Posts Tagged Thunder Valley

Racing on Father’s Day holds special memories for Pro Stock champ Erica Enders

Erica Enders-Stevens in Bristol winner's circle

BRISTOL, TN — Father’s Day is a special time for dads and their kids, a time for children to honor their fathers for all the sacrifices made.

While racing at this weekend’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders will certainly thank her dad, Gregg Enders, for everything he did to further her career in drag racing.

“My dad means the world to me,” Enders said. “He’s been a huge support in my racing career, and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without him. We will do our best to bring him home another Wally this year on Father’s Day.”

Erica went to her dad, a racer himself, when she was 8 years old, asking to drive in the new Jr. Dragster class. Gregg agreed and began a long journey as mentor, crew chief, and supporter.

“He gave up a lot for (sister) Courtney and I to be able to race,” Enders said. “From the Jr. Dragster days to Super Comp and Super Gas to funding a Pro Stock team on his own, he provided all the stepping-stones to get me where I am today.

“Now, I’m with a team that takes great care of me and we have a blast together. Every challenging moment was worth it to get where I am now at Elite Motorsports.”

Enders won the 2014 Pro Stock world championship, with Gregg and Courtney arm in arm behind her at Auto Club Raceway last November.

Enders remains a leading contender to repeat as champion, as she’s second in the points standings with three wins in four final-round appearances and three No. 1 qualifiers in nine races to date. She heads to Bristol as the event’s defending champion.

“I’m excited to go back,” Enders said. “So far this year, we’ve won at the same tracks we won at last year, so hopefully that trend continues at Thunder Valley. I’ve never been shy to say that Bristol’s one of my favorite tracks on the tour, and the fact that it’s been good to us in the past makes it even more fun to go back.”

Enders has been to the Bristol final round in three of the last four races (2011, 2013, 2014), reaching the semifinals in 2012.

“It’s an awesome part of the country,” Enders said. “The fans are kind to us, and the facility is beautiful. Plus, Bruton Smith and his staff treat the competitors well.”

Pro Stock qualifying sessions will be held at 5 and 7:30 p.m. ET, Friday, and 12:30 and 3 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at 1 p.m., Sunday. ESPN2 will broadcast all the qualifying action from 8 to 10 p.m., Saturday, and the elimination rounds from 3 to 6 p.m., Sunday.

Enders to Represent Charter Communications in Thunder Valley

Enders to Represent Charter Communications in Bristol

Enders to Represent Charter Communications in Bristol

BRISTOL, TN (June 13) — Cable TV and Internet provider Charter Communications will be emblazoned along the side of Erica Enders-Stevens’ Pro Stock Chevrolet Camaro when it enters Bristol Dragway for this weekend’s Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Charter, a long-time marketing partner of the Cagnazzi Racing team, serves customers in Bristol and the surrounding region, making the unique dragstrip, flanked by the rolling hillsides of the Smoky Mountains, an ideal venue for the nation’s 4th largest cable provider to promote its brand.

Followers of Erica’s season will recognize the Charter livery from its appearances in Charlotte and Houston earlier this year. Charter is also a recurring associate sponsor on Enders’ Chevy.

For this weekend’s race, Erica’s latest sponsor, BLACK iGUANA Frozen Ritas, will remain a presence on the Camaro. The hood, scoop and rear deck will feature the Texas-based on-the-go pouch margarita brand as it continues to work towards establishing a fully-funded program.

Enders and her crew arrive in Bristol after back-to-back top-three qualifying performances that has her nipping at the heels of Pro Stock leader, and last year’s event winner, Mike Edwards.

“Mike has been on a hot streak. He’s forcing everyone to step up their game,” said Enders. “So far this year we’re tied 1-1 against him in the finals, with us winning in Phoenix and him in Charlotte. If we find ourselves there again this weekend, I’m looking to tip that record in our favor.”

With her car running among the top of the pack, Erica and her team have strong expectations for Bristol. Expectations that are further bolstered by recent history, including a semifinal appearance during last year’s event, and a trip to the final round in 2011.

“We’ve done well here,” said Enders. “Now’s our chance to be able to say we’ve won here, too.”

Qualifying at Bristol kicks off Friday evening, starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. Saturday qualifying begins at 12:30 p.m., with Sunday eliminations getting under way at noon. ESPN2’s qualifying broadcast will air starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Saturday, and eliminations airing at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.