chevy racing–nhra–pomona–post race

Erica Enders secured her sixth NHRA Pro Stock championship after defeating Fernando Cuadra in Round 1 at the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip.Enders captured the 19th Pro Stock driver title for Chevrolet.After a successful season in NHRA, Chevrolet secured their 28th Manufacturers Cup since 1966, the seventh consecutive award and ninth in 11 seasons for Team Chevy.Robert Hight was eliminated in Round 2 by Chad Green in a close race, forcing Hight to settle for runner-up once again in the Funny Car championship standings for a second year in a row.Aaron Stanfield captured the 282nd Pro Stock win in NHRA for Chevrolet since 1970 and the 263rd in a Camaro after defeating Matt Hartford in the final round with a winning run of 6.534 ET at 208.91 MPH.Stanfield also earned the 16th Pro Stock Wally trophy this year in 17 races for the Bowtie brand.Chevrolet captured three No. 1 qualifier honors Saturday ahead of Sunday’s In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals, including Greg Anderson with KB Titan Racing in Pro Stock, Austin Prock in Top Fuel with John Force Racing, and Robert Hight in Funny Car with John Force Racing.Prock rocketed to his second No. 1 qualifier of the 2023 season, his third of his Top Fuel career, with his monster Q4 pass, running 3.636 ET at 332.92 MPH Saturday evening at Pomona.Hight captured his seventh No. 1 qualifier this season, the 84th of his Funny Car career, on his drive for a fourth NHRA world title, making a strong Q4 3.844 ET at 331.61 MPH pass at Pomona Saturday.In racing to the No. 1 qualifier, Hight surpassed Bob Tasca, III in points to enter race day second in the championship standings, 12 points behind leader Matt Hagan.Anderson raced his way to his 124th career No. 1 Pro Stock qualifying position, his third of 2023, with his Q2 pass of 6.495 ET at 211.30 MPH.Erica Enders, who led Pro Stock Championship points heading into Sunday, qualified No. 3 with her Q2 pass Friday night of 6.500 ET at 210.47 MPH.  
POMONA, California (November 12, 2023) – Racing her way further into the record books, Erica Enders, driver of the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage/Melling/SCAG Chevrolet Camaro SS Pro Stock machine, secured her sixth NHRA world championship after defeating Fernando Cuadra in Round 1 of final eliminations at the In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip. While Enders’ season may have kicked off at a slow start, her and her Elite Motorsports team picked up pace after capturing her first of four victories this year in Bristol. Going on to win at Topeka, Dallas, and Las Vegas 2, Enders additionally cemented herself in racing’s history books at the Texas Motorplex by becoming the winningest female in NHRA history and all of motorsports with her 47th win. Now holding 48 total victories in NHRA, 47 in Pro Stock and one in Super Gas, all of Enders’ championships and wins have come from behind the wheel of a Chevrolet. “On the heels of a career-best season last year, anything is going to be challenging,” reflected Enders. “It took us seven races to figure out our issue and I owe my guys all my credit in the world. The message this year is tenacity and consistency, and digging through all of it prevailing when it matters. I have to thank my guys for that. Richard Freeman is a tremendous leader that gave us all such a great opportunity starting at Elite Motorsports in 2014. The two boys on my car are new to drag racing, and I have Conner and Declan and I’m really proud of them – to give them their first championship at Elite Motorsports. For Chase Freeman, Jake Harrison, Anthony Lum, Tim Freeman, and all the guys in the crew chief lounge, I don’t want to miss anybody. I give them the credit. It’s through God I can do all things, but it takes a team of people that are here, I couldn’t do it without them. As a little girl in a junior dragster, this was my dream, and I’ve not only been able to accomplish it once, but we’ve been able to accomplish it six times. It’s against the world, and today us won.” “I vividly remember Erica’s first win at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet in 2012,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance and Motorsports. “It’s so exciting to see her capture the sixth championship of her career today. She’s a great racer and a record-breaker. Her wins and championships are a result of her skill, hard work, dedication, preparation and teamwork. Congratulations to Erica, Richard Freeman, Elite Motorsports and the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Melling Chevrolet team.” While Enders’ day was ended early in the semifinals after losing traction early on her run facing Matt Hartford, his run of 6.529 ET at 210.64 took his GETTRX Chevrolet Camaro SS Pro Stock to the NHRA Finals to face Aaron Stanfield in his Janac Brothers Chevrolet Camaro SS Pro Stock. Getting the jump at the start, Stanfield cruised to victory over Hartford with his run of 6.534 ET at 208.91 MPH to Hartford’s 6.519 ET at 210.14 MPH. “This is a pretty nice gift,” said Stanfield. “Thank you to my wife, she’s ready to pop at home (in reference to his wife about to give birth). It’s very special to get this done at the last race. I’ve got to thank all my guys who work on my hot rod, they give me the best thing they can give me. Janac Brothers, JC3 Energy, Elite Motorsports, Melling – I just can’t do it without these guys. Thank you.” Qualifying No. 3 heading into Sunday’s In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals, Enders