WYNNEWOOD, Okla. — Elite Motorsports has announced a flurry of changes within the organization ahead of next year’s NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.
Despite this season ending only 22 days ago, team owner Richard Freeman and the organization have been hard at work.
“We have some of the best true partners in motorsports,” said Freeman. “We’ve worked hard to develop deep relationships and an understanding of each partner’s individual goals and objectives for being involved with our organization.
“We have a powerful lineup of drivers and the talented individuals outside of the car are equally as strong. To have Jason Johnson and the group at Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage be a major partner in our program and continue to grow their involvement around our team speaks volumes about how our team operates.”
While the team is making some big changes in a few areas, they also know better than to mess with success. Six-time Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders will continue to pilot the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage / Melling Performance Camaro while her teammate Troy Coughlin Jr. will once again sit behind the wheel of the JEGS / White Castle machine.
Drag racing fan favorite Bo Butner is slated to be one member of a two-car Mountain Motor Pro Stock team starting next year with backing from the NHRA class sponsor, Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage. The other driver will be named at a later date.
Two-time NHRA world champion, 27-time NHRA national event winner, four-time divisional champion and bracket racing standout Butner will also transition to the role of Director of Team Development for Elite Motorsports.
“This new position will help foster new talent in and out of the car. Having won NHRA events in 6 different categories and numerous bracket races Bo is a perfect fit to help and head up this effort. We are in this for the long haul,” said Freeman.
Aaron Stanfield will drive the second Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage NHRA Pro Stock entry. This effort will continue to have support from longtime supporters Janac Brothers Racing and JC3 Energy Services. In addition, Melling has grown their involvement with Stanfield throughout the Countdown to the Championship to an associate level for the coming season.
Coughlin Jr.’s Return
In one of the most highly anticipated additions for the 2024 season, drag racing veteran and legend Jeg Coughlin Jr. will return to Pro Stock full-time with backing from SCAG Power Equipment.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Jeg Coughlin Jr. return to the seat of a Pro Stock car at Elite Motorsports,” said Freeman. “SCAG Power Equipment came on board for the last two events of the 2023 NHRA season to put Jeg behind the wheel of Erica’s new car to break it in during real competition. SCAG Power Equipment is another of our partners that share the same values we share.
“Jeg is a great fit for SCAG and seeing him interact with dealers in Vegas at and away from the track only proved what a great ambassador to a brand he can be. In addition, Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer will also play a major role in his return.”
The Rookie Is Back
This year’s rookie of the year nominee Jerry Tucker will return to the team with continued support from Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer.
“I’m excited to return in 2024 and pick up where we left off,” said Tucker. “I learned a lot during my rookie year and I now have the confidence that can only be gained by getting close to 100 laps under my belt.
“This season we are going to ramp up the intensity across the board. Having Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer on the car for a full season is going to be clean, crisp and crushable.”
The Cuadra family will also return with support from Corral Boots and Cuadra brands for a four-car effort in NHRA’s most competitive professional class. Fernando Cuadra Sr. and his three boys Fernando Jr., Cristian and David are set to compete.
“Working with Fernando Sr., his boys and everyone back in Leon, Mexico has been great,” stated Freeman. “Racing as a family is what it’s all about and we have seen tremendous growth in the on-track performance. There are plenty of wins on the horizon for this talented family of drivers.”
CTech Manufacturing will have a more visible and engaged role in the Elite Motorsports program. Beginning next year, CTech Manufacturing will become the Official Tool Storage Provider for Elite Motorsports.
“We’re incredibly proud to have CTech Manufacturing named the Official Tool Storage Provider of Elite Motorsports heading into the 2024 racing season,” said Mike Greenheck, Vice President of CTech Manufacturing. “As a longtime supporter, it’s a pleasure to see the team continue to succeed at the highest level of NHRA competition. We are confident CTech’s aluminum cabinets, carts and drawers will keep the teams efficient and organized between rounds, helping them focus on what they do best: winning.”
Melling Performance and Melling Engine Parts have been involved with Enders for a number of years and will continue to support her through all of her endeavors with Elite. This relationship has grown within the team at Elite Motorsports to include the Melling brands in a more comprehensive manner across the entire Elite fleet of powerful race cars.
“What a blessing it’s been to ride with Erica the past seven seasons,” said Mark Melling, CEO of Melling Engine Parts. “We really enjoyed our involvement with Aaron last year as well. We look forward to 2024 with fingers crossed there will be a fifth championship in pro stock with Melling’s involvement!”