Posts Tagged Qualifying

Enders-Stevens grabs No. 1 qualifier in her home state

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DALLAS (Sept. 21) – Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens cemented her reputation as one of the best in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class over the last two seasons, and she has enhanced that status in her return to the Countdown to the Championship.

Enders-Stevens won the No. 1 qualifier at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Saturday at Texas Motorplex with a lap of 6.557 seconds at 210.93 mph in her Cagnazzi Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

“It’s certainly a great feeling, that’s for sure, especially to be home here in Texas,” said Enders-Stevens, a native of Houston. “It’s really important for our morale and team confidence. I’m really proud of the entire team and send a special thanks to Stevie Johns and Kevin Wideman back at the Cagnazzi Racing engine shop in Mooresville (N.C.). There will be a little bit more peace of mind going into Sunday, but we’ve certainly got our work cut out for us tomorrow.”

Enders-Stevens missed five of six races before the six-race playoffs, but Bob Tyler and Husky Liners joined the team as marketing partner, and Enders-Stevens and Cagnazzi have picked up where they left off.

Enders-Stevens reached the semifinals of the first race of the Countdown last week in Charlotte, and she followed that up with her first No.1 qualifier of the season and sixth of her career.

She’s eighth in the Pro Stock points standings but didn’t hesitate when asked if her team is a championship contender.

“We are, for sure,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve got the best guys in the business, and they’ve stood behind me from Day 1, as I have for them. We’re a great team and we work really well together. Chemistry is important in this sport, and we’re lucky to have a great group of guys who work well together. That’s a little bit of our edge, honestly. The team part is a very important aspect.”

Enders-Stevens squares off against Chris McGaha in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. McGaha qualified No. 16 with a pass of 6.654 seconds at 208.68 mph.

Missing time out of the Pro Stock car was not an “ideal situation, obviously,” Enders-Stevens said, but it has made her appreciate the chance Husky Liners has given her and her team.

“It was really tough to sit at home and watch,” Enders-Stevens said. “We missed out on testing and seat time for me as a driver, but to be back out here for Husky Liners is great.

“Honestly I just feel really blessed to have the opportunity be out here. It really gives you time to think when you’re at home watching instead of being out here competing, knowing you have a great team standing behind you. We’ve got great horsepower. We just needed the money, and Bob Tyler from Husky stepped up.”

Eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. CDT on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the eliminations show at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday.

Enders-Stevens bursts back on Pro Stock scene with No. 4 qualifying effort

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CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 14) – Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens hasn’t shown any rust in her return to Pro Stock racing, grabbing the No. 4 qualifying spot for the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals on Saturday at zMax Dragway.

Enders-Stevens missed six of the last eight races because her Cagnazzi Racing team was sidelined, but Husky Liners joined the team as a marketing partner for the Countdown to the Championship. Charlotte is the opening race to NHRA’s playoffs, and Enders-Stevens is right in the middle of the title hunt.

“The car’s running really well,” Enders-Stevens said. “We had a great run this morning and we were on a really good run this afternoon. That’s promising for tomorrow, especially since we’re getting off the starting line.”

Enders-Stevens, ninth in the points standings, had a top pass of 6.546 seconds at 211.83 mph in the third qualifying session. She was solid in her other runs, but the Q4 pass was aborted when her Camaro darted out of the groove.

“I’m pleased with how the car’s running,” Enders-Stevens said. “That gives me confidence going into tomorrow. The conditions will be similar to what they were today, and I think tomorrow is going to be a driver’s race. It’s a really tight field, and everybody seems to be running well. We’ll see how it goes and keep a positive attitude.

“We want to do well, not only because it’s the first race of the Countdown but for Husky Liners, too. We’re so blessed they stepped up, and we want to make them proud.”

Fans at zMax have been good to the popular driver, as crowds have gathered around her pit area all weekend to see her again.

“The fans have welcomed me back with open arms,” Enders-Stevens said. “A lot of them have said, ‘Welcome back. We’re glad you’re back.’ I haven’t stopped smiling all weekend. It’s been great.”

She wants it to continue into Sunday, when she’ll kick off eliminations against Rodger Brogdon, who qualified No. 13 with a lap of 6.594 seconds at 210.64 mph.

“Tomorrow’s going to be a tough day,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ll all have to be on our game, and I’m excited about our chances.”

Eliminations begin at noon EDT on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 3:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday and the eliminations show at 8:30 p.m. later that night.

Enders-Stevens in at No. 16 after crazy day for Keith Haney Racing

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ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Sept. 7) – Keith Haney Racing experienced the gamut of emotions during qualifying for ADRL’s Dragstock X on Saturday at Rockingham Dragway.

