Posts Tagged Menards

Reigning Pro Stock champ Erica Enders maintains focus through tough stretch

Erica Enders | NHRA Pro Stock Norwalk 2016

NORWALK, OH — Reigning back-to-back Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders completed the 2016 schedule’s only stretch of four consecutive races with a positive outing in her Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge Dart.

The stretch of races wasn’t kind to the most prolific female racer in class history as she bowed out in the opening round in the first three of the four events. But that turned a bit Sunday when she dismissed bitter rival Chris McGaha with an end-to-end job in Round 1 and gave current points leader Jason Line a huge scare in Round 2.

“Taking McGaha down was a nice bonus,” Enders said. “I was definitely up for it, cut a good light, and just outran him. That was a positive step for us for sure.”

Enders left the starting line with a stellar .013-second reaction time and never looked back, crossing the top-end timer with a 6.728 at 205.76 mph to McGaha’s 6.734 at 209.23 mph.

That advanced her to the quarterfinals, where she ran into Line, winner of six of the first 11 races this year. Once again, Enders earned a huge starting-line advantage, leaving a whopping .051-second ahead of Line. The chase was on from there with Line barely catching and passing her near the finish line, winning with a 6.662 at 209.09 mph to Enders’ 6.737 at 205.57 mph.

“Those two KB Racing cars have been on it this year, and I knew I needed a big start to give us any sort of chance,” she said. “I hit the Tree really well and didn’t see him for a while, but his hood started creeping into my peripheral vision. I was pushing the gas pedal through the floorboard but he got us at the other end.

“We’re just having a tough time figuring out the HEMIs. I’ll still take my guys over any other group in the world. We won a lot together the past two seasons, including back-to-back championships, and we all enjoyed that time as a team. Nothing is going to change that just because we’re down a bit. This is a strong group, and to be honest, we’re not letting anything get us down. No one is super happy, but we’ve moved past beating ourselves up over it.”

Engine builders Nick Ferri and Jake Hairston, along with crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones, are happy to finally have a weekend between races to work on some things that they believe will help Enders and her teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. turn in better numbers.

“Four races in a row is tough on every one, every team, especially a team like ours that switched brands in the off-season and are still working on figuring things out,” Enders said. “Having a weekend off finally will give the guys a chance to get back home, maybe recover for a day or two, and then get back to work. I’m sure the dyno will get a severe workout between now and Chicago, and I would expect Rick and Rickie will want to test some more as well. We’ll be busy.

“These guys in this pit aren’t afraid of working hard and we will get this deal figured out. I feel like a breakthrough race is right around the corner. Maybe Chicago will be the place where the switch gets thrown and we start running for trophies again.”

The Route 66 NHRA Nationals take place July 8-10 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

Pro Stock champ Erica Enders drives Menards, Dutch Boy Paints to No. 10 qualifying spot

Erica Enders | NHRA Norwalk 2016

NORWALK, OH — Pro Stock champion Erica Enders will carry two new marketing partners, Menards and Dutch Boy Paints, into final eliminations after qualifying No. 10 for the NHRA Drag Racing Series race in Norwalk.

Enders’ Menards/Dutch Boy Paints Dodge Dart posted a top qualifying pass of 6.656 seconds at 207.37 mph over four sessions this weekend.

“It’s definitely been a good time with Menards and Dutch Boy on our car this weekend,” Enders said. “We’ve had lots of guests out this weekend for their first drag race, so I’m excited to introduce a new audience to NHRA.”

Enders and her Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge team announced the new partnership earlier this week. She also found out she was nominated in the Best Driver category for the 2016 ESPYs for her spectacular 2015 NHRA season.

This season has been a struggle as her Elite team continues to develop the new Dart with new fuel-injected engines. Teammate Vincent Nobile, who drives a Chevrolet, qualified No. 6 here with some terrific passes in qualifying.

“I’m hopeful that we can run better,” Enders said. “We were consistent today, but we’re not crushing it yet. Vincent is running better, so we’re pleased with that. He’s within one- or two-hundredths of Greg (Anderson) and Jason (Line), which is a huge accomplishment right now.”

