BAYTOWN, TX – The latest sign that things are headed in the right direction in the Pro Mod world for standout driver Erica Enders came on Sunday on the bottom number of the scoreboard at Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil.
On it displayed an incredible speed of 260.11 mph during her second-round pass at last weekend’s NHRA SpringNationals, making the run in the turbocharged Elite Motorsports Camaro the fastest in NHRA Pro Mod history.
It was a definite highlight for Enders, where the Houston-area native competed solely in Pro Mod. With Pro Stock not racing again until mid-May, it gives Enders and her talented team a chance to dial in the Pro Mod car and that happened this weekend, where Enders picked up a round win and the national speed record.
“We were fast all weekend on every run,” said Enders, a two-time Pro Stock world champion. “To run 260 and set the world record, it was pretty exciting. I think it definitely shows what we’re capable of and there’s some awesome horsepower the guys at Elite have built.”
LAS VEGAS – Erica Enders has enjoyed plenty of memorable moments racing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, including a particularly incredible two-year string in 2014-2015 where she won four straight races at the facility.
Heading into the fourth race of the 2019 NHRA season, the two-time Pro Stock world champion is ready to add another Vegas highlight at this weekend’s Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and pick up the first win of the year in her Elite Motorsports/Melling Performance Chevrolet Camaro.
“Vegas is one of my favorite tracks. I’ve got more round wins there than anywhere else and it’s always been good to me,” Enders said. “I have a lot of super fond memories there, my crew chiefs have a good set-up there and when I roll in there, I always have a good feeling.”
After a forgettable weekend in Gainesville where Enders fell in the opening round, the good vibes of The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are a welcome sign for Enders, who currently sits fourth in Pro Stock points.
GAINESVILLE, FL – After a rigorous several days of testing, Erica Enders hoped the payoff would come at this weekend’s 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. But an early exit in Pro Stock prevented that, delaying plans for the two-time Pro Stock world champion’s first win of 2019.
Despite a good start on Friday in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports RJ Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro, Enders couldn’t make another jump the next day in cool weather conditions. She started eliminations in ninth, falling in the first round to Chris McGaha with a run of 6.751 at 173.63 mph. Enders was dynamite off the starting line (.015), but got loose down track and had to shut off en route to the frustrating finish.
“It was extremely disappointing and disheartening after all the effort we put into it this week,” said Enders, who ran 6.518 at 211.13 in qualifying. “I’ve made a lot of passes in these cars, but it was just sucking me into the wall. I was trying to hang on as long as I could, but eventually I had to shut it off. We crushed them down low, at the 330 and 660, but sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug.”
Pro Mod Veteran Steve Matusek Set to Debut Turbocharged Mustang with Elite Motorsports at 50th NHRA Gatornationals
The veteran will debut his new turbocharged Mustang at this weekend’s 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, but it is not the typical new car debut. Matusek and the impressive brain trust around him, a group that includes tuner Shane Tecklenburg, Justin Elkes and Modern Racing and the Elite Motorsports team, have gone radically different in bringing this new car to life.
From wiring to electronics to technology, everything about Matusek’s 25th anniversary Aeromotive Mustang is outside-the-box and he is excited to bring it to life in Gainesville.
“This group is just unbelievable,” Matusek said. “It’s a very methodical, very neural group. We’re there to learn and we have a methodical approach. We want to figure the car out, what’s different about it and how to manage it.”
The group is still getting to know one another, but everyone has meshed incredibly well already, even as the team worked at a frenetic pace to bring the Mustang to life this week.
On that list this year was a win at the 50th anniversary of the NHRA Gatornationals, a historic race that takes place this weekend at Gainesville Raceway. It would mark Enders’ first victory at the marquee event and winning the 50th annual race in her RJ Race Cars Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro would be an added special touch.
But Enders will also have double the opportunities to win in Gainesville, as she will race in NHRA Pro Mod, which opens its 12-race season this weekend.
“Your success rate is much greater if your goals are written out and I wrote out winning the 50th anniversary Gators on my goal sheet,” Enders said. “I’ve been runner-up three times and it’s always been an important race, so I would love to add it to my list. It’s going to be a tall order and we’ve got a lot going on, but I’m very optimistic and I’m excited to see how it unfolds.”
PEOPLEASE, which is the largest transportation PEO in the country, will serve as a sponsor for Erica Enders’ Pro Mod car and an associate sponsor on the two-time world champ’s Pro Stock Camaro this season. The sponsorship, which starts at next week’s 50th anniversary Gatornationals, is PEOPLEASE’s first in drag racing, and they are eager to step into a new industry.
“We see our partnership with Elite Motorsports as an exciting way to link our transportation roots with the fast-paced growth and market diversification we’ve experienced over the past year,” said Jerry White, PEOPLEASE CEO and President. “PEOPLEASE’s customizable suite of services and consultative approach to revenue growth aligns perfectly with the high-performance standards set forth by Elite Motorsports.”
LENEXA, KS –Steve Matusek had a vision for how he wanted his Pro Mod Mustang to look for the 2019 NHRA Pro Mod season. When the veteran standout got the chance to look at the finished product, it was like his vision had come to life.
With a perfect mixture of a throwback to the start of Matusek’s racing career with the Mustang to the forward-thinking approach heading into 2019, the wrap and car are equal parts old-school and new-school. Adding a nod to Aeromotive’s 25th anniversary and a distinctive color scheme, and Matusek believes the car has the ideal look heading into a year with big expectations.
“I wanted to have something that represented our company and with the precision in which we do things,” said Matusek, who founded Aeromotive in 1994. “But at the same time, we wanted make it relevant to today’s younger generation. I think we accomplished that goal where the car is relevant to the newer generation.”