Posts Tagged Norwalk

Pro Stock champ Erica Enders hopes history repeats itself in Norwalk

Erica Enders - Bristol 2015

NORWALK, OH — Elite Motorsports Pro Stock driver Erica Enders hopes history continues to repeat itself in 2015, including at this weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park.

So far this season, the 2014 NHRA Pro Stock World Champion has repeated victories she earned last year. She won in Las Vegas, Houston, and Bristol in 2014 and has done so this season as well. Enders added a victory in Topeka, Kan., to help her lead the points standings as she heads to Norwalk, where she is the defending race champion.

“So far this season we’ve been able to repeat every win we had last year,” Enders said. “Vegas, Houston, and Bristol and we added Topeka. Hopefully that trend continues. We’ve definitely got a good race car and I’ve got the best team.”

The Norwalk victory a season ago capped a terrific performance by Enders and her team. She was quickest in all four qualifying rounds and in all four rounds of eliminations, snapping a winless streak by Pro Stock No. 1 qualifiers.

“We broke that streak where nobody had been able to qualify on the pole and win the race,” Enders said. “We had a dominant performance last year, being low e.t. of every qualifying and elimination round. It was a really exciting weekend.

“Coming off the win in Bristol, we’re hopeful to carry that momentum and have a repeat of Norwalk last year. I look forward to winning another ice cream scoop.”

A special ice cream scoop is awarded to Norwalk winners, a symbol of the treat enjoyed by fans and competitors at the track for many years.

Norwalk is also renowned for its impressive fireworks display during the Independence Day holiday weekend.

“It’s one of my favorite facilities to go to,” Enders said. “The Baders go above and beyond to treat the racers like family, and being that it’s Fourth of July, all the stuff they do for fans is incredible.”

Pro Stock qualifying sessions will be held at 5 and 8:45 p.m. ET, Friday and Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will broadcast all the qualifying action from 10 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, and the elimination rounds live from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday.

Enders-Stevens Caps Dominant Weekend with Norwalk Victory

Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports team in the winner's circle at Norwalk

NORWALK, OH — The impressive numbers keep piling up for Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens after winning the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Summit Motorsports Park.

Enders-Stevens’ victory:

  • Was her fourth of the season, which leads the class
  • Was the 10th of her career, joining Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey as the lone women with double-digit pro national-event wins
  • Was the 199th for Chevrolet in Pro Stock
  • Capped off a perfect weekend for her and her team, as she was quickest in all eight rounds, covering qualifying and eliminations
  • Pushed her points lead to 241, the biggest in any of the four pro classes.

But perhaps her proudest number was .015, as in her reaction time in seconds in the final round against Dave Connolly. That allowed her to get a quick lead, and her pass of 6.632 seconds at 210.14 was more than enough to send her to victory lane.

“I’m proud of my team,” Enders-Stevens said. “They put a great race car under me. You have to leave the emotion out of it, regardless of how I feel, regardless of how he feels. When I go up there, it’s all about my team, my car, our lane, me, and that tree. I’ve got to get my job done and not think about any of the negative things. We were able to do that today, and a big reason is because we have a really fast, consistent race car.”

Enders-Stevens also exorcised some personal demons that have plagued her over the last few races. Every NHRA driver has lost on holeshots in their career, but Enders-Stevens was determined to not let that happen this weekend, especially after grabbing the No. 1 qualifier.

Erica Enders-Stevens wins in Norwalk

The pole winner hasn’t won in Pro Stock since the U.S. Nationals last year, but Enders-Stevens and her team wanted that streak to end in Norwalk.

“When we got it I was like, ‘All right, it’s our job to bust it.'” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m just glad we could get it done, and that’s a big part of this game: Having a positive mental attitude and focusing on the things you want and not dwelling on the negative things or the distractions on the outside.”

And she joined Sampey (41 victories) and Muldowney (18) as the only females with double-digit wins.

“It’s crazy to have my name on a list like that,” Enders-Stevens said. “Shirley’s a legend and has been a mentor to me. Angelle’s been great, too. She’s a friend of mine and lives 20 minutes from our house in New Orleans.

“They’re two extremely talented ladies who are passionate about our sport. They were able to break down the barriers so girls of this generation can do what we do. I’m appreciative of them for that. To have our name on a list with those two names is pretty significant and means a lot to me.”

Enders-Stevens missed on getting the 100th victory by a female in NHRA, but she’d love to give Chevrolet its 200th win in Pro Stock.

“That would be very cool,” Enders-Stevens said. “The 100th win for females is very significant and we were 99 and 101, so we missed it by a little, but 200 for Chevy would be very cool. We certainly have the hot rod to do it, and I’m driving better.

“We’re not focusing on the big picture. Let’s just focus on the task at hand, and that’s one day, one round at a time. We were able to execute that way.”

Elite Motorsports’ Enders-Stevens Secures Pro Stock Pole at Norwalk

Enders-Stevens qualifies number 1 in Norwalk

NORWALK, Ohio — Erica Enders-Stevens will take a dominant Elite Motorsports Camaro into final eliminations for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Summit Motorsports Park.

Enders-Stevens was quickest in all four qualifying sessions this weekend, earning her second No. 1 of the season, the eighth of her career and second in Norwalk.

“We’ve got a really consistent hot rod right now,” said Enders-Stevens, who also was No. 1 here in 2011. “(Crew chiefs) Rick and Rickie Jones have got the setup down pat. In the first session today we used as our race day setup because those will be the conditions we’re going to race under tomorrow. We had the worst lane for Pro Stock, the left lane, and we went up there and tried some things that are going to work for tomorrow, hopefully.

