Posts Tagged Winternationals

Enders-Stevens begins title defense with semifinal showing in Pomona

Enders-Stevens reaches semi finals at 2015 Winternationals

POMONA, CA (Feb. 8) — Elite Motorsports turned in another impressive performance at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, though 2014 Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens didn’t have the Circle K Winternationals end the way she wanted.

Enders-Stevens, who won the title here last November by winning the race, bowed out in the semifinals; however, she was one of three Elite-powered drivers to reach the semifinals. Rookie Drew Skillman, Enders-Stevens’ teammate, raced to the final round, and Rodger Brogdon used an Elite engine to get to the semi’s.

“It was a great day for Elite, that’s for sure,” Enders-Stevens said. “We had three cars in the semifinals with mine, Drew’s, and Rodger Brogdon’s, so that’s a great accomplishment for the team. It bodes well for the rest of the year, for sure.”

Enders-Stevens was the No. 1 qualifier in Pomona, and she opened her title defense by beating Matt Hartford in the first round, 6.548 seconds at 211.43 mph to 6.651 at 208.78 mph.

Then, Enders-Stevens dumped No. 8 qualifier Chris McGaha on a holeshot in Round 2. Her .035-second reaction time gave her a .011-second lead and it held up. His pass was quicker, 6.565 seconds at 210.73 mph, but her run of 6.569 seconds at 211.36 mph held him off.

Skillman then turned the tables on Enders-Stevens in the semi’s, using a .015 light and 6.590 at 210.41 mph to beat her 6.573-second run at 211.53 mph.

“That’s probably the worst way to lose, but if it had to happen to anybody, I’m glad it was to Drew,” Enders-Stevens said. “I am happy for him. How cool is it for him to go to a final round in his first race? Good for him.”

Despite ending her race early, Enders-Stevens knows her team has what it takes to compete for race wins and the championship.

“It’s a long season, and we know you can’t win a championship in the first race,” Enders-Stevens said. “We showed we still have great horsepower by qualifying No. 1, so we’ll go to Phoenix with our heads held high. I have the best guys in the business, and they bust their butts for me. Maybe there I can return the favor.”

Up next for the Elite Motorsports team is the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Feb. 20-22, in Phoenix.

Winternationals Performance Shows Promise for Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports

Enders-Stevens crossing finish line at Pomona 2014

POMONA, CA — During the opening race of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Erica Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports proved their Chevy Camaro will be a threat this year among the Pro Stock ranks.

After a shaky Friday afternoon of qualifying that included an aborted run, the team rallied back Saturday to qualify 5th during the Circle K NHRA Winternationals from Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

“We were a little rocky at the get-go,” said Erica. “But by Saturday we were jamming and it felt good to put up a number we knew we were capable of. I’m very happy with the car and how the team has come together. We’re having a blast.”

The strong performance continued when the Elite Motorsports Camaro posted the third fastest pass during the opening round of Sunday eliminations.

Erica drove to a 6.540 at 212.13 mph to advance over Deric Kramer’s 6.554 at 210.37 in Round 1. However it was her quarterfinal match-up against V. Gaines that would put a close to the weekend.

In spite of a solid 6.544 second pass at 211.66 mph, Erica came up short against Gaines’ quicker 6.527 at 212.29 mph.

Gaines would eventually knock out number one qualifier Vincent Nobile before falling to event winner Jason Line in the final round.

“Hats off to V.,” said Erica. “He’s one of the other single car teams out here keeping us all on notice. He had the ET, out-drove us to the stripe, and got us that time, but we’ll be back in Phoenix.”

Erica and Elite Motorsports head to Phoenix in two weeks to the refreshed and renamed Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, where last year Erica took home her 5th Pro Stock Wally in a holeshot victory over Mike Edwards.

With Enders-Stevens Behind the Wheel, Elite Motorsports is Primed to Defend Pomona Pro Stock Win

Erica Enders-Stevens in new Sparco Elite Motorsports fire suit

POMONA, CA — Erica Enders-Stevens and the Elite Motorsports team are set to defend last fall’s Pro Stock victory at Pomona’s Auto Club Raceway when they kick off the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals.

Erica joins Elite Motorsports, operated by Richard Freeman, along with the father-son crew chief duo of Rick and Rickie Jones, to usher in a new era for a young team that has experienced rising success in the hyper-competitive Pro Stock class.

“We spent the first half of the week testing alongside the other Pro Stock teams in Phoenix,” said Erica. “Everything has really settled in well, and it was great to spend that time as a team, learning from each other and going through the process of setting up the car and making passes. We’re confident about how things are shaping up heading into the season together.”

Elite Motorsports marks its return to Pomona after finishing last season with a trip to the winner’s circle during the NHRA Auto Club Finals. It was the first national event win for the team and it’s blazing red Camaro, including the first Pro Stock win for its driver, Rickie Jones.

It also made it back-to-back wins for Elite Motorsports’ engine program, led by Nick Ferri and Jake Hairston, having powered Shane Gray’s Camaro to victory in Las Vegas just two weeks earlier.

“Closing out the season like that was a huge boost for us. A lot of hard work and late hours went into getting us there,” said Richard Freeman. “It has definitely given us confidence we’re moving in the right direction, and if we keep putting in the work, we’ll do even better in 2014.”

“I’m blessed to have this opportunity with Richard and to be surrounded by a great group of guys,” said Erica. “I’m really looking forward to the season ahead and what we’ll be able to accomplish as a team.”

Qualifying sessions for the Circle K NHRA Winternationals takes place Friday and Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 pm each day, with ESPN2’s qualifying broadcast airing from 8-10:00 pm Pacific Time Saturday night.

Sunday’s final eliminations begins at 11:00 am, with broadcast coverage on ESPN at 5-8:00 pm Pacific Time.

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.