NHRA: Erica Enders shifts into high gear for 2nd Pro Stock title bid

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When someone yells “You go, girl,” Erica Enders typically does – at over 200 mph.

After a slow start to the season, the defending NHRA Pro Stock champion is once again one of the hottest drivers on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Enders became the first female driver to ever win a Pro Stock championship last season, going to victory lane six times along the way.

Coming off her win at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway this past Sunday, Enders is already way ahead of last season’s pace: her win at Bristol is Enders’ fourth in the season’s first 11 races, with 13 more races still to go.

“Everything’s been clicking for us,” Enders said. “We even switched to a new car a few races back but really didn’t miss a beat. In fact, we got even better.

“It speaks to the quality of work these guys put in every day. We expect the best from each other and they deliver it time after time.

“Our team owner, Richard Freeman, is really good at getting the best out of people and that attitude spreads throughout the team. We’re not cocky; we just know what we’re capable of, and we feel a huge responsibility to prove ourselves every weekend.”

Bristol was a big win for Enders, perhaps bigger than usual. She came into the race 70 points behind Greg Anderson.

She left Bristol with a 14-point edge over Anderson, an 84-point swing that put her back on top of the Pro Stock point standings. That was a great way for Enders and her team to go into the upcoming off-weekend.

If Enders and her Chevrolet Camaro continue the pace of wins they’ve already collected together this season at Las Vegas, Houston, Topeka and Bristol, Enders could be on-track to win eight, maybe nine races by the time this season comes to an end.

“I’m with a team that takes great care of me, and we have a blast together,” Enders said. Every challenging moment was worth it to get where I am now at Elite Motorsports.”

In addition to Freeman, credit must also be given to the father-son crew chief pairing of Rick and Rickie Jones. Their proficiency in dialing in Enders’ car has been near-uncanny: she’s suffered just two first-round losses this season and has qualified seventh or better in 10 of the first 11 races.

“(My team) are the best guys out here, and I have complete faith in them all,” Enders said. “… Our heads are held high.”

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Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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