After leading Erica Enders to two consecutive NHRA Pro Stock championships, Elite Motorsports made the ill-advised switch from Chevrolet to Dodge affiliation – just as the category was swapping its carbureted engine induction for electronic fuel injection.
It was a choice they quickly regretted, but they still stayed with their Dodge Dart racecars for a full, 2016 season. Quickly reverting to Chevrolet Camaro racecars a year later, Elite needed seasoning time to get their ducks in a row and regain the success they’d enjoyed in their previous incarnation.
With Pro Stock teammates Jeg Coughlin Jr (3 wins) and single race-winner Enders finishing the 2018 Mello Yello season in second and fourth places respectively, and with Enders gaining traction in NHRA’s E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod series as that season went along, Elite looks poised for success in 2019, especially now that Melling Performance has committed to Enders’ Pro Stock campaign in 2019.
That’s not stopping team owner Richard Freeman from expanding his domain in the coming year, campaigning four Pro Stock entries and adding two more Pro Mod entries to Enders’ Chevy Camaro effort for the entire season. Elite Motorsports welcomed Alex Laughlin (Chevy Camaro) and Steve Matusek (Ford Mustang), as announced at last week’s PRI show in Indianapolis.
One of the more intriguing aspects of Elite’s expansion is its affiliation with Modern Racing, a venture formed by Justin Elkes, whose expertise in electronics and talent in tuning race cars is bound to help Elite’s Pro Mod operation.
Elkes started Modern Racing in 2016 after ascending the drag racing ladder with Wilson Manifolds, KB Racing, Al-Anabi Racing and Gray Motorsports.
“My expertise has always been electronics and data acquisition,” he said. In addition to his new affiliation with Elite Motorsports, Elkes’ and Modern Racing’s clientele includes Pro Stock standout Chris McGaha, Al-Anabi Racing and Pat Musi Racing engines.
Elkes and his Modern Racing enterprise are charged with construction and assembly of the three turbocharged Pro Mod Elite Motorsports entries, the 5th generation Camaros for Enders and Laughlin, together with the 2013 Mustang assigned to Matusek. In addition, Elkes’ Modern Racing enterprise will be responsible for operation of the team and for shop-based and on-site tuning of the cars and engines.
“This is extremely exciting,” Elkes said. “We’ve tried to work together for many years and it finally worked out,” he said of aligning with Freeman and his Elite operation. “This really kind of fit with the business model we’re pushing. We’ll be preparing the cars over the winter and I think what we’re going to do has a chance to be groundbreaking.
“We know we have drivers that can win races, and it’s going to be exciting to help them achieve that and watch them grow in Pro Mod.” Matusek has an extended career in the category, and his expertise as owner of Aeromotive should be instrumental in helping Enders and Laughlin up their games. “We’re putting some great pieces together and we’re looking forward to having Elite Motorsports on our client list.”
In addition to its new foray with Elite in Pro Mod, Modern Racing is expanding its on- and off-track presence in Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) racing, providing tuning, consulting, wiring and fabrication services for several teams. Elkes recently acquired a new mobile support trailer for its PDRA activities.