Chevy Racing–NHRA–ZMax Dragway–Post Race

SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2018

An interview with Pro Stock winner ERICA ENDERS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, MELLING PERFORMANCVE/ELITE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier; 23rd career Pro Stock victory; last win was Epping, New Hampshire, in June 2017; competing in 252nd Pro Stock race; won with 6.535-second run with .014-second light; posted low ET of event at 6.500 seconds; sixth different Chevrolet Pro Stock winner in six races):

“It’s been since Epping of last year and I think prior to that it was two years before that. So, they have been few and far between and its been a hard mountain to climb. It goes to show that hard work pays off and strong people survive. That is what I have here is a really strong core group of people. Rick and Ricky Jones. Richard Freeman organized the most perfect group of people. I am so stoked. Mello Yello, thank you so much for supporting our sport. Thank you to Melling, we thank you so much.”

“I like that kind of pressure. I enjoy when the weight is on my shoulders. Knowing we have a fast car was great. It’s the first time we’ve had a fast, consistent race car in a long time. It was crucial, but I didn’t have time to think about the finals because everything was rushed. I had two of my crew guys in the car with me trying to move weight. I’m trying to block them out so I can get my head game right for the final round. I barely got to catch my breath before I fired up the car for the final round. The pressure is significant, but I think I thrive under it.”

BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (No. 1 qualifier; fell in first round): “It’s definitely tough. My team is convinced that the No. 1 qualifier is never good luck, it’s a curse just because there’s all that added pressure that follows it. We struggled. It’s tough out here at four-wide and conditions changed every single day so that’s a lot on my crew chiefs and the entire team. Unfortunately, we went out in the first round. But the good thing is we pack up and go to the next one in Atlanta.”

JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK COOLANT & MOTOR OIL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier; runner-up): “When you go through what we’ve gone through and then not qualify last week, it really hurts. The race car is starting to come back. We don’t even have a tune-up in it yet because it’s dropping cylinders every run, but it ain’t blowing up. We still ain’t figured out why it’s blowing up. It’s just too much mentally on you. I’m shell-shocked, too. The good thing is I’m starting to feel physically well. I want to thank our sponsors. I’ve got one in a row. It ain’t over yet.”

COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier; finished fourth in final quad): “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get lane choice and I’m a little frustrated because I feel that’s part my fault. I should have kept the car straighter in the semis, and if I could have kept it straighter and not out of that groove to the left I would have been able to hold onto it instead of coasting for that win in the semis. And who knows what we could have run and maybe we could have gotten lane choice and been in a better lane for the final round to put us in a better position. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t in the best lane, and it was a little bold up there and caused us to strike the tires. I just had to pedal it from there and kind of hope for the best. Job well done by my team. I’m really proud of them. They gave me a fast hotrod every single round that I went out there, and to be able to do that at the home track for Advance Auto Parts really meant a lot.”

ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 7 qualifier; fell in second round): “This was a tricky race track all weekend. We got the win in the first round today but I had to pedal it. It was close at the finish line but the name of the game at four-wide is win and advance. We didn’t get lane choice which was unfortunate. We had the third pick in the second round and we just couldn’t get down that lane under power. This Auto Club team is holding their heads up. We are getting ready for Atlanta and putting this race behind us. The fans love the four-wide format and now we will finish the season out with traditional side by side racing. I was very happy to see John get a runner-up finish for the PEAK Chevrolet team. All our race cars are starting to get stronger and that will help all our teams.”

VINCENT NOBILE, MOUNTAIN VIEW RACING, MOUNTAIN VIEW TIRE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier; runner-up): “I could have been the Four-Wide King (won four-wide at Las Vegas). We definitely have one of the cars to beat. I take full blame for this one. I went in there with a plan and that plan went sour. An .095 (light) ain’t going to cut it in any round, especially in the final when you’re against the three best cars in the four-wide series.”

DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN MOTORSPORTS, RAY SKILLMAN AUTO GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier; finished fourth in final): “We’re going in the right direction. I let the team down on the lights all weekend. We didn’t win a round, but fortunately in this circus they’re running here you can come in second and go to the next round. We’ll test (April 30) and work harder. I’m going to figure out what I have to do to hit the tree a little bit better.”

CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 10 qualifier; finished third in final): “I like the four-wide. I guess it’s because I go up there and don’t play games. The weekend was good. We didn’t have the strong performance that we did the other races this year, but we were right there. I’m not disappointed.”

GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier; fell in first round): “We just didn’t run fast enough, plain and simple. We were way too conservative. We’ve gotten bit the last three races by being too aggressive on Sunday, and we didn’t want to repeat that. The problem is we went too far the other way. There are too many fast cars for us to be that conservative. We lost a tight one by less than a thousandth, but it doesn’t really matter. Might as well have been a mile.”

BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER AUTO, JIM BUTNER AUTO GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 4 qualifier; fell in second round): “It’s not easy. We were behind the eight ball, behind this track all weekend. We have some work to do. We definitely have good power. That’s not the issue. We just have to make better runs.”

DERIC KRAMER, KRAMER RACING, AMERICAN ETHANOL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 5 qualifier; fell in first round when tripped red light): “We needed to make a good run and went out there ready to do that but the car got a little out of shape in third gear and had to click it off. I didn’t even know I red-lighted until we got down there. We’ll work on it and I’ll adjust the linkage a little and go from there. (About first full season) We’re doing just fine. Right about where I thought we’d be. We’ve had a couple of really good races and a couple that have not been so good but that’s just how Pro Stock is. It’s tough out there and no one; or at least very few people can do well at every race. So far, this deal (with KB Racing) has been everything we thought it would be and more. My driving has also been decent and we’ve made some good tuning calls.”

TANNER GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, VALVOLINE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 7 qualifier; fell in second round): “This was not the outcome the team and I wanted to have this weekend. My guys did a really good job with the car I just didn’t do my job to the best of my abilities, which is frustrating. We’re gonna do some testing next week so that we can get some more laps under our belt before Atlanta and hopefully come out swinging.”

JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 9 qualifier; fell in first round): “The engine tuner did a bad job, and the driver did a bad job. But such is life. We’ll be better at Atlanta, and we’re hopefully going to bring the blue Summit Racing Chevy Camaro back out there. Some days are good, some days are not so good. Next week we’ll be looking for more of those good days.”

MATT HARTFORD, HARTFORD RACING, TOTAL SEAL/NITROFISH CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 11 qualifier; fell in first round): “We had a really dominant car last weekend and we had a very similar set-up in qualifying at Charlotte. Unfortunately, first round the car just went immediately left, we got out of the groove and it shook. (About competing in more races) I’d like go to all of them but funding being what it is we have to pick and choose. Thankfully, Total Seal allows me to travel and Kenny (Koretsky) is great about letting me use his car and helping me out. Otherwise, I couldn’t do this at all. We have the power to compete with anyone out here. The big thing is that I can now say that I’ve won a Pro Stock race (at Houston). I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to come out here and run as much as we have and put as much effort into this as we have and never get to win even one. That win was a big relief.”

ALEX LAUGHLIN, GAS MONKEY RACING, TIGE BOATS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 12 qualifier; fell in second round when tripped red light): “We really struggled through Q1, 2 and 3. We had a few bumps here and there. Looking at our data, it all looks right. We just can’t figure out what’s going on, so we’re kind of in a slump right now. It’s not one big thing; it’s just a bunch of little things that have cost us. Basically, dumb problems. Hopefully, we’ve put all the stupid stuff behind us.”

JOHN GAYDOSH, GAYDOSH PERFORMANCE, PYPES PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 13 qualifier; fell in first round; nephew Kurt Benkert, QB from University of Virginia, signed free-agent contract Saturday with Atlanta Falcons): “I’m really happy for him. Atlanta had their eye on him. He broke all of Kurt Warner’s records at the school. (About the race weekend) I like racing the four-wide. I had a few mechanical issues here and there. I’m running an older set of tires, and we don’t know if it was the older tires or something else in that run. I left good – a .007 light – but then the car got loose and I couldn’t bring it back. I had to bail and I’m not wading up the car. Chris and Lester (McGaha) are awesome to work with. I have good power and can come out here and go rounds. We just have to get the package together.”