July 28th, 2015 / Author: BTS
SONOMA, Calif. (July 28) — When five-time Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. dons his helmet this Friday and attempts to qualify for the 28th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals, it will be the 355th time in his illustrious career that he has gone through the procedure. But you’ll have to excuse the 58-time national event winner if he’s as giddy as a newly-minted rookie, because that’s exactly how he feels as he prepares for the first of three fill-in races with Elite Motorsports, Stockseth Racing, and Ray Skillman Chevrolet.
“This is an extremely exciting time for me,” Coughlin said. “I love Pro Stock racing, and to be returning to the class, albeit for just a three-race stint, has me very pumped up. It’s a thrill to know I’ll have the horsepower, the people, and the race car that runs right at the top of the charts.”
Coughlin and Elite Motorsports team owner Richard Freeman are longtime friends who often talk about racing together. When the opportunity for Coughlin to jump in the group’s back-up Chevrolet Camaro recently arose, the two decided to move forward with their long-simmering plans.
“I raced Richard’s Comp Eliminator ride for him back in 2006 at Indy, and we’ve always talked about racing together again. We had a good time then and we’ll have a lot of fun this time, I’m sure. Hopefully, I can pick up right where I left off last year as far as my driving goes. When you have all the other pieces in place, it comes down to the ability of the driver, so I’ll need to be ready to race.”
Although he hasn’t competed in Pro Stock this year, Coughlin still will be considered a threat to go rounds at Sonoma Raceway and potentially reach his 100th career final round. He has won at the facility two times in the past (2003 and 2010), and he’s using the same Elite Performance horsepower as reigning world champion Erica Enders, a four-time winner this season.
“You’ve got Nick Ferri and Jake Hairston over there, two of the top engine guys in motorsports,” Coughlin said. “You’ve got two guys I really respect in Rick and Rickie Jones, as well as my longtime friend Mark Ingersoll, making the tuning calls. The crew guys have shown they don’t make any mistakes. It’s just an impressive group.
“I’m really honored to be racing alongside Erica. She’s a great champion and a wonderful driver who already has a bunch of victories this year, so she’s on top of her game. I’m thankful to share the pit with her. I’ve truly joined an all-star cast, and my passion for driving again is peaking right now.”
July 22nd, 2015 / Author: BTS
Fresh off her appearance at the ESPYs, Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders is ready to kick off the Western Swing at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals this weekend at Bandimere Speedway.
Enders was nominated in the Best Driver category, with NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick winning the ESPY. Still, attending the ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and rubbing elbows with some of the best athletes in the world was a thrill.
“It was definitely a neat experience,” said Enders, who earned the nomination based on winning the 2014 Pro Stock world championship. “I’ve watched on TV in years past, so to be a part of it was pretty cool. I got to see and meet a lot of pretty famous athletes, so that was great. Of course, we wanted to win, but the NASCAR guy is hard to beat.”
Enders was able to meet NFL player Devin Still, who accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award in honor of his daughter Leah. Still gave a stirring acceptance speech that was one of the highlights of the night.
Enders now turns her attention to the three-race Western Swing, which also includes races in Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle. She’ll race the swing for the first time since 2012, as her Elite team skipped Sonoma and Seattle last year and she missed several races in 2013.
“It’ll be fun,” Enders said. “Sonoma is one of my favorite places to race at, and we’ve got a history at Seattle. Of course, the Mopars are always dominant in Denver, so we’re looking forward to trying to knock them off their rocker.”
Racing the Western Swing also means Enders and her Richard Freeman-owned team plan to compete in all 24 Pro Stock races this season, but they still are searching for sponsorship despite making the commitment to finish the season.
“Our goal is to always race all of the races,” Enders said. “It worked out OK last year, but it was definitely a nail-biter. I’m glad that we can race them all. It’s going to be a cutthroat year, for sure. Richard is going to run 15 events a year, and we do our best to fund the remaining nine. We’re not there yet, but we’re betting on it.”
