Pro Stock champs switch back to Chevrolet
After just one season with Mopar Dodge Dart racecars, Erica Enders-Stevens and Jeg Coughlin Jr. are switching back to the Chevrolet Camaro platform for 2017.
The 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season was a difficult one for two-time Pro Stock champions Elite Motorsports and Erica Enders, together with five-time Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr.
The team, which ran Chevrolet Camaro cars to win the Pro Stock titles in 2014 and ’15, changed to Mopar power and Dodge Dart racecars for 2016, well before NHRA announced new rules that would take the category to Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) for the first time and introduced a rev limit of 10,500 rpm for the class, among other adjustments.
While they did manage to reach the Countdown to the Championship for the top 10 drivers in Pro Stock, there were no victories for either driver and they finished the season ninth and tenth in the standings.
During the PRI show at Indianapolis, Richard Freeman, owner of Elite Motorsports announced that the team, which also includes 2016 race winner Vincent Nobile (driving Enders’ 2015 championship Camaro) would tackle the 2017 season with new Chevrolet Camaros from RJ Race Cars.
“Last year was a disaster for us and for me,” said Freeman. “But this team is about the people we have, the family that we are. Our deal imploded in 2016; we had a good time racing but not the success we wanted.
While Freeman realizes there’s “tough competitors out there,” he feels confident Elite Motorsports’ engine department, headed by Nick Ferri, and chassis wizards, Rick and Rickie Jones at RJ Race Cars, will get the job done.
“Erica’s car will be ready to test soon and those guys need to watch out. I didn’t say much last year but we’re hoping to talk loud and long next year,” Freeman declared.
While Coughlin called 2016 “a great transition year, running a full season after my semi-retirement,” he admitted that the results were poor.
“It wasn’t the success we were looking for,” he said, “so Richard made a transition. For Pro Stock in general, the change to EFI and the 10,500rpm gave teams quite a challenge last year.
“We couldn’t really find what we were looking for out of our ‘current’ ride so we had to make a change. It’s great to remain partners with Richard for 2017.”
Enders echoed these sentiments, stating “I’m very excited to bring back the Camaro, [the car with which she achieved both of her championships]. I’m really excited by this new opportunity with Chevrolet and I’m thankful to Richard to have Jeg and myself back for 2017.”
While Enders’ car will be ready for testing soon, Coughlin’s car won’t be completely race-ready until the pre-season test at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (near Phoenix) the week prior to the season opening Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, February 9-12.
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