only needed to win the first round to lock in her sixth title, whereas second place sitting Greg Anderson, driver of the Chevrolet Camaro SS Pro Stock, was in a must-win situation in second if Enders was unable to complete Round 1. Anderson captured his third No. 1 qualifier of the 2023 season Saturday and 124th of his illustrious career, and advanced to the semifinals on Sunday after defeating Mason McGaha in Round 1 and Bo Butner, III in Round 2. Unfortunately for Anderson, his race day was also cut short after red-lighting on the starting line and falling to Aaron Stanfield. Searching for redemption after finishing runner-up in the championship standings, Robert Hight, driver of the Automobile Club of Southern California/Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car for John Force Racing, was forced to settle for second again this year after being eliminated in stunning fashion by Chad Green in Round 2. Surpassing Bob Tasca, III and entering race day 12 points behind leader Matt Hagan after qualifying No. 1, Hight and his team did the best they could to try and capture a fourth world title. “I thought I was far enough down the track that we had it made,” Hight said. “Usually, this Auto Club Chevy doesn’t spin the tires that far down. Congratulations to Matt Hagan. Those guys, they’ve won the most races this year. They’ve been on it all year. We’ve kind of been here just at the end. Proud of my Auto Club guys. We’re not going to give up; we’re going to keep digging heading into next year. You always hope that you’re here on Sunday, battling for the championship. That oil down (by Blake Alexander just after Tasca and Hagan lost), man that was the longest 15 minutes I have ever spent in a race car with all the thoughts that go through your head about ‘Can we get this done?’ I’m still proud of my team.” For teammates Hight and Austin Prock, driver of the Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster, they kicked off raced day heading in with both No. 1 qualifiers, with Hight capturing his on a 3.844 ET, 331.61 MPH pass and low-ET of the four qualifying sessions. Prock gained his second No. 1 of the season, his third of his career, after setting pace with his 3.636 ET, 332.92 MPH pass. For team owner and 16-time champion John Force, driver of the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, he faced an early exit to his NHRA Finals race day after falling to Tim Wilkerson in a close race to the finish line running 4.003 ET at 324.20 MPH to Wilkerson’s 3.956 ET at 320.81 MPH. “Well, we got knocked down in the points a few spots,” said Force. “We did the best we could with this PEAK Chevrolet. Robert Hight did the best he could with the AAA Chevy, we thought we were there, and we didn’t make it. That’s the nature of the beast. If you let that get you down, well then you aren’t ever going to make it. So, just positive thinking. We take a little break here and then get ready for next year.” For Prock’s teammate Brittany Force, driver of the Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster, she and her team looked to cap off the season at a track she grew up at with a win that could set momentum for the offseason and 2024 year. Unfortunately, her day was cut short after she was eliminated in Round 1 after smoking the tires mid-track and competitor Justin Ashley took the win light. “We finished our season seventh in points here at Pomona today,” said B. Force. “I always try to take away something, learn something from the tough years and looking at this season compared to last season, I realized it is really easy to stay positive and motivated when you’re winning and you’re leading the points like we did all last year. We didn’t do that this year, we struggled all season long. Yet, this Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac team, we carried it start to finish, there was positivity in our pits, we were motivated, and we pushed all the way to the end. We got beat first round today, but we pack up, head home for winter break and we’ll come back stronger next year.” Enders captured Chevrolet’s second championship this season in NHRA for the Bowtie brand. Aaron Stanfield, driver of the Stanfield Racing Engines Chevrolet COPO Camaro, clinched his third FlexJet Factory Stock Showdown title in Las Vegas two weeks ago during the season finale event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Finally, through the hard work and dedication of all who represent Chevrolet in Funny Car, Pro Stock, Super Stock, and Stock Eliminator classes, as well as the FlexJet Factory Stock Showdown category this season, the Bowtie brand captured their 28th Manufacturers Cup in NHRA since 1966. The award will be presented at NHRA’s annual banquet Monday, Nov. 13 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif. The 2024 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series begins March 8-10, 2023, with the NHRA Gatornationals from Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla. A broadcast schedule for the 2024 season with NHRA on FOX will be released soon.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: Austin Prock, driver of the Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist Top Fuel dragster for John Force Racing:“Definitely not the outcome we wanted for the las race of the season but so proud to be a part of this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team and what we accomplished this year,” Prock said. “I’m already looking forward to next year. We will come back stronger and smarter to make a run at a championship.”
