Posts Tagged Race Recap

Enders-Stevens Captures Elusive Bristol Pro Stock Victory

Erica Enders-Stevens wins in Bristol

BRISTOL, TN — After leaving the final round of eliminations at Bristol Dragway three of the last four years winless, Elite Motorsports Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens sealed the deal Sunday by scoring her third win of the season at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Capturing the ninth win of her career wasn’t an easy feat, going up against two Pro Stock champions in final eliminations. With a round-one victory over Larry Morgan, followed by red-lights from both Greg Anderson and Jeg Coughlin Jr., Enders-Stevens found herself paired up against Jonathan Gray in the final, but when Gray got a bad start off the line, Enders-Stevens motored her Chevy Camaro to the win with a 6.698-second pass at 207.15 mph.

“Bristol has always been really good to me,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve been to three finals in the last four years here and hadn’t been able to get it done until today. As a driver, sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good, and today was one of those days for us. Jeg should have beat us on paper. Fortunately for us, he went red and we were able to move on to the final.

“I’m really excited about the win but it’s definitely my team’s trophy. They’re the ones that gave me the race car that went A to B when it mattered. We were consistent and performed like a team and I couldn’t be more proud of them. I’ve struggled the last month, but it means a lot to me that they’re so encouraging and never waiver.”

Through it all, Enders-Stevens knew she had continual support this weekend, especially from a special passenger riding alongside her Sunday. An unexpected loss this week of Nicole Stevens, a close relative of Enders-Stevens’ husband, may have put a toll on emotions but Enders-Stevens was able to bring home the win in her honor.

“It’s a very sad situation that shouldn’t have happened the way it did,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m just going to continue to have faith because God has a bigger plan and he needed her in heaven for some reason. I know she was probably riding along with me today. I’m just glad we were able to get it done this weekend after the week that we have had. Winning on Father’s Day is just an added bonus.”

To top it all off, with her win in Bristol Enders-Stevens has extended her championship points lead once again, but this time over Coughlin, who assumed the second spot from his teammate Allen Johnson.

“It’s pretty cool even though it’s unchartered territory for me,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve never been in this position, so it’s going to be something that I’m going to have to learn how to handle, but with a team like I’ve got I know we’re going to be just fine.”

Enders-Stevens will look to make it two wins in a row when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series makes its next stop for the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals, June 19-22, at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

Enders-Stevens Officially the Quickest and Fastest of NHRA’s Pro Stock Class

Erica Enders-Stevens Englishtown, New Jersey

ENGLISHTOWN — One day after resetting the national speed record to a blazing-fast 215.55 mph, Pro Stock championship points leader Erica Enders-Stevens added the more valuable elapsed time record to her résumé with a stunning pass of 6.464 seconds Sunday morning at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

While both marks are coveted, the e.t. record helps in the Mello Yello standings because it is worth an additional 20 points, helping the young racer from Houston easily remain on top of the factory hot rod class despite a quarterfinal exit from the 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals.

“The cruel part of drag racing is you set both ends of the national record, so you know you have the baddest hot rod on the planet, but you still have to win rounds to win races and the driver didn’t get it done today,” Enders-Stevens said. “I feel terrible for my guys for losing the race but I couldn’t be more proud of them for getting this car into the record books. No matter what, no one can take this weekend and the records we set away from us. Those marks will be beaten one day, but for now we are on top.”

Enders-Stevens used her record pass to dispatch first-round opponent Val Smeland, who encountered traction issues and aborted his run, drifting to an 8.972 at 107.66 mph. That set up a quarterfinal date with her former crew chief, Dave Connolly, who gained enough of an advantage at the starting line, .033 to .064, to hold off Enders-Stevens’ quicker 6.509 at 214.66 mph with a slower but winning 6.539 at 213.91 mph.

“I knew we had Dave covered as far as e.t. goes, but he got me on the Tree today and that was it,” Enders-Stevens said. “My guys were great and they immediately told me we win as a team and lose as a team and reminded me I’ve won a few on holeshots myself, but I still feel lousy.

“I’ll get over it. The main thing is we increased our points lead and the Elite Motorsports Camaro is the undisputed king of the hill for now and that feels great. I feel so honored to be driving this car and working with this team. I’m a happy girl inside.”

