NHRA Story
Enders-Stevens doubles, Schumacher, DeJoria also get Las Vegas wins
Sunday, March 30, 2014


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Girl power reigned supreme when Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) raced to victories Sunday at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) also was a winner at the fourth event on the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

It was the second time that two female drivers have earned victories at the same NHRA event. In 2012, Courtney Force and Enders-Stevens made history as the first pair of females to win the same race at Pacific Raceways in Seattle.

Alexis DeJoria

Coming into her third full-time season in Funny Car, DeJoria had only appeared in one career final. The 2014 season has changed the fortunes for her Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry team when she outpaced Robert Hight with a 4.026-second pass at 309.98 mph. It’s the second win of her career following her breakthrough victory in Phoenix earlier this season, coincidentally also over Hight.

“This was definitely a grudge match [with Hight] coming off our win in Phoenix,” DeJoria said. “I was just in shock when we won there. It was gratifying and intense. Today my team gave me a good car and got me down the track first. I really appreciate them so much and all they give up to help this team go racing.”

DeJoria defeated Matt Hagan, Tony Pedregon, and Cruz Pedregon to reach her first final in Las Vegas, the home headquarters of her primary sponsor.

“It was a good day at the office, especially with the Patron Spirits company located right here in Las Vegas,” DeJoria said.

Hight, appearing in his third final to start the season, piloted his Auto Club Ford Mustang to the final with victories over Jeff Arend, Paul Lee, and Ron Capps. Hight’s second-round win over Lee was especially surprising. Many had expected Hight and 16-time Funny Car world champ John Force to face off, but Force was ousted by Lee.

DeJoria departs Las Vegas third in points and holds the most wins so far during the season. Despite losing in the final, Hight takes over the points lead.

Erica Enders-Stevens

Enders-Stevens had a successful weekend in Las Vegas, sweeping the K&N Horsepower Challenge and taking today’s Pro Stock title. After defeating Dave Connolly to win $50,000 on Saturday, Enders-Stevens took out Larry Morgan, Steve Kent, Chris McGaha, and Jason Line to secure her seventh career victory at the controls of her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro.

After struggling to find sponsorship and only being able to race a partial schedule last season, Enders-Stevens is thankful for the opportunity that team owner Richard Freeman presented her for 2014.

“I have a different mindset,” Enders-Stevens of her new attitude this year. “It goes back to the people [I’m around] — for the first time since I raced with my family as a kid, and then in the Sportsman ranks, I’m having fun again. As a driver, it adds a lot of pressure when you have the fastest car, but I like that.”

With that win, she became the third-winningest female driver in a Pro class behind only Angelle Sampey and Shirley Muldowney. She leaves Las Vegas as the Pro Stock points leader, becoming the first female in history to lead the points standings in the factory hot rod category.

“It certainly is very important to us; it keeps us going on this 24-race schedule,” said Enders-Stevens, who earned $100,000 during the weekend, which also includes a $25,000 Sweep Bonus from NHRA. “This is storybook. We’ve gone a few years without sponsorship; there were definitely more lows than highs. It would have been easy to quit. This is definitely a highlight. Next to winning a championship, this is probably the coolest thing in the world.”

Line was going for his second victory of the 2014 season and second in Las Vegas. The driver of the Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro defeated Deric Kramer, Dave Connolly, and teammate Jimmy Alund en route to the final.

Tony Schumacher

In Top Fuel, Schumacher snapped a 15-race win drought by beating points leader Doug Kalitta with a performance of 3.797 at 326.16 in his U.S. Army dragster. It was Schumacher’s 73rd career victory and his eighth in Las Vegas.

“The final round was fantastic; I could hear him the whole way,” said Schumacher, who was racing in his 126th career Top Fuel final. “It was important for us to get this win. There’s a lot of pressure early in the season to get a win and get into the [Traxxas NHRA] Shootout for a chance to race for $100,000. I love the pressure. We’re a high-pressure, adversity kind of team.”

