ENDERS-STEVENS LOOKING TO MAKE A LITTLE HISTORY AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX WHEN AAA TEXAS FALL NATIONALS RETURNS SEPT. 18-21

September 4, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Date) – It happened two years ago but Erica Enders-Stevens hasn’t forgotten just how close she came to winning at Texas Motorplex.

And while all trips to winner’s circle hold great meaning for the 30-year-old driver, one in her home state of Texas at the famed Motorplex would have meant just a bit more. It wasn’t meant to be, however, in the 2012 AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals when she found herself battling Allen Johnson in the finals.

“We had an electrical issue,” Enders-Stevens said. “My car shut off when I let the clutch out, so I didn’t even have a chance.”

She returns Sept. 18-21 for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, the second race in the Countdown to the Championship, determined to finally get a win at the Motorplex, which would make her the first female to win at the iconic all-concrete track in the Pro Stock class.

“It’d be really neat,” she said “I make it known everywhere I go how much I love Texas, and to be back in my home state in front of friends and family is very exciting. It would be so cool to win there – and I really want to get that cowboy hat (given to all Motorplex winners).”

Enders-Stevens, who has four wins this season, now has 10 career victories, making her only the third woman in NHRA history, along with the legendary Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey, to ever reach double digit professional wins. She clinched a spot in the Countdown to the Championship, having secured it back in July.

How important is a good run at Texas Motorplex if she’s to become the first woman to ever win an NHRA Pro Stock championship?

“It’s crucial to get off on the right foot at Charlotte and Dallas, the first two races in the Countdown,” she said. “We’ve got to have all our ducks in a row and come out swinging. I’m really confident in our team and I’m hopeful that this is our year.

 

“It’s going to take consistency (to win at the Motorplex). We’ve got to be able to get down a hot, tricky racetrack. It’s going to be absolutely critical to have our setup right and making sure our car is going straight. As a driver, I’ve got to stay on top of the wheel and keep the car in the groove.”

Enders-Stevens knows this is the best opportunity of her career to win a championship. And for the driver who’s been racing since she was 8 years old, finally reaching that pinnacle would be a culmination of a lot of years of hard work and a lot of dreaming.

“You wouldn’t be able to catch me because I’d be running and jumping around everywhere” said Enders-Stevens, envisioning her reaction to snagging a title. “It’s what every driver dreams of and works for, and there’s such a small list of champions in NHRA. And to be the first female champion in Pro Stock would be huge. Shirley Muldowney won the Top Fuel championship the year before I was born, and Angelle Sampey won a couple Pro Stock Motorcycle titles.

“But it would be awesome. It would just show that all of our hard work and determination paid off. It would show that perseverance and never giving up, even when the chips are down, pays off. This is my best opportunity to do it. I’ve got the team, I’ve got the car.”

Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are still available, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5.   For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.

The first ever PreStage Fan Fest in Downtown Ennis will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17 between 5-10 p.m. with food trucks, music, driver appearances and more.

Gates open for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 19 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 20, is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Gates open at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.

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TEXAS MOTORPLEX HOLDS SPECIAL PLACE IN HEARTS OF DRIVERS

September 3, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (September 3, 2014) – The very first time the legendary Don “The Snake” Prudhomme laid eyes on Texas Motorplex he declared “It was like a field of dreams.”

That was 1986, the first year the all-concrete marvel was introduced to the world of NHRA competition, and while that was 28 years ago, the Motorplex continues to hold a special place in the hearts of competitors.  Even more so, now that it’s the second race in the Countdown to the Championship.

When the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, slated for Sept. 18-21, gets under way, they’ll all be aiming to snag the cowboy hat awarded to winners, along with a Wally trophy from NHRA, but they’ll also be battling hard for bragging rights.

“Getting a win at Texas Motorplex is special,” said Antron Brown, who claimed a Top Fuel win here in 2012. “It’s a tough place to win but when you get that cowboy hat and you get your name and your team’s name on that brick (permanently in Winner’s Circle) and you know it’ll be there forever, you’re making a little bit of history.”

Jeg Coughlin Jr., the defending AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals Pro Stock winner, agrees about how special the bricks are at the Motorplex.