ERICA ENDERS, driver of the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage/Melling/SCAG Chevrolet Camaro SS Pro Stock – NHRA Championship Press Conference Transcript: YOU’RE A SIX-TIME WORLD CHAMPION, TAKING THE POINTS LEAD IN ST. LOUIS, WINNING IN DALLAS AND VEGAS, AND WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP HERE IN POMONA. FIRST ROUND IN CHICAGO, YOU WERE 14TH IN THE POINTS. THEN YOU STORMED TO YOUR SIXTH TITLE. DOES THIS FEEL REAL?“No. It doesn’t. I mean, obviously, I dreamt it my entire life, even before drag racing, and of course my entire career. The season started really poorly, and it took until Chicago to figure our problem out, and then the next race was Bristol. We put our JHG/Melling Performance Chevrolet in the winner’s circle there. So that’s kind of where our season turned. It was still a dog fight, obviously. I’m four on the season on the heels of a career-best season. I’m just really thankful for the position we were in, and I talk about my guys all the time. When our backs are against the wall, we perform, we execute, and it makes me so proud to be their driver. It was a crazy year, we ended up on top, we took the long way, but we’re here.” “It’s all about teamwork, and it makes the dream work. I know that’s not a phrase I coined, but I believe in it. I’m thankful for my guys. They never give up. They don’t complain when we get our teeth kicked in like others do, they put their heads down and get to work. We turned the beacons on by doing it the right way.” IT SEEMED LIKE BRISTOL WAS THE TURNING POINT, BUT WAS THERE EVER A POINT THIS YEAR WHERE IT’S A LONG SEASON, BUT THAT WE’VE DONE A LOT, WE DOMINATED AND WON OUR FIFTH, THINKING MAYBE THIS YEAR ISN’T YOUR YEAR?“Well, yeah. I question myself too. It’s easy to get down on yourself and to doubt yourself. I’m thankful I have my sister there and my dad. They believe in me when I don’t, and my team as well. Brittany Force said it in Las Vegas that it’s easy to be positive when you’re winning, and she’s so spot on. It’s when you’re going through the really troublesome times, that you have to dig deep and you have to fight with all of the heart you have. Yeah, I questioned it. I questioned do I still have it. Am I too old? Am I this, am I that? Greg (Anderson) and I joke old guys still hunt. Look at the end of the season again this year. We do still have it, it turns out. As long as the fire is lit underneath me, I’ll dig deep to have it. I promise.” HOW HARD WAS IT FOR YOU TO GO THROUGH THE PINNACLE OF PRO STOCK, THEN FALL INTO THESE TOUGH TIMES. WAS IT TOUGHER WHEN YOU HADN’T EXPERIENCED IT?“I think going through those times make you stronger, and they make you a little bit smarter. And a lot tougher. Thick skin wasn’t something I’d had naturally, that’s something I had to acquire. But for seven years, we went winless, and for seven final rounds, we lost before we finally won one in Chicago in 2012. Going through those valleys are what made me better. I never had a car that was going to be parked in the winner’s circle. I had to rise to the occasion. It taught me to be a better driver. When we didn’t qualify, and when we lost round, I’d park it right up on the guardrail while Pro Stock was running, and I’d watch my competitors. I’d see if I could learn something from them. It’s those moments that make you better. On the heels of a career-best season last year, and coming out, we qualified No. 2 in Gainesville and then my car wouldn’t start first round. We got control-alt-deleted and then it wouldn’t even start. From that point, it was like a tailspin for seven or eight races. I mentioned it a minute ago digging deep and finding the issue. It’s definitely a gut check, and it’s not easy to go through.”   EACH OF YOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS SEEMS TO BE HIGHLIGHTED BY ONE DEFINING MOMENT. WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE YOUR MOMENT THIS YEAR?“I think the words that describe this season are tenacity and going out and executing the best we can, and not giving up. Like you mentioned, every championship has a story just like Doug (Kalitta) and Leah (Pruett) had to go through – final round, winner take all. That is what Jason Line and I did in 2014. (Matt) Hagan and I were talking about it. People don’t understand the internal pressure, and what is happening to your body. You eat an 80-gallon bucket of tums. You’re just trying not to die or throw-up. You don’t know what is going to happen. You are just living on the edge of everything. It goes to show you how much this means to each of us. It’s just another reminder that you don’t give up. I know I keep saying that, but so many times my sister says to me that I am exhausting to be around. You know you can do it. Everybody knows you can do it. Then you say, ‘oh, I can’t cut a light’ then you go up there and post a .007 or whatever. It’s digging yourself out of that ditch, and coming back and knowing that you can get it done and execute. That is what this season was about – tenacity.”