For starters, team owner Keith Haney failed to qualify for the race in his RacingJunk.com/Lucas Oil Camaro, but Haney then watched as his other car, the RacingJunk.com/Lucas Oil Camaro driven by Erica Enders-Stevens, bumped its way into the top 16 in the final qualifying session.

Enders-Stevens’ spot wasn’t secure, though, and she was knocked out of the field soon after her run. However, Tim Savell, one of the two drivers who moved her out of the top 16, crashed in his Q3 pass. Savell will be unable to make the call for Sunday’s eliminations, putting Enders-Stevens in the field at No. 16.

“I was excited that we could get the car from point A to point B,” Enders-Stevens said of her Q3 pass, which was 4.071 seconds at 187.08 mph. “So far that’s my quickest run in the car: 187 mph is pretty dang good in an eighth of a mile. I’m really excited for the team.”

But then her heart sank when two cars went quicker and then sunk even more when Savell hit the wall after his pass.

“All the excitement went out the window when Tim crashed because we wanted to make sure he was all right,” Enders-Stevens said. “Being a new driver in Pro Mod, that’s not exactly something I like to see: a veteran crashing. It goes to show what a challenge these cars are to handle.

“But at the end of the day, we’re all safe and we get to race on Sunday. That’s what’s important for our team.”

Haney, unfortunately, was unable to get his Camaro down the track in Saturday’s three qualifying sessions, as he was struck by different issues in each run,

“It was a tough day for both of us but it was probably tougher for me,” said Haney, who failed to qualify for the first time this season. “The first one we shook, and the second one we blew the tires off. We had a mistake by the driver, but we blew the tires right off the hit, so it wouldn’t have mattered if I had been dead on my game. Then the last pass we had a team malfunction, and I sounded like a popcorn machine going down the racetrack because I didn’t have enough nitrous.”

After Haney disappointingly crawled out of his car, he watched for Enders-Stevens’ run, which was a solid pass.

“I’m jumping up and down and Rickie Smith goes, ‘What are you doing?’ ” Haney said. “I said, ‘She went down the racetrack.’ I saw the chutes come out and said, ‘Oh, yeah! I don’t know what she ran but yeah!’

“I’m jumping up and down, don’t know what the heck to do. I’m ticked off because I’m not in, but I’m happier than hell and hoping she’s in.”

Enders-Stevens, too, was happy with the run but hopes to improve on Sunday against No. 1 qualifier Chris Rini, whose best lap was 3.876 seconds at 190.59 mph.

“We got back to our baseline with this car,” Enders-Stevens said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to tune from there for tomorrow. There’s no reason why we can’t run better. That Q3 run felt really soft. They can definitely hop it up a little bit and hopefully tomorrow is a good day. We have to face the No. 1 qualifier, but I’ve seen stranger things happen on Sunday. We’ll go in with a positive outlook and see what we can do.”

Enders Charges to another Top-3 Qualifying Finish at Englishtown

ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (June 1) — If you asked anyone at Old Bridge Township Raceway how they are feeling at this weekend’s NHRA Toyota Summernationals, the answer would more often than not be “HOT”.

With searing temperatures in the mid 90’s, crews and racers have had to contend with 130+ degree track temps and all of the slick and slimy traction challenges that come with it.

But if you asked Erica Enders-Stevens how she’s feeling, the answer is “Ready”.

“It’s been brutal out there, and a 15-layer fire suit doesn’t make it any easier,” Enders joked. “But I’m ready. The car is running well, we’re in a groove, and I want to put this Black Iguana car in the winner’s circle tomorrow.”

Erica’s first pass of 6.569 @ 210.50 mph on Friday started her off in the #2 spot before Shane Gray clicked off a pass just .004 thousandths quicker in Q2, sending Enders to the #3 spot that she would hold on to through Saturday’s sessions.

This weekend’s qualifying follows a number two qualifying effort in Topeka for her Cagnazzi Racing team. However, Kansas dealt an early exit for the Black Iguana Chevy when transmission problems caused it to fall in the first round to Rodger Brogdon.

“Topeka was a gut check. We had an awesome car going in to Sunday. But in the first round, on the first shift, we broke. It was a huge disappointment, but you have to shake it off, fix the problem, and keep the momentum up for the next race,” said Enders.

“We’ve been a top three qualifier for two races in a row, proving we’ve got a hot rod that’s capable of going rounds and has the potential to get us into the winner’s circle. Now it’s just up to us to get it there.”

No doubt the hot temps will continue to be a factor with Sunday’s high remaining in the 90’s.