Enders and Dodge teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. did miss on racing each other in the first round (as the Nos. 8 and 9 qualifiers do), as Coughlin qualified No. 9.

Enders will face No. 7 qualifier Chris McGaha in the first round after he made a top pass of 6.624 seconds at 209.04 mph.

“We’re proud that one of our team cars is doing well,” Enders said. “We’ve got to go to work on mine and Jeg’s Dodge Darts. We’ll see if we can keep chipping away at it. It’s definitely been frustrating and an agonizing process, but we’ll keep working on it until it gets better.”

The first two rounds of eliminations will air live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at noon, Sunday, with a three-hour recap later in the evening, starting at midnight.

Dutch Boy/Menards driver Erica Enders hopes to scoop up another Norwalk trophy

Erica Enders | NHRA Norwalk, OH 2016

NORWALK, OH — Two NHRA Pro Stock world championship trophies sit in the New Orleans home of Erica Enders, but one of her prized trophies is an ice cream scoop.

Winners at Summit Motorsports Park receive a special billet ice cream scoop, symbolic of the popular ice cream served at the track. Enders scored at the 2014 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, winning the sought-after ice cream scoop, too.

“We’ve had some success in Norwalk in the past, qualifying on the pole a handful of times and finally going on to win the coveted billet ice cream scoop,” said Enders, who races her Dutch Boy Paints/Menards Dodge there this weekend. “That sits proudly in my trophy room. I say every time going into Norwalk that we really love and respect the Bader family and how they operate a great facility.”

Norwalk is one of the favorite stops on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule for competitors, including Enders.

“It’s always a treat to go back.” Enders said. “They go above and beyond to treat the racers like family. From the guys who take tickets at the front gate to the guys who bring ice around for us, everybody is helpful and has a smile on their face. We’re excited to go back to Norwalk.”

A victory in Norwalk could be elusive this season, as Enders’ Elite team continues to develop its new Dart with new fuel-injected engines, but though she may be tempering her expectations, she continues to have the utmost faith in her team.

“Maybe right now, the kind of success we expect isn’t turning on win lights,” Enders said. “It’s going to be getting through this adversity and still be stuck together like glue, still being positive, and still having fun. That’s what it’s all about. Yes, we want to win races for Mopar, JEGS, and everyone else, but at this point, all we can do is continue to work hard.

“We’ll be back on top; I have absolutely no doubt in that. It’s just a matter of time. I don’t know how long that’s going to be, but we’ll be back.”

Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 5 and 7:30 p.m. ET, Friday, and 1 and 3:30 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will carry qualifying action from 8 to 9 p.m., Friday, and 7 to 8 p.m., Saturday. The first two rounds of eliminations will air live beginning at noon, Sunday, with a three-hour recap later in the evening, beginning at midnight.

Dutch Boy/Menards to partner with two-time Pro Stock champ Erica Enders

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WYNNEWOOD, OK — Dutch Boy Paints and Menards will partner with two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event this weekend at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.

Enders will drive the Dutch Boy/Menards Dodge Dart prepared by Elite Motorsports at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

“I’m honored to drive the Dodge Dart this weekend with such a recognizable brand on the door and the hood of our car,” Enders said. “I’m glad they’re giving us an opportunity to show them what we can do for them.”

To help kick off the partnership, Enders will appear at the Menards store in Sandusky, Ohio, on Wednesday. Enders and her Dutch Boy/Menards Dodge will be at the Menards at 1101 Lakecrest Parkway in Sandusky from 5 to 7 p.m. ET.

Menards has more than 280 home-improvement stores throughout the Midwest and is known as the low-price leader. The company has backed motorsports for many years, in the IndyCar Series, NASCAR, and ARCA.

Dutch Boy Paints, available at Menards stores, continues to be an industry leader in delivering innovative and high-quality products and packaging solutions.

Enders became the first woman to win the Pro Stock championship in 2014, earning the title in the final round of the final race. She repeated in 2015, winning nine times and setting NHRA records along the way. She is the only driver in NHRA history to win three consecutive final rounds on holeshots.

Enders and her Elite team partnered with Dodge to field the new Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge Dart for the 2016 season.