“My best memory of Texas Motorplex was coming back and seeing my name on those famous bricks,” he said.  “That meant everything to me. And I always looked up to (owner) Billy Meyer when I was a kid. He was always fantastic and when he built the Motorplex it was second to none.

“And he’s done a fantastic job maintaining it and continuing that heritage. NHRA really looks forward to featuring one of its Countdown races there – there’s a lot on the line and that place always delivers.”

Seven-time Texas Motorplex winner and 16-time Funny Car champ John Force, who was in the finals a year ago, looks forward to conquering the dragway for an eighth time.

The 65-year-old Force hasn’t won at the Motorplex since 2005. The track was also the scene of the worst accident of Force’s career in 2007. After coming so close a year ago, he’s more than ready to get back into winner’s circle in Ennis.

“I am going to win at the Texas Motorplex before I retire – I am going to get back into winner’s circle,” Force said. “The Texas Motorplex has always been one of my favorite tracks and I want to do well there.

“I like the all-concrete track and it’s the second race of the Countdown. That’s an important race to do well if you want to run for the Mello Yello Funny Car championship.”

Tony Schumacher, who has five wins at Texas Motorplex, including the first of his Top Fuel career, says a win at the Motorplex is vital to any driver’s chances of winning the Countdown to the Championship.

“The fact that there’s only four races left after we leave the Motorplex makes that race more critical now than it ever has been,” said the seven-time world champion. “That’s when you’re starting to get into crunch time. It’s in the four-in-a-row and we still have a few races to go but if you can win that race you can build on the momentum that your team needs to go out and win the championship.”

One driver who would dearly love to get a win at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals is Texas native Spencer Massey. The 31-year-old Massey made it to the Top Fuel finals in both 2011 and 2012 before losing.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid, dreaming of driving Top Fuel here,” said Massey, who won a number of events at the Motorplex when he raced in Jr. Dragsters and the Sportsman Super Comp class. “I still remember seeing Top Fuel dragsters here for the first time; that’s when I got hooked on drag racing.

“I’ve come so close to winning that Wally here and I really want that special cowboy hat they give the winner. It would mean a lot to me to finally get a win at Texas Motorplex.”

Another Texas native, Michael Ray, finally got to experience victory when he won the 2012 Pro Stock Motorcycle event at the Motorplex.

“It’s just always been a special place for me with it being my home track,” he said. “It was just so special winning at home. It was unbelievable. Boy, what a roller coaster of emotions that was and it was so awesome.

I could race at Texas Motorplex every single weekend – it’s an awesome place.”

Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are still available, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5.   For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.

The first ever PreStage Fan Fest in Downtown Ennis will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17 between 5-10 p.m. with food trucks, music, driver appearances and more.

Gates open for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 19 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 20, is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Gates open at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.

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Jason Line Talks About His Experience at Texas Motorplex and Winning One of the Coveted Cowboy Hats

September 2, 2014 by  
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Jason Line Talks About His Experience at Texas Motorplex and Winning One of the Coveted Cowboy Hats

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SCHUMACHER, BROWN RECALL GETTING FIRST NHRA WIN AT MOTORPLEX

September 1, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 1, 2014) – Ask an NHRA driver to name his or her favorite track and more often then not they’ll mention the place they’ve had the most success.

The other factor that makes a particular dragway a favorite with the drivers is if he or she managed to snare their first NHRA win there. When it comes to Texas Motorplex, that’s the case for several drivers, including Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown and Bob Vandergriff, just to name a few.

When the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, the second of six races in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship, takes place at the famed all-concrete track Sept. 18-21, there’s not a chance Schumacher won’t remember his 1999 Top Fuel victory.

“Hey, it was my first win ever and that says it all,” said the seven-time NHRA Top Fuel champion who owns five wins at the Motorplex, the most by any driver in that class. “I went in there with the points lead and I was unheard of – a nobody at the time.

“And I remember that I was losing. Scott Kalitta was pulling ahead of me and then his car just disappeared and I remember thinking ‘Are you kidding me? Am I going to win this after nine finals?’ And we did. It was incredibly gratifying and one of the catapults that helped us hold on to win my first championship.”