July 22nd, 2015 / Author: BTS
The NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals is a milestone race for Jim Dunn Racing in 2015. Last year they missed the event, as team owner Big Jim underwent successful colon cancer surgery. Jim is now in great health and the team returns to Denver this weekend with USD, Inc. on board as their primary sponsor.
“We are grateful to be returning to Bandimere Speedway this year after being away last year,” said Jim Dunn Racing Business Manager, Jon Dunn. “The fans here in Denver are amazing and very supportive, so we decided this was the perfect race to debut our new Jim Dunn Racing: The Legend Continues T-Shirt.”
Fans can purchase the new shirt at the Modern Outlaw Apparel trailer located in the Nitro pits while attending the Mopar Mile-High Nationals this weekend.
The team will be running the USD, Inc Mopar body, which they debuted at the Phoenix race in February. (It also made a brief appearance at the NHRA Kansas Nationals, when a small crack in the ALO Drink body forced a last minute swap.) USD, Inc is the Southwest’s leading distributor of aftermarket Ford, General Motors and Chrysler original equipment parts, and has been providing top quality service to their customers for over 40 years.
While in Denver, Jim Dunn Racing will join USD employees at their offices for a lunch meet-and-greet on Thursday, and will also host more than 400 employees at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals throughout the weekend.
July 18th, 2015 / Author: BTS
Former College of Central Florida softball players continuing softball careers at The University of South Carolina, USC Spartans.
Amy Szymanowski from Florida State, Holly McKinnon and Lindsay O’Steen from the College of Central Florida. Szymanowksi will have one year of eligibility remaining, while McKinnon and O’Steen will have two.
Szymanowksi played for the Seminoles in 2015 after transferring to Florida State from the College of Central Florida where she spent the first two years of her college career. She was the Mid-Florida Conference Player of the Year and a NJCAA First Team All-American at Central Florida in 2014. McKinnon was the Mid-Florida Conference Pitcher of the Year and a NJCAA First Team All-American in 2015 after transferring to the school from South Alabama after the 2014 season. O’Steen was a Mid-Florida Conference First Team All-Conference selection in 2015.
Holly McKinnon | P | Ocala, Fla. | College of Central Florida | North Marion HS
McKinnon played a large part in the success of the College of Central Florida in 2015. She was named the Mid-Florida Conference Pitcher of the Year and a JUCO All-American in leading the Patriots to a No. 2 national ranking. She was 28-3 with a 1.08 ERA in 35 appearances and 30 starts. She also struck out 190 batters in 200 1/3 innings of work. She was a three-time state player of the week selection and was named the national player of the week one time during the season. She spent her freshman season at South Alabama where she made three starts for the Jaguars. She finished 2-1 with 15 strikeouts. She was a standout in high school and travel ball as well. She led the North Marion High School squad to two consecutive district championships as a junior and senior. She was named the Marion County Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and finished her senior season with a 21-5 record, 0.43 ERA and 260 strikeouts in 164 innings of work. She also hit .415 with nine doubles, five home runs and 37 RBIs. She played travel ball for Team North Florida and helped lead the squad to the ASA U18 national title.
Lindsay O’Steen | P/UTL | Mayo, Fla. | College of Central Florida | Lafayette HS
O’Steen turned in a solid junior college career at the College of Central Florida the past two seasons. She was a first team All-Mid-Florida Conference selection as a sophomore in 2015 after helping lead the Patriots to their first-ever conference championship and a No. 2 national ranking. She hit .298 with nine doubles, six home runs, 34 RBIs and 46 runs. She also stole 15 bases. She had a standout season as well as a freshman. She helped lead the Patriots to the championship game of the NJCAA National Tournament and earned all-tournament honors. She finished the season with a .377 batting average and hit a team-best 17 doubles to go along with six home runs, 33 RBIs, 40 runs and seven stolen bases. She was a standout athlete at Lafayette High School where she lettered five times in both softball and volleyball. She hit .450 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs as a senior in 2012. She helped lead Lafayette to the 1A state championship as a junior in 2012 and runner-up in 2013. She also was a member of the Lafayette squad that was runner-up in the 2A state tournament in 2010. She was named the Small School Athlete of the Year by the Gainesville Sun as a junior and senior and also earned several player of the year honors in volleyball. She was a standout in the classroom as a member of the Beta Club.
