Posts Tagged Las Vegas

Enders-Stevens wins $50,000 K&N Horsepower Challenge

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[From NHRA.com]

Erica Enders-Stevens collected the $50,000 top prize for winning Saturday’s K&N Horsepower Challenge for Pro Stock cars at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Enders-Stevens, runner-up in last year’s Challenge, made a strong run of 6.64, 208.39 to collect the win over Dave Connolly, who had to abort his run shortly after dropping the clutch.

“We’ve had a great hot rod all year, and it really came together for us two weeks ago in Gainesville, where we set the national record but lost in the final round on a holeshot, so it was great to give something back to my guys,” said Enders-Stevens, the first woman to win the special bonus event.

There were plenty of subplots in the final-round pairing. Both drivers were appearing in their fifth Challenge field, and neither had earned their berth in a conventional fashion. Enders-Stevens finished ninth in points for the Challenge, which draws the top-seven points earners over the course of a calendar year, but got into the field when No. 3 seed Mike Edwards bowed out after selling much of his operation over the winter and No. 8 Greg Anderson was sidelined with medical issues. Connolly got in as the eighth seed as a result of a fan vote. And, of course, both were teammates the last two seasons when Connolly was the crew chief on Enders-Stevens’ entry.

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“Part of being a professional athlete is having to put personal things aside for business, and it is a true challenge and something I work hard on,” she said. “It’s about me getting up on the wheel and the guys putting a great race car underneath me to get from Point A to Point B. It’s about having ice in your veins because there’s no bigger pressure than having $50,000 on the line. The win is very sweet; I don’t care who it is [in the other lane].”

Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports Camaro advanced to the final round by beating Dodge runner V. Gaines in round one, 6.64 to 6.65, then put a .016 to .036 holeshot on Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the semifinals and held on to win by a nose, 6.653 to 6.642.

Connolly, the 2005 challenge winner, opened this year’s Challenge account by ending the reign of defending Challenge champ Allen Johnson on a first-round holeshot, 6.648 to 6.643, then defeated Gray Motorsports teammate Shane Gray in a thrilling pairing. After identical reaction times, Connolly edged out Gray by just .004-second at the stripe, 6.654 to 6.658.

Thanks to Enders-Stevens’ victory, her fan representative, Anne Perkins, won a new Toyota Tundra truck.

With Speed Record in Hand, Enders-Stevens Looks to Double-Up in Vegas

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LAS VEGAS — Pro Stock’s fastest driver Erica Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports are looking to carry their performance hot streak into Las Vegas for a 1-2 win weekend starting today at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

They come off of a successful weekend where the team clutched the national speed record in their Chevy Camaro, reaching 214.69 mph at the finish line, and went on to nearly win the event with a runner-up finish.

“The car had just been set up with the new 2014 Camaro SS updates and a fresh motor that we hadn’t tested in the car coming into Gainesville,” said Enders-Stevens. “To go out on Friday and run an ET in the 40’s (6.483) and beat the speed record was awesome. If we had just won that last round on Sunday, it would have been a perfect weekend.”

Sitting atop the class in speed has added importance when things kick off in Vegas.

Not only will the Pro Stock field be chasing the Wally on Sunday, eight drivers, including Enders-Stevens, will be vying for a $50,000 payday during Saturday’s K&N Horsepower Challenge.

During last year’s event, Erica narrowly missed doubling up for the weekend as runner-up to Allen Johnson in both the Challenge and during Sunday eliminations.

“We feel we’re in a very good position to make this a huge weekend for Elite Motorsports,” said Enders-Stevens. “Other than during the Countdown, you couldn’t ask for a better time in the season to have the fastest car out there. Now we just have to keep it going.”

Qualifying at The Strip begins today, Friday, at 1:30 p.m. PST and 4:30 p.m. The K&N Horsepower Challenge takes place during Saturday’s qualifying sessions at 1:10 p.m. and 3:50 p.m. with the final round at 4:45 p.m. PST. Sunday’s Pro Stock eliminations will kick off at 12:00 p.m. PST. ESPN2 broadcasts will air Sunday at 5 p.m. ET for qualifying, and 8 p.m. ET for eliminations.

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.

Husky Liners launches Vegas Race Experience with Enders-Stevens

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WINFIELD, Kan. (Sept. 30) – Husky Liners is giving race fans a chance to enjoy a race weekend with Pro Stock superstar Erica Enders-Stevens and her Cagnazzi Racing team.

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The Husky Liners Vegas Race Experience with Erica Enders-Stevens sweepstakes rewards two lucky fans with a unique, behind-the-scenes trip to the NHRA race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 24-27.

The winner and a guest will receive:

    • All-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas, including airfare and hotel
    • $1,000 cash
    • VIP access to the Cagnazzi Racing pit area
    • Meet and greet with Enders-Stevens
    • Access to the starting line

“It’s a cool opportunity for a fan to be able to have an experience like we do every weekend,” Enders-Stevens said. “They’ll get to fly in, get put up in a hotel, and then come hang out at the racetrack with us. They’ll have the best seats in the house.

“It’s really generous of Husky Liners to hold the sweepstakes for a fan. Hopefully we’ll get some added interest from people who typically wouldn’t come to a drag race.”

Enders-Stevens partnered with Husky Liners for the Countdown to the Championship, the six-race NHRA playoffs. She won at Gateway Motorsports Park on Sept. 29 to move up to fourth in the points standings, and the Las Vegas race is the penultimate event of the 2013 schedule.

“Teaming up with Erica Enders-Stevens and Cagnazzi Racing has been an honor, and we are excited to provide the chance for our customers to join us in a VIP experience at the track in Las Vegas,” said Bob Tyler, president of Winfield Consumer Products, Husky Liners. “It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

For more information and to enter, visit www.huskyliners.com/sweepstakes. The sweepstakes ends Oct. 16.

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