Posts Tagged Gatornationals

History is on Enders-Stevens’ side as she tries to bounce back from Gainesville exit

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GAINESVILLE, FL — NHRA Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens hopes history repeats itself after an uncharacteristic first-round exit at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals on Sunday at Auto-Plus Raceway.

The last time Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports team exited in the first round, they turned it around and went on to win the 2014 championship.

“It’s not how many times you fall down,” Enders-Stevens said, “it’s how many times you get up.”

Enders-Stevens last lost in the first round in Brainerd, Minn., last year. She and her team used that as motivation for the Countdown to the Championship, when she won two races, went to the semifinals twice, and reached the second round twice.

“We ran poorly in Brainerd that day, but we bounced back and did well in the Countdown,” Enders-Stevens said. “I have a world of confidence in my team, and I trust that we will bounce back and be just fine.

“My team owner Richard Freeman, my crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones and Mark Ingersoll, and my entire team are the best in the business and we’ll be ready for Charlotte.”

Enders-Stevens drove a new Chevrolet Camaro in Gainesville, and while there is tons of potential, developing a new car often takes time. She qualified No. 7 — her lowest since the season finale in Pomona, Calif., in 2013 when she was with another team — and lost in the first round to Jimmy Alund.

Both cars struggled off the line, with Enders-Stevens getting sideways before she had to push in the clutch. Alund’s pass was 7.032 seconds at 209.59 mph, while she coasted across with a 13.824-second run at 62.06 mph.

“To come back and see all my fans at the trailer after a run like that takes the sting out, for sure, especially the little kids,” Enders-Stevens said. “They’re just full of joy, and it definitely puts a smile on my face.”

Enders-Stevens, Elite Motorsports exploring potential on new Camaro in Gainesville

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GAINESVILLE, FL — Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens will start the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals on Sunday at Auto-Plus Raceway from an unusual position: Outside the top three.

The 2014 Pro Stock champion had swept both No. 1 qualifiers before Gainesville and had started third or better in 21 of her last 24 races, including sixth or better in every race since 2013.

But as her Elite Motorsports team tunes a new Chevrolet Camaro, Enders-Stevens will begin Gainesville eliminations from the No. 7 spot.

“It’s an unusual position to start Sunday from, but it’s not about where you start, it’s where you finish,” Enders-Stevens said. “If anyone can do it, I know we can.”

Enders-Stevens last qualified outside the top six at the season finale in Pomona, Calif., in November 2013 when she was with another team.

Enders-Stevens won six races and the 2014 championship in her first season with Elite Motorsports. Crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones built a new Camaro for Gainesville and beyond, and the team knows the new car will be better in the long run.

Getting there isn’t a simple process, of course, because new race cars always take some development.

“There’s a lot of potential,” Enders-Stevens said. “We have not shown what we’re made of or what we’re capable of this weekend, but that’s part of the growing pains of trying to make strides in the right direction. We’re working the bugs out of this thing, and we’re figuring out the potential.”

Enders-Stevens’ best qualifying pass in Gainesville was 6.551 seconds at 211.79 mph. She’ll square off against No. 9 qualifier Jonathan Gray in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations. Gray’s best run was 6.555 seconds at 211.76 mph.

“I know exactly what we’re capable of,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve got to get in the car and be up on the wheel tomorrow. I know my guys will give me the best they have.”

Eliminations will start at approximately noon, Sunday, with both qualifying and elimination action broadcast on ESPN2 on tape-delay basis.

Defending champ Enders-Stevens looks to continue hot streak in Gainesville

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GAINESVILLE, FL — After picking up right where she left off at the end of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, defending Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens is looking to continue her hot streak and capture her first victory of 2015 at this weekend’s Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway.

“My mentality is positive, optimistic, and excited about the races to come,” Enders-Stevens said. “I think that we have a lot to look forward to. As long as we figure out what happened in the final round in Phoenix and learn from it, we’ll be good to go.

“This new fuel and tire combination is a challenge that we’ve had to work to overcome so far. I’m confident in my guys, though, that we’re going to get there and we’ll be all right in the end when it matters.”

Sitting second in the points standings, just 21 points behind fellow Elite Performance companion Rodger Brogdon, Enders-Stevens isn’t concerned with how the first two races have gone for her and her team. In fact, she couldn’t be happier with how well things are working out for everyone at Elite Motorsports.

“Going into Gainesville, usually the weather is conducive for some record-setting runs,” Enders-Stevens said. “You can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be swinging for the fences this weekend.

“I’ve got all the faith in the world in my guys, but the most important part is to just go out there and have fun. It’s still early in the season, and as long as we’re learning and enjoying ourselves, what better place is there to be than racing together.”

Qualifying sessions are scheduled for 12:45 and 3:45 p.m. ET, Friday, and noon and 3 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations will start at approximately noon Sunday, with both qualifying and elimination action broadcast on ESPN2 on tape-delay basis.

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.