Posts Tagged Countdown

Enders-Stevens is the No. 2 Seed for Countdown after U.S. Nationals

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INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 1) — A Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory may have slipped through Engines Inc. Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens’ fingers, but she still leaves Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis on Monday very proud.

Enders-Stevens dropped a second-round match to Dave Connolly, but she will be the No. 2 seed when the Countdown to the Championship begins in two weeks at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, NC.

“Even though we didn’t win the U.S. Nationals, and that was our goal, we can leave here with our heads held high,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve got a good car and the best team in the sport. It would’ve been nice to win here, but it starts to matter at the next event.”

Enders-Stevens has had a dream season, winning four national events and the K&N Horsepower Challenge. She led the points standings for 13 races before slipping to second in Brainerd, MN.

“I think we’re going to go in the No. 2 spot,” Enders-Stevens said. “Obviously our goal is to go in as the No. 1 seed, but it’s not detrimental to what the outcome’s going to be.”

Enders-Stevens started her 2014 U.S. Nationals with a race against her husband Richie Stevens, who joined Elite Motorsports for this race and beyond. She got the jump on Stevens with a .022-second reaction time and led the entire race, winning with a pass of 6.619 seconds at 208.52 mph. Stevens’ pass was 6.643 seconds at 208.52 mph.

“That’s my job,” Enders-Stevens said. “I have to put aside who’s in the other lane and just execute. That’s what we did first round and we did it second round, too, but it just didn’t end up being our day. We didn’t have lane choice and we struggled over there.

“I hate that Richie lost. I’m glad that we won but it’s bittersweet. I’m stoked that we picked up 20 points, but at the same time I hate that Richie’s debut wasn’t what any of us at Elite Motorsports had planned for it to be. But our job is to win rounds, despite who’s over there.”

In the second round, Enders-Stevens made a pass of 6.622 seconds at 208.88 mph but couldn’t get around Connolly, whose run was 6.613 seconds at 207.82 mph.

Enders-Stevens and her team made improvements throughout the weekend, giving her confidence for Charlotte and the Countdown.

“I’m really proud of my team,” Enders-Stevens said. “We have so much heart. It would have been easy to get frustrated, get negative, and give up when things weren’t going as we had planned them to go when we got here.

“We spent a few days testing in St. Louis to get our cars — mine and Richie’s and Shane (Tucker’s) — sorted out. It didn’t go as planned when we stepped foot on the property here, but they dug deep and we ended up being second-quickest of the runs in eliminations. Even the round we lost, we were the quickest in that lane by a couple of hundredths, so that says a lot about my crew chiefs and my entire team.”

Championship Leader Enders-Stevens Gains Title Support of Mach 1 Global Services

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TEMPE, Ariz. (Aug. 7) — Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens will challenge for the 2014 NHRA championship with Mach 1 Global Services on the side of her powerful Elite Motorsports Camaro. The global logistics company, which has supported Enders-Stevens in the past, signed on as title sponsor for the remainder of the season, beginning with the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals in Dallas. Geiger Media Global brokered the deal.

“We’re so excited to reunite with Erica,” CEO Jamie Fletcher said. “We’ve certainly kept up with her career since we first started supporting her in 2008, and we’re definitely impressed with the season she’s putting together.

“Being a woman in a male-dominated industry, Erica and I share a special bond because we’ve faced many of the same obstacles in our respective careers. She’s been a real inspiration to so many young women, and to see her in the winner’s circle so many times since we’ve met always serves as personal motivation for me.”

Mach 1 Global Services, Inc.

Using Elite Performance horsepower, Enders-Stevens leads the Pro Stock class with four victories this season, also winning the non-points K&N Horsepower Challenge in Las Vegas. She has collected at least one round-win at every race and has led the points standings after 12 of 16 national events. She’s currently 32 points ahead of Allen Johnson with two regular-season races left on the schedule.