Needless to say, returning to the Motorplex every year is something Schumacher, who has 74 wins to his credit, anxiously anticipates.

“That’s just been a great race for me,” he said. “I’ve won a lot of important races there when I’ve had to over the years. We’ve always run well there and it has a lot of meaning to me.”

Schumacher’s first win at Texas Motorplex just happened to come the same year that Antron Brown, now a teammate, won too.  Brown, a Top Fuel competitor who scored a win at the 2012 AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, was actually a winner in Ennis long before Schumacher, in the spring 1999 Nationals at the Motorplex, when he was riding a Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Fifteen years have passed since that initial trip to winner’s circle but it was definitely a big moment for Brown, the 2012 Top Fuel champ.

“When you win at the Motorplex, you’re definitely staking your claim to history,” he said. “And I remember I won that race…everyone red-lit against me. They were scared!”

Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are available now, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5.   For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.

The first ever PreStage Fan Fest in Downtown Ennis will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17 between 5-10 p.m. with food trucks, music, driver appearances and more.

Gates open for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 19 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 20, is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Gates open at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.

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GAS MONKEY GARAGE JOINS HENNEN MOTORSPORTS TOP FUEL TEAM AS SPONSOR FOR AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS

August 28, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 1, 2014) – Dallas-based Gas Monkey Garage, owned by well-known television star of Discovery Channel’s Fast n- Loud, Richard Rawlings, will sponsor the Hennen Motorsports Top Fuel team at the upcoming AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at iconic Texas Motorplex Sept. 18-21.

The AAA Texas Fall Nationals, the second event in the six-race Countdown to the Championship, will be the debut event for the Gas Monkey Garage ride, driven by Texan Kebin Kinsley and tuned by John Smith.

Rawlings, a self-described gear head who loves the extreme horsepower and unmatched excitement of NHRA drag racing, is thrilled to be joining forces with Hennen, both of whom are looking forward to developing a rewarding and successful partnership.

“I’m really stoked to be involved with Roger Hennen Motorsports and NHRA Championship Drag Racing,” Rawlings said. “We’re going to do this Gas Monkey Garage style so you know it will rock!  Top Fuel is the elite class in drag racing and we’re anxious to hit the strip with the kings of the sport. Look out Dallas, here we come!”

Gas Monkey Garage has become a household name for automotive enthusiasts across the country and worldwide, specializing in the restoration and customization of just about anything that has an engine and wheels.

Rawlings, along with Aaron Kaufman, has managed to build quite an impressive following, not just because of the duo’s remarkable mechanical skills but also because of their creativity and comedic talents that have earned them a worldwide fan base.

Thanks to this new partnership, Rawlings, who often makes commercial appearances and is featured on television shows, and also is now in the restaurant business, will be seen frequently at NHRA events, running with the kings of the sport in the Top Fuel ranks under Hennen Motorsports.

They say everything is bigger in Texas and this partnership is no different as Rawlings and Hennen have big plans for the future. The focus, however, will remain on the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals as the team anxiously anticipates their Top Fuel debut in a few weeks.

The plan is to play spoiler to the Countdown to the Championship contenders by running hard and going rounds.  Fans can get a sneak peak at the Gas Monkey Garage Top Fuel Dragster at the Pre-Stage Fan Fest on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

The Pre-Stage Fan Fest, which is free, takes place from 5-10 p.m.  Streets in the N. Dallas/Knox area will be blocked off so fans will be able to take full advantage of all the activities, which include music, food trucks and plenty of NHRA professional and sportsman cars. Fans also will have the opportunity to meet drivers and get autographs.

Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are still available, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5.   For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.

The first ever PreStage Fan Fest in Downtown Ennis will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17 between 5-10 p.m. with food trucks, music, driver appearances and more.

Gates open for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 19 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 20, is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Gates open at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.

For more information on the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals visit www.texasmotorplex.com and be sure to check out Gas Monkey Garage online at www.gasmonkeygarage.com.

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or 1-800-MOTORPLEX (1-800-668-6775)