Amy Szymanowski | C | Land O’Lakes, Fla | Florida State | Sunlake HS
Syzmanowski comes to Upstate after spending her junior year at Florida State in 2014-15. She played in 31 games for the Seminoles, 19 as a starter at either designated player or catcher. She finished the season with three home runs, two doubles, 11 RBIs and nine runs. She had a standout junior college career at the College of Central Florida prior to enrolling at Florida State. She was a two-time NFCA All-American, earning first team honors in 2014 and second team recognition as a freshman in 2013. She was named the Catcher of the Year as a sophomore after hitting .381 with 22 home runs, 59 RBIs and 65 runs en route to leading the Patriots to the championships game of the NJCAA National Tournament. She set a national tournament record with four home runs and was named to the all-tournament team. She hit .343 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs as a freshman. She finished her career as Central Florida’s single-season and career home run leader, was a two-time first team All-Mid-Florida Conference selection and was named the player of the year in the Mid-Florida Conference in 2014. She was also a standout at Sunlake High School. She hit .468 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 14 games as a senior. In addition to playing softball, she also played volleyball, basketball and was a member of the cheerleading squad. A standout student as well, she was named the Mid-Florida Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2014 and graduated from Central Florida with honors as a Magna Cum Laude student.
June 24th, 2015 / Author: BTS
Reigning NHRA Pro Stock World Champion Erica Enders has added another accolade to her sterling résumé: an ESPY nomination.
Enders has been nominated in the Best Driver category, joining Kevin Harvick from NASCAR, Juan Pablo Montoya and Wil Power from IndyCar, and Lewis Hamilton from Formula One in the announcement Wednesday.
“Everyone always says it is an honor to be nominated for an award like this, and that is absolutely the case,” Enders said. “I am truly humbled to see my name alongside the greatest in the world, and I am honored to represent my Elite Motorsports team and NHRA at the ESPYs.”
Fans can vote for Enders for Best Driver here.
The 2015 ESPY Awards Show will be broadcast live on ABC on July 15 at 8 p.m. ET from the Nokia Theater L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Enders will attend the ceremony, which will be hosted by comedian Joel McHale.
The ESPY Awards Show brings top athletes and celebrities to recognize accomplishments in sports from the past year. Enders had a remarkable 2014, winning the Pro Stock championship in thrilling fashion in the final round of the final race.
Enders become the first female to win the title in drag racing’s ultra-competitive class, and she did it in clutch fashion, coming from behind in the points standings and winning the last two races of the season.
For her efforts in 2014, she was honored with Racer magazine’s prestigious Racer of the Year Award, beating out competitors across all forms of motorsports in. She also won the magazine’s Drag Racer of the Year honor, as well as earning All-American status from the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association.
Enders joined Elite Motorsports, owned by Richard Freeman, for the 2014 season. Led by crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones, Enders won six races and was fastest qualifier six times in 2014. She led the points standings for 15 of 24 races and set the national elapsed time (6.464 seconds) and speed record (215.55 mph) in Englishtown, N.J.
“My guys are absolutely incredible,” Enders said. “They never cease to amaze me. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. This is the first team I’ve ever worked for where we’ve had a unified front and they have my back. I’m blessed to have an incredible group of men, and the chemistry is there. It’s always a positive environment.”
The native of Houston has been racing since she was 8 years old, and she and her sister Courtney were featured in the Disney Channel movie Right on Track in 2003. She moved into the professional ranks in 2005, becoming the first female to win a Pro Stock race in 2012, at Chicago.
The voting link for Best Driver is http://espn.go.com/espys/2015/.