Schumacher advanced to the final with early round wins over Troy Buff, Spencer Massey, and Antron Brown.

“I’m not angry that we hadn’t won in a long time,” Schumacher said. “I was disappointed, but I understand that you have to make leaps and bounds. Kalitta is running great, Antron is running good, the Alan Johnson [Al-Anabi] cars are going to be bad to the bone pretty soon. We have to keep forcing the issue.”

Kalitta has had the best start to the season in Top Fuel and continued that by reaching his third final of the year. With the win in Gainesville and the two runner-up finishes in Pomona and Las Vegas, Kalitta increased his points lead over Brown to 73 points.

For more news, notes, and quotes from the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, visit the NationalDragster.net event coverage (note: NHRA membership or site subscription required). Check it out here.

Related stories
Friday: Torrence, Hagan, Coughlin opening-day leaders in Las Vegas
Saturday: Brown, C. Force, Coughlin lead final Las Vegas fields
Saturday: Enders-Stevens wins $50,000 K&N Horsepower Challenge
 

2014 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
Updated 3/30/2014 (Following the fourth of 24 events; Season victories in parentheses)
TOP FUEL
Place Driver Points
1. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster (1) 412
2. Antron Brown, Indianapolis, Matco Tools dragster (1) 339
3. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contactors dragster 314
4. Tony Schumacher, Chicago, U.S. Army dragster (1) 262
5. Spencer Massey, Fort Worth, Texas, Battery Extender dragster 236
6. Khalid alBalooshi, Los Angeles, Al-Anabi Racing dragster (1) 229
7. Shawn Langdon, Indianapolis, Al-Anabi Racing dragster 223
8. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol Edge dragster 191
9. Richie Crampton, Indianapolis, GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster 157
10. Bob Vandergriff Jr., Alpharetta, Ga., C&J Energy Services dragster 150
 
FUNNY CAR
1. Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Ford Mustang (1) 367
2. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang (1) 358
3. Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry (2) 299
4. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger 241
5. Del Worsham, Chino Hills, Calif., DHL Toyota Camry 224
6. Courtney Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Traxxas Ford Mustang 207
7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Indianapolis, Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger 205
8. Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger 204
9. Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., Valvoline Max Life/MTS Dodge Charger 202
10. Bob Tasca III, Hope, R.I., Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang 194
 
PRO STOCK
1. Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro (1) 344
2. Jason Line, Mooresville, N.C., Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (1) 329
3. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Team Mopar Dodge Dart (2) 317
4. V. Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Kendall Oil Dodge Avenger 276
5t. Dave Connolly, Mooresville, N.C., Charter Chevy Camaro 267
5t. Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro 267
7. Shane Gray, Mooresville, N.C., KYMCO Chevy Camaro 237
8. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart 214
9. Chris McGaha, Odessa, Texas, Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro 191
10. Jimmy Alund, Norrkoping, Sweden, Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro 169
 
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE (following the first of 16 events)
1. Steve Johnson, Birmingham, Ala., Steve Johnson Racing Suzuki (1) 114
2. Scotty Pollacheck, Medford, Ore., Quality Tire Buell 93
3. Hector Arana Jr., Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell 81
4. John Hall, Hamden, Conn., Matt Smith Racing Buell 75
5. Michael Ray, New Braunfels, Texas, Gottspeed/Star Racing Buell 63
6. Andrew Hines, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson 62
7. Matt Smith, King, N.C., Matt Smith Racing Buell 60
8. Eddie Krawiec, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson 56
9t. Hector Arana Sr., Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell 32
9t. Adam Arana, Milltown, Ind., ProtecttheHarvest.com/MAVTV Buell 32
9t. Shawn Gann, Stoneville, N.C., Pirana Z Racing Buell 32
9t. Katie Sullivan, Corning, Calif., Tough Girl Designs Suzuki 32