Posts Tagged Seattle

Historic race of the past has Erica Enders excited about future Seattle success

ee-seapre

SEATTLE, WA — Reigning Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders is ready to make some more history at picturesque Pacific Raceways this weekend during the 28th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals.

During her breakthrough 2012 campaign, Enders and Funny Car racer Courtney Force made a mark in the record books in Seattle by becoming the first pair of female professionals to win the same national event.

“That was such a cool day,” Enders said. “I had just won my first ever Pro Stock trophy in Chicago a few races before the Western Swing, and that was a huge deal because no woman had ever won in Pro Stock before. We finally got it done and it was like, ‘How can we top that?’ Then we come up here and make some more history with Courtney. It was really neat to be a part of that, especially with my buddy Courtney.

“The Seattle win was special because it validated the Chicago win. It proved we were legit. We ended up winning a couple more times that year, but the Seattle win was one of the biggest I’ve ever had.”

Enders, who is married to fellow Pro Stock racer Richie Stevens, enters the weekend second in the Mello Yello championship points. She’s currently 47 points behind Greg Anderson and 147 ahead of third-place Jason Line.

“We have to go to Seattle and perform flawlessly, especially coming off a quarterfinal result in Sonoma,” Enders said. “We all know what we need to do in this pit and we just need to get to work. Seattle is usually a hot and tricky racetrack, so we’ll be prepared for that and try to win some rounds and maybe get back in the winner’s circle. I’ll talk to Courtney and see if we can’t recreate 2012!

“As much fun as it will be to reminisce a little bit, we’ll definitely have our work cut out for us. This year has been extremely competitive, like it seems to be every year, but I think the new fuel and tires they have us using this year have really evened the playing field more than ever before. It’s been stressful but fun.”

While in town, Enders will be sure to take in the local scene.

“Seattle is such a beautiful city,” she said. “You start taking it in before you even land, just looking out the windows of the airplane and seeing Mount Rainer and Puget Sound. I know we’ll be eating a lot of fresh seafood and taking in some glorious sunsets. I’m excited. This is definitely a race you always look forward to every year.”

Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2:30 and 5:30 p.m., Friday, and 1 and 4 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry both qualifying and elimination action.

Pro Stock Points Leader Enders-Stevens to Skip Sonoma, Seattle Races

Erica Enders-Stevens wins in Bristol

DENVER, CO — Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens will skip the NHRA national events in Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle in order to better prepare for the rapidly-approaching Countdown to the Championship, Elite Motorsports team owner Richard Freeman announced Sunday at Bandimere Speedway. Enders-Stevens has led the points since March, making her the most prolific racer in the pro classes this season.

“This has been the game plan for us from the start,” Freeman said. “The fact we’ve had such a great year and Erica has been driving so well is bringing more attention to this move but we never intended to run the entire schedule. We don’t have a major sponsor, so there are no commitments to fulfill. The rest of our supporters are totally onboard.

“We’ve got some things we want to work on to prepare for the last few regular-season races and especially the Countdown. I really believe we’ll still be in the points lead, even skipping Sonoma and Seattle, or we’ll be close enough to get that No. 1 ranking back in the two races before the Countdown starts.”

Enders-Stevens leads the Pro Stock class with four victories this season, also winning the non-points K&N Horsepower Challenge in Las Vegas. She has collected at least one round-win at every race and has led the points standings after 10 of 14 races. Her 241-point lead at the start of this weekend’s race is the largest in any professional class.

The Houston native’s victory on July 6 in Norwalk, Ohio, was the 10th of her career, making her only the third female to post double-digit national event victories in NHRA history (along with three-time series champions Angelle Sampey and Shirley Muldowney). She is far and away the most successful woman in Pro Stock class history with 10 career victories, eight No. 1 qualifiers, and 143 elimination round-wins. She is the only female to have won or been top qualifier in Pro Stock.

“We’ve got lots of goals left to accomplish, not the least of which is winning the Mello Yello Pro Stock championship,” Enders-Stevens said. “The guys will have this Camaro ready to win Brainerd and Indy and all six races in the Countdown. I don’t believe this will affect our plan of attack at all. It’s a team decision and obviously every decision Richard has made this year has worked out perfectly, so we’ll go home and prepare for Brainerd.”

This is the first time in NHRA’s playoff era that a class points leader has willingly skipped races.

The next race for the Elite Motorsports team will take place Aug. 14-17 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn.

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