The Houston native’s victory on July 6 in Norwalk, Ohio, was the 10th of her career, making her only the third female to post double-digit national event victories in NHRA history (along with three-time series champions Angelle Sampey and Shirley Muldowney). She’s the most successful woman in Pro Stock class history with 10 career victories, eight No. 1 qualifiers, and 144 elimination round-wins. She is the only female to have won or been the top qualifier in Pro Stock.

“Jamie and her dad (Mike Entzminger) are like family to me,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s been neat to see Jamie take Mach 1 Global Services over since we partnered with them in the past and succeed the way she has in a really tough industry. They will fit in great with Richard (Freeman, owner of Elite Motorsports) and the rest of the team.

“There’s some real synergy having a female-owned business supporting a female driver. I think it’s something special and really something we should be proud of.

“Our hope is that we win the championship together with Mach 1 on the doors. We also want to make sure we bring as much attention as possible to their services and help them grow along with us. The best way to do that is to keep winning. We have some work to do before the Countdown starts and then we’re going all-out to win the title.”

Mach 1 is a global provider of transportation and logistics solutions. They offer a full portfolio of integrated freight forwarding services via air, ocean, and ground to all major destinations and ports worldwide. Mach 1 is a licensed U.S. customs broker with more than 26 years of industry experience and has 30 company-owned offices in the U.S., Mexico, China, and India, along with best-in-class strategic partnerships around the globe.

Elite Motorsports offers a wide variety of semi transporters, motor coaches, gooseneck and stacker trailers, specialty hospitality and point-of-sale units, and new and used high-performance engines, race cars, and racing equipment.

Enders-Stevens returns to action August 15-17 at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota.

First-round loss won’t diminish Enders-Stevens’ solid season

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POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 10) – A first-round loss in the Auto Club NHRA Finals on Sunday at Auto Club Raceway won’t diminish the accomplishments of Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Enders-Stevens finished sixth in the Pro Stock points standings after a season in which she missed six races with her Cagnazzi Racing team because of sponsorship issues. With a partnership with Husky Liners, Enders-Stevens returned for the six-race Countdown to the Championship, winning in St. Louis and moving as high as fourth in points.

“I was blessed to be able to make the Countdown and finish the year,” said Enders-Stevens, who won two races in 2013. “It certainly wasn’t an ideal situation by any means, but we did the best we could with what we had. It’s a cruel world out here, but I’m remaining positive and optimistic through all of the hard times. That’s important to do, and I can only hope next year will be better.”

Enders-Stevens goes into the off-season on a positive note after enjoying a fun weekend in Pomona. She appeared on KTLA 5 Morning News on Friday, followed by an appearance at the Night of Champions at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum on Friday night.

“I love coming to Pomona,” Enders-Stevens said. “I love the raw history of this sport and this racetrack, and the fact that my Jr. Dragster is here in the museum is an honor for me and my family. I really enjoy being in Southern California at this race.”

Enders-Stevens qualified No. 8 and was the first pair out in her matchup with Shane Gray. Gray made a pass of 6.586 seconds at 211.03 mph while Enders-Stevens’ run was 6.595 at 211.59 mph, as Gray got the win.

“It shook and took a hard turn right,” Enders-Stevens said of her launch. “I did what I could with what I had, but when the car is out of control and gets away like that, as driver, it’s a challenge. I probably should’ve shoved the clutch in and aborted the run, but I wanted that round-win more than almost any round-win in my career. God had a different plan, and I trust in it.”

Enders-Stevens determined to end season on a positive note

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POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 9) – A determined Erica Enders-Stevens is fired up for the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway after qualifying her Husky Liners Camaro in the No. 8 spot on Saturday.

Enders-Stevens made a top pass of 6.557 seconds at 211.43 mph in the third qualifying session and will line up against future teammate Shane Gray in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. Cagnazzi Racing recently announced a merger with Gray Motorsports for 2014, though the two teams have already begun working together.