“I’m just really proud of my team, proud to be their driver. Consistency is what’s going to get it done.”

Enders-Stevens’ best pass was 6.523 seconds at 212.63, lowering the track record in both categories. The Pro Stock points leader will line up against No. 16 qualifier Travis Mazza in the first round Sunday. Mazza will make his first career start after a pass of 7.365 seconds at 200.86 mph.

Earning bonus points from qualifying will increase Enders-Stevens’ points lead, which was 190 coming into the race.

“It’s the first time it’s happened in my Pro Stock career, but we’ve got a lot of racing left,” Enders-Stevens said. “We try to put that aside and just try to be consistent week in and week out. That’s what’s going to get it done. It’s pretty surreal. For me, I’ve watched a lot of these guys since I was a kid. It’s an honor to be where I’m at. Very humbling and exciting.”

Enders-Stevens brought a renewed attitude to Norwalk after a talk with Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden earlier this week. Enders-Stevens has been in a minor slump on the starting line, but Glidden pumped her up with some positive reinforcement as well as good advice about the race car.

“Bob called me and he was like, ‘Erica, what the hell is going on?’ ” Enders-Stevens said. “We talked for almost an hour and went over almost every aspect of it.”

One suggestion Glidden made was for Enders-Stevens to talk to the father-son crew chief team about changes made to the race car and how it affected her driving.

“Things are coming around,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve had good reaction times through qualifying, and we’ll see if that parlays over into race day. I just have a new outlook. I need to enjoy where I’m at. I’ve been having fun, but I’ve been putting a little too much pressure on myself. I needed to get the head game side of it straight, and I feel good this weekend. I feel confident and I’m not stressed out anymore.”

Enders-Stevens Moves to Number 1, Sets Norwalk Track Record in Friday Qualifying

Erica Enders-Stevens set Norwalk Track Record

NORWALK, Ohio — Looking to extend her current points lead in the NHRA championship standings, Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens topped the leaderboard after the first day of qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals this weekend at Summit Motorsports Park.

Her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro blistered down the track in Q1 with a 6.523-second pass at 212.63 mph, setting a new track record in both top speed and low E.T. While her pass in Q2 wasn’t quite as fast, it was consistent, at 6.528 seconds 212.15 mph, keeping her in the No. 1 qualifier position.

“That was pretty exciting,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve had a couple off weekends lately, more so me as a driver. The guys have really worked hard and I couldn’t be more proud to throw up the numbers we put up today. We were hoping for even better numbers this evening but the starting line got a little challenging.

“We’ll see what we’re dealt tomorrow but I have a lot of faith in my guys. They’ve given me a very consistent race car and that’s really all a driver could ask for. I’ve been able to work on my side of things and they’ve been more than willing to help. I feel good this weekend. I feel confident and most of all I’m having fun.”

Not only have conditions this weekend been better than ever for Norwalk, they may be the best they have seen all season so far for the Pro Stock class. With such great conditions, Enders-Stevens and the Elite Motorsports crew are preparing to make even better passes when qualifying continues Saturday.

“This is abnormal weather up here for this time of year,” Enders-Stevens said. “I remember 2012 here when it was 108 degrees in the shade and how brutal that was. These temperatures are really nice and something you don’t quite often see in the summer months so we should be able to get after it more.

“Providing the starting line is better tomorrow, you’ll see better times, but it just depends. The track is great, it’s just the first four feet we have to navigate that is really crucial in Pro Stock. Rick and Rickie Jones, my crew chiefs, have done a really great job with that though.”

Qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals will continue at 4:45 and 7:15 p.m., Saturday with eliminations beginning at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all qualifying and elimination action.

Independence Day an Important Holiday for Elite Motorsports Driver Enders-Stevens

Erica Enders-Stevens Route 66 Raceway

NORWALK, Ohio — For Elite Motorsports Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens, Independence Day is a reminder of all the people who helped make the United States the country it is.

The Pro Stock points leader has shown her patriotism in various forms over the years, including visiting military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Gulf War. She now serves as a spokesperson for Hot Rods for Heroes, an organization dedicated to honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifices for our freedoms.

“It’s an important day for our country, and we need to remember how blessed we are to have the troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us to remain free and do what we love to do,” Enders-Stevens said as she prepares to race at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals this weekend at Summit Motorsports Park. “July 4 always helps me keep everything in perspective.”

July 4 is an important holiday for Summit Motorsports Park, as the Bader family traditionally holds a big fireworks show during the race weekend. This weekend, the show will be on July 4.

“They have the best fireworks show around,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve got a little buddy named Robert who races Jr. Dragsters there, and every year he comes by my pit to get me and we go watch the fireworks together. I always look forward to that.”

Enders-Stevens also looks forward to the friendliness and professionalism of the entire Summit Motorsports Park staff, from track president Bill Bader Jr. on down. The track has long been known for its hospitality to racers and fans.

Enders-Stevens hasn’t exactly been hospitable to the Pro Stock class this year, as she leads the standings by 190 points at the halfway mark of the season. She has won three times in four final-round appearances — not including the special K&N Horsepower Challenge race in Las Vegas — and is yet to lose in the first round.

After qualifying No. 5 at the season-opener, Enders-Stevens has qualified first or second in 10 of the 11 races since.

But the Elite Motorsports team will not sit on its hands.

“There is absolutely no complacency,” Enders-Stevens said. “Things are just going to get more difficult as the year goes on. We really want to be on top at the end of the year, and we’ve got to remain hungry, consistent, and give it our all.”

Qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals will be held at 4:45 and 7:15 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all qualifying and elimination action.

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