Enders-Stevens Becomes Elite Driver
Erica Enders-Stevens, the most prolific female driver in Pro Stock history, has joined Elite Motorsports for the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Enders-Stevens will drive the team’s new Chevrolet Camaro, which will be tuned by the father/son duo of Rick and Rickie Jones with in-house horsepower provided by Nick Ferri and Jake Hairston.
“I’m really excited to start this next chapter of my career,” Enders-Stevens said of her association with team-owner Richard Freeman. “It’s hard to believe that 2014 will be my 10th year in Pro Stock but it’s true. We want to make it our best year yet, and we’re all going to be working very hard towards that goal. The last three years we’ve been in contention for the championship very late in the season, and we expect to be there again with Elite Motorsports. Rickie just won the NHRA Finals, so it’s obvious they have all the pieces in place to be successful.
“I’m sad to leave (team-owner) Victor Cagnazzi. We’ve worked together for the majority of my Pro Stock career and I will always be appreciative of Victor and his wife, Brita. I certainly value our relationship. The deal Richard offered assures me a fulltime ride in his top car, so at this point in my career I thought it was the best move for me to make.”
Enders-Stevens became the first woman to win an NHRA Pro Stock race at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals at Joliet, Ill., in July 2012. In 2005, she became the first woman to reach a final round in Pro Stock at Joliet, Ill.
Despite running partial schedules at times because of a lack of funding, Enders-Stevens successfully has qualified for 102 national events, won six Wallys in 17 final-round appearances and been No. 1 qualifier on six occasions. All are records for female drivers in the “Factory Hot Rod” category.
“I’ve been so blessed to have had the opportunities I’ve had so far,” said Enders-Stevens, 30, who finished sixth in the final Countdown to the Championship standings in 2013. “For many years I got to race with my dad (Gregg), which was something we always dreamed about when I was younger and something I’d love to do again some day. I’ve also raced on my own and, although it hasn’t always been easy, I love this sport so much that I’ve fought to stay out here. The support I’ve received from my dad and the rest of my family, my longtime friends, and all of the wonderful fans out there have made it all worthwhile.
“This new start with Richard and Elite Motorsports is exciting for me. I hope I can repay their faith in me by being competitive and chasing after another championship.”
The team plans to test extensively in Florida prior to the season-opening NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 6-9, at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.No Comment