“The car is running consistent,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s not flying but it’s consistent. We’re going to have a long, hard day cut out for us tomorrow. It’s the last race day of the year. Tomorrow’s going to be a tough day for me, both on the track and off the track.”

Enders-Stevens’ future is uncertain, pending sponsorship for next season, but that uncertainty has made her more determined than ever to put in a good showing on Sunday.

“I am determined,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m determined because my future is uncertain, and I’ve got a lot to prove tomorrow.”

Gray, who qualified No. 9 with a pass of 6.567 seconds at 211.33 mph, moved ahead of Enders-Stevens in the Pro Stock points standings after his victory in Las Vegas, but she could still finish as high as second with a good Sunday.

“We’re going to practice what we preach and remain positive and optimistic about race day,” Enders-Stevens said. “First round with Shane Gray is crucial. I need to get my ground back. We’ll do our best tomorrow and see what happens.”

Pomona is one of Enders-Stevens’ favorite tracks, and she has enjoyed a fun weekend so far. On Friday night, she participated in the Night of Champions at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, spending quality time with drag racing legends Tommy Ivo and Bob Muravez.

“It’s been a good weekend,” Enders-Stevens said. “Good friends, good wine, good racing. I got to see the museum and pay my Jr. Dragster a visit. I got to hang out with some legends last night and that was exciting. It’s been a fun weekend, and I’m trying to soak it all in.

“This is one of the only tracks where Pro Stock gets to come back down the return road in front of the stands, so I’ve been trying to soak all that in. I know how quickly it can all disappear. It’s been a good weekend so far.”

Eliminations at the NHRA Finals get under way at 11 a.m. PST on Sunday. ESPN2 will air eliminations starting at 7 p.m. EST.

Enders-Stevens hopes to close season in Pomona’s victory lane

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POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6) – The best way for Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens to close out the 2013 Pro Stock season would be to win the Auto Club NHRA Finals this weekend at Auto Club Raceway.

Enders-Stevens has two victories in 2013, including one during the Countdown to the Championship. She won’t win the Pro Stock title this season, but she and her Cagnazzi Racing team made a good run in NHRA’s playoffs.

“That would be the best way to close this chapter of 2013,” Enders-Stevens said of a Pomona win. “I’m excited that the Husky Liners guys will be there, and I’m so appreciative of them stepping up to the plate to allow us to compete for the championship. I’m hopeful we can end the year on a really great note. We’ll do our best and let God do the rest.”

Enders-Stevens is sixth in the Pro Stock standings and can finish as high as second. She has raced to five final rounds and has one No. 1 qualifier. So far in the Countdown, she has won at least one round in all five races and scored a victory in St. Louis.

“The year has really flown by,” Enders-Stevens said. “Every time we come back to Pomona in November, it’s incredible how fast the year has passed.

“I’m excited to go back. We’ve always qualified well in Pomona and hopefully that trend continues. The guys have been working hard at the new engine shop, and we’ll see what SoCal has in store for us.”

Enders-Stevens would love to add a Pomona victory to her resume, as she appreciates the history of Auto Club Raceway.

“I do love racing in Pomona,” Enders-Stevens said. “And every time I’m back there, I remember the first time I pulled around the corner from the staging lanes in a Pro Stock car. I think of that and it’s very humbling and surreal and exciting.”

Plus, Enders-Stevens always makes a visit to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum next door to the racetrack.

“It’s where my first Jr. Dragster is,” Enders-Stevens said, “so I’ll go by the museum and tell her hello.”

Enders-Stevens is scheduled to make an appearance on KTLA 5 Morning News with Allie Mac Kay on Friday morning and will also be part of the Night of Champions at the museum on Friday night.

Qualifying for the Auto Club NHRA Finals gets under way at 1:45 p.m. PDT on Thursday from Auto Club Raceway and continues at 1:45 p.m. on Friday and 11:45 a.m. on Saturday. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 2:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday and the eliminations show at 7 p.m.