HOW QUICKLY DO YOU AND THE TEAM RESET AND FOCUS ON NEXT SEASON?“I think as soon as those rigs push the clutch in and roll out of the gate. We know what we have got to do, and we know what our competitors are going to do. We will go back to work. As soon as we get back to the shop on Tuesday, we will be at the shop working. As soon as the rigs get home, I’ve got a new car that Jeg (Coughlin, Jr.) has been driving that I have to figure out. It will be all hands on deck as soon as we get back. Unfortunately, there are no umbrella drinks beach, sand or lawn chairs in my immediate future. But that’s what makes it so fun and so great is these moments that make all of that hard work worth it.”
“I am honored to be a champion alongside the other champions, but Doug Kalitta – what an example of never-give-up. He’s been the people’s champion for years. We have joked about it at the after-parties and stuff, but he is the world champ today. To stand next to him is pretty significant when you gauge the season he had. And (Matt) Hagan, it is pretty incredible. As a kid I dreamed of these moments – I only wished and hoped I could stand next to people. I used to wait and get autographs from them, and they are heroes of mine. It’s pretty significant. I am humbled. I am very grateful, and I thank the good Lord for the many blessings because everybody wishes to live their dream. As a little girl in third grade who told the class I wanted to be a professional race car driver or a fighter pilot which I am sure they rolled their eyes. But here we are some 30 years later and I get to live it. I’m grateful.”
AARON STANFIELD, driver of the Janac Bros. Chevrolet Camaro SS Pro Stock for Elite Motorsports – In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals Winner Press Conference:
PICKING UP YOUR FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON AND EIGHTH OF YOUR CAREER AND FINISHING IN THE TOP-FIVE IN POINTS, WALK US THROUGH YOUR RACE DAY TO GET YOUR FIRST WIN HERE AT POMONA…“(My wife) told me if you’re going to go, you better win. We’ve struggled a bit this year. We’ve been waiting for that win to come, so to get it here at this last race, it’s awesome. Given everything else that’s going on in my life, it’s perfect timing.” FOLKS ALWAYS SAY AT POMONA IT MEANS SO MUCH MORE BECAUSE YOU GET TO BASK IN THIS WIN A LOT LONGER. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO ENJOY THIS WIN?“I’ll be changing diapers, for sure. Just to go into the offseason knowing you and your team did a really good job to win the last race, it definitely makes you hungry to get going again and start racing. We’ll be itching to get back in the driver’s seat and looking forward to Gainesville.” IS IT HARD FOR YOU TO BALANCE WITH SUCCESS OF FACTORY STOCK, AND THEN THE LOWS OF PRO STOCK – HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?“I’d just assume I’d want to win every time I come to the races. Unfortunately, that’s not always what happens. We had a lot of success in the Factory Stock Car, and not as much in the Pro Stock car this year, but we’ve just got to keep digging, keep pushing, and do our best. That’s what we did, and got it done today.” YOU’VE GOT A HISTORY WITH MATT HARTFORD AND WITH EDDIE, HIS CREW CHIEF. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU GOT A LITTLE TRICKY IN THAT FINAL. CAN YOU ELABORATE?“I asked him if he had it gassed up and cooled down really good. Matt (Hartford) and I, we definitely go at each other. He’s a great competitor and he’s a good friend. We do a lot of business with Total Seal, so yes, as well as Eddie (Matt’s crew chief), I remember him racing with my dad as a little guy. It’s cool to race against him and it’s always a good time beating Matt. It’s not very fun when he beats you.” YOU’VE BEEN CONSISTENT THIS SEASON, BUT THE ONLY THING MISSING WAS A WIN. WHAT DOES THIS DO MOMENTUM-WISE INTO NEXT YEAR?“I’m personally, my team and myself, were as focused as ever here to compete for championships at Elite Motorsports. Congratulations to Erica (Enders). Our team had a great day. I think we’re going to come out swinging in Gainesville. We’re looking forward to it already.” WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE 2024 SEASON?“Our plans aren’t quite sealed up just yet, but I can say they are building a Factory X car for me to race, so you’ll probably see me out there in a Factory X car next year and possibly Pro Stock, as long as everything goes good. Drag racing is an ever-changing world, and I plan on being here in Pro Stock and Factory X if everything goes right.”
