports

BRISTOL, TN — The 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has been a “dream season” for Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens, and she intends to keep the dream going during this weekend’s Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Enders-Stevens leads the points standings by 123 points in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class with two national event victories and a win in the K&N Horsepower Challenge.

At the most recent race in Englishtown, N.J., Enders-Stevens set the national record in elapsed time (6.464 seconds) and speed (215.55 mph).

“Hopefully, we can hold it for a while,” Enders-Stevens said. “Now that it’s the summer months, I don’t think there will be mine-shaft conditions, at least not until Reading. That’s usually the next race where records are broken.

“It meant a lot to us. I know it meant a lot to my team because speed equals horsepower in Pro Stock, and it just goes to show how strong our engine program is. I know Richard Freeman, Nick Ferri, and Jake Hairston are all very proud of it, along with the rest of my team. It’s just another accomplishment in what has been a dream season so far.”

And now she heads to Bristol, one of her favorite NHRA venues.

“Bristol is probably one of my top-three favorite tracks on the tour,” Enders-Stevens said. “I really enjoy going there, and it’s an awesome facility. It’s the South, and the people are all so kind.”

Plus, Enders-Stevens has reached the final round in two of the last three Bristol races, including the 2011 event when she returned to Pro Stock full time after five years.

“That was our first final-round appearance together,” Enders-Stevens said. “Since then I’ve been to one more final there. I haven’t won Bristol, but we’ve been runner-up a couple times. I’m looking forward to going back and going one extra round.”

Enders-Stevens has been busy since Englishtown, traveling to the Chevrolet Performance shop in Detroit with team owner Freeman to take delivery of a COPO Camaro.

“We got to take a tour of the factory and see every step of the production of the COPO Camaro,” Enders-Stevens said. “They only produce 69 cars per year, so it’s very special and it’s an elite group of people who have a COPO car.

“When we got to the end of the line and pulled the car cover off our Camaro, it was an exciting moment for all of us. I had no idea until that day that I was going to be a part of that program with Richard, and he asked that my name be put on the certificate of authenticity alongside his. That was a surreal moment and really exciting for me. I don’t show excitement very much, but that was a pretty amazing moment.”

Freeman made sure Enders-Stevens got behind the wheel with a Chevrolet official, and she drove it around the block before doing some burnouts in the parking lot. The future plan is for her to drive the car at some NHRA races later this season.

After Detroit, Enders-Stevens went to the Elite shop in Oklahoma before heading home for some time before a four-week stretch of races begins with Bristol.

Four rounds of Pro Stock qualifying will feature sessions at 5 and 7:30 p.m., Friday, and 12:30 and 3 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations are slated to start at 1 p.m., Sunday. Both qualifying and elimination action will be broadcast on ESPN2.