Husky Liners driver Enders-Stevens runs out of luck in second round

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LAS VEGAS (Oct. 27) – Erica Enders-Stevens and her Husky Liners Pro Stock team didn’t have the best of luck in the NHRA Toyota Nationals on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, falling in the second round to points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr., but of the drivers in front of her coming into the race, only Coughlin got past the second round, and he lost in the semifinals.

“If there’s a positive to it, at least the rest of the guys in front of me are out, too, so they can’t spread the gap,” Enders-Stevens said. “We can go to Pomona (Calif.) and finish as high as second. We just have to do a good job. It’s not over until it’s over.”

Enders-Stevens exits Las Vegas sixth in the points standings, but she’ll be 68 points out of second place with one race remaining in the Countdown to the Championship.

She started Sunday with a rematch from the first round in Reading, but Enders-Stevens and her Cagnazzi Racing team were again up to the challenge against Buddy Perkinson. Enders-Stevens made a pass of 6.650 seconds at 207.53 mph to take out Perkinson’s 6.664 at 208.04 mph.

Enders-Stevens’ pass matched the second-quickest run of the round, but she still didn’t have lane choice against Coughlin. He then went low in Round 2 with a run of 6.659 seconds at 207.15 mph to outrun Enders-Stevens’ 6.670 at 206.35 mph.

“I knew we’d be within a hundredth of him as far as performance goes,” Enders-Stevens said. “He was .060 on the Tree first round, and I knew he’d get up on the wheel for the second round. We talked about it, and I knew I needed to get up on the wheel but I just missed it.

“I don’t miss it often and neither does he. He missed first round, and I missed second round. It stinks it wasn’t reversed.”

Enders-Stevens had a .028-second reaction time in Round 1 and a .053 against Coughlin. He was nearly reverse with a .060 in the first round and .026 in the second.

“That was a huge round,” Enders-Stevens said. “If we had beaten Jeg there, things would have fallen a lot differently the rest of the day here and then in Pomona (Calif.). Everybody in front of us went out, and had I beat Jeg we would’ve been able to close the gap. It’s just one of those deals.”

Still Enders-Stevens is all smiles about her performance in the Countdown with one race remaining in the season. She has one victory and one No. 1 qualifier to go with a semifinal appearance and three quarterfinal showings in five races.

Enders-Stevens was in the top half in Vegas, qualifying No. 6, and had one of the cars to beat.

“My team did a good job,” Enders-Stevens said. “We got down the track every time. We’re doing the best we can, and we’ll just have to pick up and go to Pomona and race our guts out. I knew I could do it and they can, too. Hopefully we’ll have a good weekend in Pomona and finish second in the points.”

Cagnazzi Racing was competing for the first time since the announcement of a merger between Cagnazzi and Gray Motorsports for the 2014 season and beyond. Under the Gray Motorsports umbrella, engine development for both the Pro Stock and Cagnazzi’s successful COPO Camaro Stock Eliminator programs will take place at the Gray Motorsports facility in Denver, N.C., and chassis development for both will take place in Victor Cagnazzi’s facility in nearby Mooresville.

The new Gray Motorsports team is currently seeking support for a three-car team to include drivers Shane Gray, Enders-Stevens, and Dave Connolly.

Gray won the Las Vegas race by beating Vieri Gaines in the final round.

The team’s next event will be the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals Nov. 7-10 in Pomona.

Enders-Stevens hopes consistency pays off in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS (Oct. 26) – If consistency is key to Pro Stock, Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens could be in for a long day at the NHRA Toyota Nationals on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Thanks to her Cagnazzi Racing team, Enders-Stevens made four qualifying passes within .016-second of her top lap of 6.650 at 207.34 mph. She will line up for eliminations from the No. 6 position as she guns for her third victory of 2013.

“It’s been a good weekend so far,” Enders-Stevens said. “We have a very consistent race car, and sometimes on Sunday that’s what you need.”

