Saturday, 09 December 2023

Brittany Force, Erica Enders claim NHRA titles for Team Chevy Featured

Posted On Saturday, 19 November 2022 01:59 Written by
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Erica Enders was officially crowned Pro Stock champion for the fifth time in her Camaro SS Erica Enders was officially crowned Pro Stock champion for the fifth time in her Camaro SS Photo courtesy of Team Chevy

Brittany Force put a big Bowtie stamp on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season in the Auto Club NHRA Finals.

Force, driving the Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet dragster, earned her second Top Fuel world championship in the season finale at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona to become the fourth female in NHRA professional ranks to win multiple titles. 

"I want people to remember this day here in Pomona with this Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac team -- David Grubnic, Mac Savage, every single one of my guys," said Force, who also joined three-time champion Shirley Muldowney as the only female multiple titleholders in Top Fuel. "We have been working all season long, we never gave up, and then we struggled in the Countdown and we recovered when we needed to in Vegas and win it here today in Pomona.

“I have to thank every single one of my guys and our sponsors. We wouldn't be here without them today, and I'm just so proud of everybody. It just seems surreal right now. I can't believe it ended up this way.”

Force joined Erica Enders as Chevrolet champions in the pro ranks in 2022. Enders, driver of the Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS, clinched the Pro Stock title two weeks earlier at Las Vegas – a pivotal event Force won to set up her championship chase.

“This year Brittany capitalized on momentum coming out of Las Vegas and her and her team rose to the occasion with speed at the right times all weekend long,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president, Performance and Motorsports. “We knew it would come down to the last race. When the pressure was on, Brittany and her team delivered in true championship form. It’s great to see Brittany in the Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac John Force Racing team clinch their second championship. We’re proud to race with them.”

Force’s victory in Las Vegas marked a career best fifth win for the 2013 rookie of the year. She won four events when she claimed the championship in 2017 to become the second woman to win in the premier division and the first to do so in 35 years.

In the season finale, Force claimed her 10th No. 1 qualifier in 22 races and 42nd of her career to pad her advantage over her closest pursuer, Justin Ashley, from seven to 26 points entering race day. She also reset the national Top Fuel speed record at 338.94 mph in qualifications. Ashley’s early exit in eliminations handed Force the title.

Force lost to John Force Racing teammate Austin Prock, driving the Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet dragster, in the semifinals. Prock went on to win his second race of the season with a personal-best run of 3.641 seconds.

Enders earned her fifth Pro Stock title, tying Greg Anderson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. for third on the all-time list. Bob Glidden with 10 is the leader and Warren Johnson is second with six.

“As a kid with big dreams, this makes me want to pinch myself,” said Enders, who also won titles with Chevrolet in 2014, ’15, ’19 and ‘20. “We have worked really hard to get here and we’ve sacrificed a lot. It’s nice to see all of those sacrifices paid off. I’m a blessed girl.

“I go back to the seven years that I drove Pro Stock without a win and just how challenging those years were. Driving for teams that we knew when we pulled on property that we weren’t going to qualify unless somebody broke or hit the wall or something. It was all of those valleys that make these peaks so enjoyable because when you’re going through that stuff, the view of the top where you want to be seems so distant so it’s just a testament to never give up and to do your best and surround yourself with the right people and that’s what I have at Elite Motorsports.”

Enders, seeking her 11th victory in 19 races, was runner-up to Anderson in the final. Anderson, driving the Camaro SS, won for the 101st time in his Pro Stock career and gave KB Racing team owner Ken Black a retirement Wally.

“This weekend is really for Ken Black; we want to celebrate him in every way we can, and it's been a joyous weekend,” said Anderson, who has recorded 101 of Black’s 176 Pro Stock wins.

Camrie Caruso, driver of the Powerbuilt Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS in Pro Stock, was voted the NHRA Rookie of the Year. 

“We achieved so many of my goals this season from qualifying No. 1 to getting to a final round to qualifying at every national event,” she said. “We didn’t check all the boxes, but I am very thankful. The competition is so tough out here and to be recognized as the Rookie of the Year is a tremendous honor. Every race this season I feel like we got better, and I am excited to get back on track next season.”

Robert Hight came up short in his bid for his fourth Funny Car championship when the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS lost traction early in his quarterfinal round matchup. Hight, who topped the Funny Car standings after all but six races, led the class with a career-high eight victories this season.

Sixteen-time Funny Car champion John Force, driving the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS, lost in the quarterfinals in the 118th career meeting with Cruz Pedregon.

Tim Seymour of San Dimas, California, drove his Chevrolet COPO Camaro to a runner-up finish in Super Stock. 

Last month, Chevrolet also won the Constant Aviation NHRA Factory Stock Showdown championship for the third consecutive year as David Barton of Reading, Pennsylvania, drove his Chevrolet COPO Camaro to the title for the second time (2017). Aaron Stanfield won in 2020 and ’21. Barton won the events at Bristol, Indianapolis and Reading in the eight-race series. Len Lottig (Gainesville) and Stanfield (Dallas) also drove their COPO Camaros to victory.

The 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season begins March 10-12 with the 54th Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Florida. FOX will telecast eliminations live at noon ET Sunday, March 12.

— Press release courtesy of Team Chevy

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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