Round 1 Recap:Top Fuel:No. 1 Austin Prock defeated No. 16 Ron August, Jr. with his pass of 3.898 ET at 245.76 MPH to August, Jr. facing issues on his run.No. 9 Brittany Force fell to No. 8 Justin Ashley after smoking the tires mid-track to Ashley’s 3.715 ET at 333.74 MPH. Funny Car:No. 1 Robert Hight defeated No. 16 Jeff Diehl with a run of 3.870 ET at 333.41 MPH to Diehl’s 4.035 ET at 304.25 MPH.No. 2 John Force defeated No. 15 Terry Haddock with his pass of 3.948 ET at 326.56 MPH to Haddock smoking the tires mid-track. Pro Stock:No. 1 Greg Anderson defeated No. 16 Mason McGaha with his pass of 6.501 ET at 210.77 MPH to McGaha’s 6.570 ET at 209.88 MPH.No. 8 Bo Butner, III defeated No. 9 Camrie Caruso with his run of 6.549 ET at 210.31 MPH to Caruso’s 6.541 ET at 210.11 MPH.No. 4 Troy Coughlin, Jr. defeated No. 13 Fernando Cuadra, Jr. with his run of 5.466 ET at 210.97 MPH to Cuadra Jr.’s 6.546 ET at 210.21 MPH.No. 5 Aaron Stanfield defeated No. 12 Deric Kramer with his run of 6.514 ET at 210.31 MPH to Kramer’s 6.547 ET at 210.90 MPH.No. 2 Kyle Koretsky defeated No. 15 Christian Cuadra with is run of 6.530 ET at 210.77 MPH to Cuadra’s 11.337 ET at 76.52 MPH.No. 7 Matt Hartford defeated No. 10 Dallas Glenn 6.532 ET at 210.90 MPH to Glenn’s 6.549 ET at 209.75 MPH.No. 3 Erica Enders defeated No. 14 Fernando Cuadra to claim her sixth championship with her pass of 6.502 ET at 210.80 ET to Cuadra facing issues on the run after the start.No. 6 Jeg Coughlin, Jr. defeated No. 11 Jerry Tucker after Tucker red lights to Coughlin, Jr.’s 6.522 ET at 209.56 MPH. Round 2:Top Fuel:Prock fell to Ashley on his run of 3.774 ET at 319.52 MPH to Ashley’s 3.735 ET at 330.88 MPH pass. Funny Car:Hight fell to Chad Green after facing issues on the run to Green’s pass of 3.971 ET at 322.11 MPH.Force fell to Tim Wilkerson in a close race after his lap of 4.003 ET at 324.20 MPH wasn’t enough for Wilkerson’s 3.956 ET at 320.81 MPH. Pro Stock:Hartford defeated Koretsky after Hartford ran a 6.545 ET at 211.30 MPH lap to Koretsky’s 6.550 ET at 209.85 MPH.Stanfield defeated T. Coughlin, Jr. after making his pass at 6.546 ET at 210.41 MPH to Coughlin, Jr.’s run facing issues on the track.Enders defeated J. Coughlin, Jr. after running 6.533 ET at 210.14 MPH to J. Coughlin, Jr.’s 6.557 ET at 209.92 MPH.Anderson defeated Butner, III on his run of 6.521 ET at 210.73 MPH to Butner, III’s 211.00 MPH. Semifinals:Pro Stock:Enders fell to Hartford after smoking the tires early on her run to Hartford’s 6.549 ET at 210.64 MPH.Anderson fell to Stanfield after Stanfield ran a 6.560 ET at 209.82 MPH pass to Anderson’s 6.506 ET at 210.44 MPH. Finals:Pro Stock:Stanfield defeated Hartford with his lap of 6.534 ET at 208.91 MPH to Hartford’s 6.519 ET at 210.14 MPH.