“We won in Seattle last year when it was unseasonably hot, and we can do it again here,” recalls Enders. “Tommy Utt and Dave Connolly have a knack for the hot track setup.”

Final eliminations for the NHRA Toyota Summernationals begins at 11:00 AM Eastern time. ESPN2’s elimination broadcast begins at 4:30 PM Eastern.

Enders Unleashes Her BLACK iGUANA Camaro to the Number 2 Qualifying Spot in Topeka

Erica Enders-Stevens Black Iguana in Topeka

Erica Enders-Stevens Black Iguana in Topeka

TOPEKA, KS (May 18) – Coming off a disappointing weekend in Atlanta, Erica Enders-Stevens and her Cagnazzi Racing team have regrouped and charged their way to the number two qualifying spot in their newly-sponsored BLACK iGUANA Frozen Rita Camaro at the 25th Annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

“We’re really excited to be racing this weekend in Topeka. It was uncertain if we’d even be here,” said Enders. “But in the 11th hour the deal came together with BLACK iGUANA and we’re super happy to be able to debut our new sponsor on a weekend when our car is running near the top of the pack.”

With a flat black paint scheme that has become an instant crowd favorite, the BLACK iGUANA Pro Stock Chevy proved it had the performance to back up its looks during all four rounds of qualifying.

Friday’s first session sent Enders to the number four spot with a 6.656 at 207.62 mph pass. But it was the second session, taking place in the cool evening air, that would lock Enders in as the number two qualifier for the weekend.

Nipping at the heels of class-leading Mike Edwards, Erica posted a 6.625 @ 208.30 mph pass, just .007 seconds behind Edwards and .008 seconds ahead of both Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin.

Enders continued to stay up front Saturday as she nabbed the fastest pass of the third session with a 6.655 @ 207.15 mph, besting Edwards’ 6.659 @ 207.30 mph. She would follow up with the 2nd fastest pass of 6.676 @ 206.86 mph in the final session, behind Allen Johnson’s run of 6.674 @ 207.08 mph.

“I’m so proud of my guys,” said Enders. “After coming off a couple of rough weekends, we knew we needed to reassess our approach. They’ve been working really hard to sort this car out, and our performance so far shows we are going in the right direction. These cars are a challenge to tune as well as drive, so putting together a string of four consistent runs has us optimistic about Sunday.”

Erica will face Rodger Brogdon in round one of eliminations at the NHRA Kansas Nationals on Sunday.

Eliminations are set to begin with Top Fuel at 11 a.m. Central Time. ESPN2’s eliminations broadcast begins at 7 p.m. CDT.

Enders Kicks off NHRA Winternationals as Top Three Qualifier, Eyes First Pro Stock Win of 2013 Mello Yello Series

Erica Enders Cobalt at 2013 Winternationals

Erica Enders Cobalt at 2013 WinternationalsPomona, CA — Driving the stealth-black GK Motorsports Cobalt that took her to four 2012 event wins, Erica Ender’s Cagnazzi Racing-powered Chevy arrived in California after a brief test session in Las Vegas… and went on to secure the 3rd qualifying spot in a cutthroat field at the 53rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals.

“Victor [Cagnazzi] and my guys worked hard on some new stuff this winter and it’s bearing fruit,” Enders stated. “We know we have a winner in the Cobalt, so we have a solid platform to work from while we finish preparing our new Camaro.”

Mike Edwards and V. Gaines secured the 1st and 2nd spots with a 6.528 and 6.538, respectively. Ender’s 6.539 @ 212.23 mph put her ahead of Jason Line’s 6.541. Vincent Nobile rounded out the top five with a 6.551. Defending champ Allen Johnson had trouble making a full pass during the first two sessions, qualifying 10th overall with a 6.594.

While Saturday’s warmer conditions resulted in overall slower ETs, protecting the top four spots, Enders went on to be the 2nd fastest car during the final two sessions, backing up her Friday performance and accumulating a total of six bonus points.

“We had a few things go our way early that helped us hold onto the 3rd spot, and we were able to stay one of the fastest through Saturday,” said Enders. “We’re excited to see what Sunday could mean for us.”

With the start of the season comes the start of a new series. The winner of Sunday’s race will also be the first to win a Wally in the newly-named Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

“There are some fast cars out there, and we’ve got our work cut out for us,” said crew cheif Dave Connolly. “But to get the first Pro Stock win in the new series would be a huge way to start the season.”

Erica faces Kurt Johnson in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations from Pomona’s Auto Club Raceway. Catch the action on ESPN2 starting at 8:00 pm Eastern / 5:00 pm Pacific time.

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