DINWIDDIE, VA – The PDRA World Finals is always a highly anticipated event. Championships are on the line. Weather is typically some of the best the series sees all year, leading to record breaking numbers. And this is every racer’s last chance to make an impact on the season.
Team Aruba has enjoyed a series of highs since debuting their new 2018 Aruba.com Mustang in September. Their standout performance continued for this final event of the year, despite team changes and adverse weather conditions.
The regular driver of the Aruba.com Mustang, Trevor Eman, stayed home in Aruba, awaiting the arrival of his second child. John Bartunek was tapped to fill his seat and adjusted to the car quickly, taking Team Aruba to a number 3 qualifying spot with a 4.048 effort. He then beat John Pluchino first round with an impressive 4.022 pass. At that point, the race was postponed due to unsafe conditions.
“This turned out to be a race with more competition from the weather than from our loyal competitors,” joked team owner, Ven Eman. “We had a very impressive field of Mountain Motor Pro Stocks with 17 cars, but Mother Nature was not on our side during this race. We had one day great weather, then lots and lots of rain and to top it off freezing low 30 degree weather.”
DARLINGTON, SC – Team Aruba traveled to the Legendary Darlington Dragway last weekend for the second to last stop on the 2018 PDRA tour. Although every event is at least one plane ride over the ocean for Team Aruba, this event could be considered their home stop on the tour, as it’s the closest to the team’s stateside base in Union, S.C. They continued their impressive stint with the new car, making their second semi-final appearance in as many races.
Driver of the Aruba.com Mustang, Trevor Eman, and his wife, Nicole, are expecting their second child soon. While Eman is home awaiting their newest addition, John Bartunek filled his seat.
“I was very impressed with the amount of people that came to me asking how Nicole and the upcoming baby were doing, both racers and fans,” expressed team owner, Ven Eman. “This goes to show the bond in the PDRA.
“Our team has done very well with this new car. Doug, Pat and John Peterson did a tremendous job taking a brand new car to the NHRA US Nationals and then to two PDRA semi-finals. John Bartunek did an excellent job driving the car this weekend. We’re thankful he could step up and drive for us since Trevor was unable to come to Darlington.”
UNION, SC – Team Aruba debuted their new 2018 Pro Stock Mustang with much fanfare. The highly anticipated Aruba.com Mustang made its inaugural passes at the NHRA U.S. Nationals, drag racing’s biggest event of the year. The Eman family and Team Aruba were included as one of the Mountain Motor Pro Stock (MMPS) teams selected to make exhibition runs at the U.S. Nationals, a test run for possibly altering the course of Pro Stock. The Big Go™ – as the event is known – carries the most emotion, prestige and history for drivers and fans alike, drawing the highest attendance, according to NHRA.com.
“We were received incredibly well by fans, other racers and officials,” stated team owner, Ven Eman. “We were able to put Aruba.com in front of thousands fans and widen the impact of Mountain Motor Pro Stock. It was a wonderful opportunity for our team, our marketing partners and our class.”
After that successful appearance with the National Hot Rod Association, Team Aruba joined the Professional Drag Racers Association, the world’s premier eighth-mile drag racing association and the current home of MMPS, for the PDRA Drag Wars. Team Aruba took home the Best Appearing Car Award.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Like any true drag racer, Trevor Eman and Team Aruba dreamt of racing on the biggest stage the sport has to offer. Their successful saga with Mountain Motor Pro Stock (MMPS) has never crossed paths with this revered event – until now. The National Hot Rod Association invited a select few MMPS teams to make exhibition runs at the 2018 U.S. Nationals. Team Aruba was one of the privileged attendees, possibly forever changing the course of their racing endeavors.
“It was one of the greatest honors of my career to be invited to the U.S. Nationals,” stated driver Trevor Eman. “It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re very grateful to have been extended the invitation. Simply being on the grounds of Lucas Oil Raceway was electrifying and to race there was an experience I’ll never forget.”
“I cannot put in words how exciting this past weekend was for us,” added team owner, Ven Eman. “Can you imagine coming from our small island of Aruba to race with NHRA at the U.S. Nationals? This is a lifelong dream coming true. We were able to put our One Happy Island on drag racing’s biggest stage.”
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – In one of the most exciting moves to happen in recent Mountain Motor Pro Stock history, NHRA recently announced that, for the first time, Mountain Motor Pro Stock cars will be making an appearance at an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event as part of the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. This incredible opportunity came by invitation only. A select ten Mountain Motor Pro Stocks were invited to be a part of the most prestigious event in drag racing, and Team Aruba was one of those ten.
“This is an honor and privilege for our team,” stated team owner, Ven Eman. “People work for years just to attend the event or have the opportunity of racing there. To be a part of such a historical moment and be one of the first Mountain Motor Pro Stocks to run at the U.S. Nationals is a huge honor.”
This opportunity is even more exciting for Team Aruba because they will be debuting a new Aruba.com Mustang built by Jerry Haas.
UNION, SC – Trevor Eman and the Aruba.com team just took delivery of a new Jerry Haas-built 2018 Mustang. This will be the first major update for the team since they debuted their 2011 Mustang seven years ago. The new Mustang will be equipped with their tried and true Jon Kaase Ford power.
“The car is beautiful,” stated team owner Ven Eman. “It’s difficult to say, but it’s even more beautiful than the other one. It’s really nice. It looks fast and it should be more aerodynamic.”
The Aruba.com Team has historically had some of the most eye-catching rides in drag racing and this Mustang is no different. It personifies the Emans’ island paradise home with vibrant colors depicting deep blue waters with palm trees set against a sunset backdrop. The car serves as a rolling billboard for a dream vacation.
The Emans flew in from Aruba to the team race shop in Union, South Carolina to take delivery of the new Mustang this week, and the team got to work right away, fitting Trevor for the car and making final preparations just in time to test locally this weekend.
Beyond their on-track performance, Team Aruba is often known for their friendly faces and welcoming pit area. Their hospitality speaks to their generous nature. When given the opportunity to show kindness, the Eman family and Team Aruba crew jump on the chance. So when they met a family near their shop in Union, S.C. and got to know their story of raising an autistic child, Team Aruba jumped into action.
“When we saw firsthand that it is no easy task,” told Trevor Eman. “We wanted to offer a helping hand where we could.”
Team Aruba prominently placed an Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org) decal on their car, set up a unique donation box, made from an old intake manifold, and became spokespeople at races and other events.