Posts Tagged Phoenix

Phoenix heat proves no match for Enders-Stevens’ first-day performance

Erica Enders-Stevens provisional no 1 in Phoenix

PHOENIX — Continuing to build off her success in Pomona, defending Pro Stock World Champion Erica Enders-Stevens put it all on the line during the first day of qualifying at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, snagging the provisional No. 1 spot at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

“I’m just so excited for our performance today,” Enders-Stevens said. “After not making a pass in Pomona on Friday, this is definite progress. There was also definitely more left in that run after we went back and looked at the data. We’ve been a little bit conservative this weekend because we don’t have the data that we’re used to having with the other parts and pieces. With hindsight being 20/20, obviously we’ll go in and make those changes this evening and try to get after it a little bit tomorrow.”

Going into Q2 in the No. 2 position, Enders-Stevens was looking to put her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro on the top spot, snatching it from fellow Elite Motorsports power counterpart Rodger Brogdon. Enders-Stevens was able to equal Brogdon’s pass of 6.545 seconds, but it was her 211.20-mph speed, compared to Brogdon’s 210.90, that gave her the top spot.

“With how crazy our test went here in Phoenix,” Enders-Stevens said, “we’re clearly taking some steps in the right direction in regards to the new rules that were implemented on tires and fuel. We’re still learning and trying to acquire some data, but having team cars out there really helps. We’ve got four guys in Pro Stock, including myself, that are running Elite Performance power, and we’re currently first, second, and third. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Putting up a successful performance at one of her favored tracks, Enders-Stevens knows that they still have a lot of work ahead if they want to remain on top of the board Saturday.

“Phoenix is one of my favorite spots to race at,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s where my family is from, so it’s basically like a second home to me. We do have our work cut out for us tomorrow though. We’re only No. 1 by mile per hour, so it’s going to be very close. We’ll go back and analyze the data some more and do our best tomorrow.

“Being No. 1 is just a cool perk in this sport. I’m proud of my team and really honored to be here, but at the end of the day, it’s how we finish on Sunday.”

Qualifying will continue at approximately 1:30 and 4 p.m. PT, Saturday. Eliminations will start at approximately noon, Sunday, with both qualifying and elimination action broadcast on ESPN2 on tape-delay basis.

Enders-Stevens to bring the heat in the Valley of the Sun

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PHOENIX, AZ — As the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series speeds along to the second stop on the 2015 schedule, defending Pro Stock World Champion Erica Enders-Stevens is determined to bring home the Wally from this weekend’s CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

“Pomona was our first race out with a new teammate and a new engine-leasing customer and we all did really well, so it was nice to get that under our belt,” Enders-Stevens said. “To have all three Elite Motorsports cars in the semifinals was pretty awesome. It was just nice to get back into the swing of things and establish our new routine.”

Knocking the dust off in Pomona, Calif., after the long off-season, Enders-Stevens feels as though she’s getting her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro warmed up and ready to compete.

“Not to be negative but Pomona was a huge struggle for me and my team,” Enders-Stevens said. “I struggled driving, we struggled with car setup, and we had two new rules implemented this year with a new tire and a new fuel that we’re still getting acquainted with. We’re really trying to gather as much data as we possibly can. To do as well as we did says a lot about this team overall. I don’t feel like we showed our cards at all in Pomona.”

Enders-Stevens is no stranger to success at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. After capturing the win in 2013 over veteran and fellow series champion Mike Edwards, she is anxious to repeat that success again in front of some familiar faces.

“I know that we’re capable of so much more, so I’m really excited and optimistic heading into Phoenix this week,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve won at this track before. Plus, it’s kind of like a second hometown race for me because my family is from there. I’m ready to get back behind the wheel this weekend and show them what we have.”

Qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:30 and 4 p.m. PT, Friday and Saturday. Eliminations will start at approximately noon, Sunday, with both qualifying and elimination action broadcast on ESPN2 on tape-delay basis.

New Web Series: Racing in Red Episode 1

Go behind the scenes with Erica Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports as they kick off their first test session together as a team in the first episode of the all-new web series: Racing in Red!

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Second Round Upset Cuts Short Phoenix Title Defense for Enders-Stevens

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PHOENIX — Defending Pro Stock event champion Erica Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports team arrived in Phoenix with hopes of backing up her 2013 win during the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

As the number two qualifier, with one of the hottest cars on the track, conditions were shaping up for it to become a reality.