Enders-Stevens’ first two passes Friday were within .001-second, and then she picked up in Q3 with her best run of the weekend. She was off only .01-second in Q4 but was still sixth-quickest for the session.

“We’ve made four consistent, solid runs,” Enders-Stevens said. “We weren’t the best but we’ll be right there with everyone tomorrow. It’s going to be a really tough day. It’s come down to the last two races, and everybody out there has the attitude that they need to win. We’ve got to stay on our game, keep a positive attitude, and see where the chips fall.”

Enders-Stevens will face Buddy Perkinson in the first round of eliminations after Perkinson qualified No. 11 with a pass of 6.660 seconds at 208.01 mph. Their race is a rematch of the first round in Reading, where she won on a holeshot after a stellar reaction time.

“One round at a time, and hopefully there are four of them tomorrow,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve got to focus on the task at hand as it happens. First round is going to be tough. I had Buddy in Reading first round, and it was a race that we won by the skin of our teeth. We need to go up there and be ready. I need to get up on the wheel, and my guys need to give me a good race car. I’ve got the confidence in my guys and I’m ready.”

Enders-Stevens has enjoyed the company of Husky Liners President Bob Tyler and other Husky employees this weekend. Plus Enders-Stevens and the Husky team have been joined by Kerri Hutchison, winner of the Husky Liners Las Vegas Race Experience. Hutchison and her husband enjoyed a free trip to Las Vegas, including behind-the-scenes access to Enders-Stevens and the race team.

“It’s been great having her out here,” Enders-Stevens said. “This is a really neat experience for them. Vegas is a great town with a lot of fun things to do. We appreciate their support for Husky and our team. Hopefully we can add to their cool trip by winning the race.”

Eliminations for the NHRA Toyota Nationals get under way at 11 a.m. PDT on Sunday from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. ESPN2 will broadcast the eliminations show at 8 p.m. EDT on Sunday.

Enders-Stevens looks for exciting weekend in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS (Oct. 22) – One more round-win.

That’s all Husky Liners Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens wants during the NHRA Toyota Nationals this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Enders-Stevens advanced to the final round during the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip in April and in the K&N Horsepower Challenge at the track the same weekend, but she fell just short of winning both races, giving her and her Cagnazzi Racing team some extra incentive for this weekend’s race.

“I’m looking forward to going into the final two races of the Countdown to the Championship,” Enders-Stevens said. “Vegas was good to us in the spring. I’m hoping to go back there and do equally as well, if not better. Maybe one round better.”

A victory would enhance her chances of winning the 2013 Pro Stock championship because she’s fifth in the standings, 114 points out of the lead. With eight more rounds of racing, every point will be crucial to Enders-Stevens as she tries to race up the standings.

“We’re still thinking championship,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’re mathematically still capable. The fine print is a lot of crazy things still have to happen, but we’re going to go into it with a positive attitude and do the best we can do and let the points fall where they may.

“It’s certainly still within reach, and we’re going to go after it. We’ve got a great team, and it would be a great weekend to do well with all the guys out here who have made it possible to even contend for this championship.”

Enders-Stevens is referring to the numerous Husky Liners employees who will be in attendance this weekend supporting her and her team.

Also present will be Kerri Hutchison, the winner of the Husky Liners Vegas Race Experience with Erica Enders-Stevens. Hutchison and a guest will receive an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas, including airfare and hotel, VIP access to the Cagnazzi Racing pit area and the starting line, and a meet and greet with Enders-Stevens.

“This weekend will be extra exciting because we’ll have a lot of Husky Liners employees out at the racetrack,” Enders-Stevens said. “And we’ll have our contest winner, too, so it’ll be an exciting weekend. We’ll have an opportunity to showcase our Pro Stock team, what we’re all about, and our capabilities. It should be a fun weekend in Vegas.”

Qualifying for the NHRA Toyota Nationals gets under way at 1:15 p.m. PDT on Friday from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and continues at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 2:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday and the eliminations show at 8 p.m.

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