After racing three consecutive weekends, Enders-Stevens and her privately-funded race team will now have a chance to regroup before the 14th annual Ford Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals, which takes place June 13-15 in Bristol, Tenn.

Enders-Stevens extends Pro Stock points lead after stellar Atlanta race

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ATLANTA — The determination of Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens has elevated her to the top level of Pro Stock and doesn’t allow her to believe clichés, so when her team members told her after she lost in the second round of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals on Sunday at Atlanta Dragway that “you can’t win them all,” she shook her head.

“Why not?” she asked.

Enders-Stevens has won two of seven Pro Stock races in 2014, adding the K&N Horsepower Challenge to that haul. She’s the points leader in the ultra-competitive class, too, and is determined to stay there.

“If there’s any good news, it’s that we get to go racing again in four days,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ll go back to the shop and then head to Topeka (Kansas). We’ll be fine.”

Enders-Stevens fell in the second round to eventual race winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. despite having a better elapsed time. Her pass was the best of the round for the sixth time during the weekend, but Coughlin’s starting-line advantage gave him the close victory. Enders-Stevens’ run was 6.533 at 209.52 mph, falling to Coughlin’s 6.551 at 211.30 mph.

“Just one of those days,” she said. “I’m human and I do mess up. I knew as soon as I let the clutch out I was in trouble. I know we have big top-end smoke, and when I put in fifth gear I closed on him but not much.”

She got to the second round with a stellar first-round win over John Gaydosh. Enders-Stevens left first and pulled away to a pass of 6.526 seconds at 212.96 mph, easily beating Gaydosh’s 6.786 at 205.13 mph.

Enders-Stevens came into the race as the No. 1 qualifier, having been atop the chart in all four qualifying sessions. She then was low of the round in both runs Monday, proving Elite Motorsports has not lost a step.

Enders-Stevens and her team remain positive as Atlanta starts a stretch of three consecutive races, with the race in Heartland Park Topeka beginning Friday.

“They’re just so positive all the time,” she said. “I apologized. Nothing is worse than for it to be your fault for the loss for the team, but they’re very positive. (Team owner) Richard (Freeman) is joking around and laughing and saying, ‘Hey, you can’t win every one these.’

“Everybody’s spirits are up, and we’ll be ready to go in Topeka, no doubt.”

The advancement to the second round, coupled with her stellar qualifying effort, helped push Enders-Stevens’ points lead to 110 over second-place Jason Line.

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.

First-round loss won’t diminish Enders-Stevens’ solid season

ee-husky-car

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 10) – A first-round loss in the Auto Club NHRA Finals on Sunday at Auto Club Raceway won’t diminish the accomplishments of Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Enders-Stevens finished sixth in the Pro Stock points standings after a season in which she missed six races with her Cagnazzi Racing team because of sponsorship issues. With a partnership with Husky Liners, Enders-Stevens returned for the six-race Countdown to the Championship, winning in St. Louis and moving as high as fourth in points.

“I was blessed to be able to make the Countdown and finish the year,” said Enders-Stevens, who won two races in 2013. “It certainly wasn’t an ideal situation by any means, but we did the best we could with what we had. It’s a cruel world out here, but I’m remaining positive and optimistic through all of the hard times. That’s important to do, and I can only hope next year will be better.”

Enders-Stevens goes into the off-season on a positive note after enjoying a fun weekend in Pomona. She appeared on KTLA 5 Morning News on Friday, followed by an appearance at the Night of Champions at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum on Friday night.

“I love coming to Pomona,” Enders-Stevens said. “I love the raw history of this sport and this racetrack, and the fact that my Jr. Dragster is here in the museum is an honor for me and my family. I really enjoy being in Southern California at this race.”

Enders-Stevens qualified No. 8 and was the first pair out in her matchup with Shane Gray. Gray made a pass of 6.586 seconds at 211.03 mph while Enders-Stevens’ run was 6.595 at 211.59 mph, as Gray got the win.

“It shook and took a hard turn right,” Enders-Stevens said of her launch. “I did what I could with what I had, but when the car is out of control and gets away like that, as driver, it’s a challenge. I probably should’ve shoved the clutch in and aborted the run, but I wanted that round-win more than almost any round-win in my career. God had a different plan, and I trust in it.”

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