However, a tough launch would put an early end to those hopes on race day.

The Elite Motorsports Camaro had posted spectacular ETs during qualifying, placing Erica just .001 behind number the number one spot with a 6.531 @ 211.66 mph.

“The car was running fantastic,” said Enders-Stevens. “We are all really happy with how the program is progressing. It just keeps getting better.”

During their first round matchup Sunday against Matt Hartford, Erica backed up her best qualifying run with a 6.531 @ 212.09 mph. That pass would go on to be the fastest of the day.

Yet during the Round 2 match-up against her former crew chief, Dave Connolly, the car made an abrupt move to the right during the launch, costing precious time to recover.

“I worked it back into the groove, but by that time it was too late,” said Enders-Stevens. “We had the performance, but unfortunately it wasn’t our day.”

Allen Johnson would go on to defeat Connolly and then V. Gaines to bring home the Wally.

Erica and Elite Motorsports head to Gainesville in three weeks for the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals March 14th – 16th.

Defending Phoenix Pro Stock Victory Would be Icing on the Cake for Enders-Stevens, Elite Motorsports

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PHOENIX, AZ — Erica Enders-Stevens and the Elite Motorsports team has re-grouped after the season-opener at Pomona and is prepared to defend her 2013 Phoenix victory at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Phoenix’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

“From both a driver and performance standpoint, we’re going to show up locked and loaded,” said Erica. “We had some fresh hardware shipped down from the shop in Oklahoma and we’ll be ready.”

Phoenix holds special meaning for Erica that goes beyond the track. Her father’s family hails from area, and her older brother’s family calls neighboring Scottsdale home.

“It’s like a mini-reunion at the track each year,” said Erica. “It means a lot to have them here, to see my nieces, and to share what we do with them. Last year we got to take pictures together in the winner’s circle, and it made the win even more special.”

A win Sunday will also hold special meaning for Elite Motorsports owner, Richard Freeman, who will be celebrating his birthday on race day.

“We want to win it for him and my ‘hometown’ crowd,” said Erica.

Friday and Saturday qualifying sessions for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals take place at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. (MST), with Sunday eliminations kicking off at 11:00 a.m. Fans can watch live via ESPN3, or catch the condensed qualifying and elimination broadcasts on ESPN2.

Video: Erica Makes Test Pass in Elite Motorsports Pro Stock Camaro

In-car GoPro footage from day 2 of pre-season Pro Stock testing from Wild Horse Motorsports Park in Phoenix:

Erica Enders-Stevens Rebounds in Phoenix to Capture Her First NHRA Pro Stock Win of 2013

Erica Enders with Wally after Phoenix win

Erica Enders with Wally after Phoenix winPHOENIX, AZ — While Danica Patrick made women’s history in Daytona, KLR Group driver Erica Enders-Stevens rallied back from an early exit last weekend to claim her 5th career NHRA Pro Stock win at the 29th annual Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway outside of Phoenix.

Driving the Cagnazzi Racing-powered GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt from the number seven qualifying position, Erica advanced over Shane Gray in the first round before facing number two qualifier V. Gaines. With identical elapsed times of 6.533 seconds, Erica out-drove Gaines, posting a .033 reaction time to his .074. With the holeshot win, she advanced to a semi final matchup against 2-time champion Jason Line.

With lane choice in Line’s favor, Erica’s pass of 6.563 @ 212.19 mph bested Line, who shook the tires early and ended his run with a 6.619 @ 212.76 mph. She would advance to face Mike Edwards, whose Camaro dominated qualifying, claiming the number one spot for the second race in a row.

Yet in the final it was all Erica. Scoring a massive .053 second jump, she nailed her 2nd holeshot win of the event, beating Edwards to the finish line by over 10 feet with a 6.538 @ 211.99 to his 6.520 @ 213.74.

“Going into the final we knew we had to pull out all the stops,” said Erica. “The way we started this year, it was a gut check to see if we could get back to last year’s performance level.”

During last weekend’s Winternationals in Pomona, Enders-Stevens’ number three qualifying advantage was cut short by a crushing engine failure during the first round of eliminations, allowing Kurt Johnson to claim the win light.

But with Sunday’s win, Erica has rebounded to 2nd place in overall Pro Stock points with 155, trailing Vincent Nobile’s 171. She also joins Nobile as the first Pro Stock drivers to capture a Wally in the new NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and the second woman, alongside Funny Car driver Courtney Force.

Enders holeshot on Mike Edwards in Phoenix

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