Posts Tagged Route 66 Raceway

Enders-Stevens Remains in Full Control of Pro Stock Class

Erica Enders-Stevens Route 66 Raceway Chicago 2014

CHICAGO — Proving how tough the competition is this year in NHRA’s Pro Stock class, runaway points leader Erica Enders-Stevens left the door open for the chase pack to close the massive gap she has opened in the championship standings. But even after a rare quarterfinal loss, Enders-Stevens didn’t lose any ground with her closest rivals also bowing out earlier than expected.

“It just shows you how tough it is out here,” said Enders-Stevens, who enjoys a nine-round lead in the rankings. “Everyone is pushing you every single race. We’re all running on the ragged edge, and when you’re hanging it all out there sometimes it doesn’t go your way.

“It’s fortunate that we didn’t lose any ground in the points, but at the same time the racer inside of me is upset that we didn’t use this opportunity to pad our lead even more. That’s just how we’re all wired. We don’t want to show any mercy.”

After qualifying a lofty second with a 6.594 at 209.65 mph — one of only two runs in the 6.5-second range — Enders-Stevens was able to dispatch Dave River in Sunday’s opening round with a 6.658 at 209.36 mph to River’s aborted 14.169 at 49.29 mph.

“We definitely wanted more out of that run,” Enders-Stevens said. “The humidity really crept up on everyone today and we saw some odd things happening up there. Fortunately, Dave had some issues in his lane and we got the win. The problem was we lost lane choice for the second round and maybe that got in my head a little.”

Against part-time Aussie racer Shane Tucker, Enders-Stevens actually managed to squeeze a little more from her Elite Motorsports Camaro, posting a quicker 6.647 at 208.59 mph against Tucker’s slower but winning 6.658 at 208.71 mph. The difference was the duo’s reaction times, with Tucker leaving .014-second ahead of his good friend Enders-Stevens.

“Getting beat on a holeshot is the worst feeling for a driver because you know the guys gave you a car capable of winning and the driver just didn’t do her job properly,” said Enders-Stevens, a three-time winner this year who has now led the points for nine races. “Everyone told me they didn’t want to hear a word about it because we win as a team and we lose as a team but I feel bad.

“I love these guys and I love my team owner, Richard Freeman, for everything he’s done. All I want to do is make them proud of me, and the fact they were so supportive today shows you how awesome they are. We’ll be fine. The best thing to do when something like this happens is to get on to the next race as fast as possible and fortunately we race next weekend, so we’ll get ready for that and move on.”

Enders-Stevens will be back on track Friday for the first two rounds of qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

Points Leader Enders-Stevens Locks up No. 2 Qualifying Spot in Chicago

Erica Enders-Stevens Chicago 2014

CHICAGO — Pro Stock championship leader Erica Enders-Stevens will begin her quest for another Chicago triumph from the No. 2 qualifying position after posting a competitive 6.594-second quarter-mile pass at 209.65 mph in qualifying for the 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

“This Elite Motorsports Camaro is running so strong this weekend, just like it has been all year, really,” Enders-Stevens said. “In four qualifying passes we went 6.59, 6.60, and 6.61 twice. That’s the kind of crazy fast speed and consistency that wins races.

“The guys have been sweating it out all weekend. I don’t think anyone expected this kind of heat in Chicago, but it’s definitely summertime now and they adjusted to it perfectly. I can’t tell you how much confidence it gives you as a driver to have a race car that you know is going down the track every run and can post super-quick times. Tomorrow can’t get here fast enough for me.”

As if her fast car isn’t enough, Enders-Stevens, who has held the No. 1 ranking for eight consecutive races, also can rely on the good vibrations of past successes at Route 66 Raceway to give her an additional lift in Sunday’s eliminations, which begin at noon. She won her first ever national event at this facility in 2012, becoming the first female winner in the factory hot rod category. She has since gone on to lock up every notable record for women in the class, including nine national event wins.

“What can I say? I love Chicago,” said Enders-Stevens, a three-time winner this year. “The fans have been so awesome because all of them make a point of sharing their memories of when we won here a couple of years ago, and it’s neat that everyone here takes a little piece of that with them. I’d love nothing more than to do it again and have another party in the Route 66 Raceway winner’s circle.”

As the No. 2 qualifier, Enders-Stevens will open sudden-death eliminations opposite Dave River, who qualified 15th with a 6.766 at 204.17 mph.

“You have to respect every racer because we all know that if you’re good enough to qualify, then you’re good enough to win, so we’ll be up for Mr. River and anyone else we might face off against,” Enders-Stevens said. “Right now, we have a comfortable lead in the points, and that’s all thanks to the hard work these guys have put in at the shop and here at the racetrack. We don’t want to let that slip away, so our focus will remain sharp.”