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2015 K&N NHRA Horsepower Challenge Sweepstakes TRD Toyota Tacoma Winner

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David Mangrum of Houma, Louisiana and Frank Savarese shake hands before their drivers Jason Line and Erica Enders-Stevens face off

David Mangrum of Houma, Louisiana and Frank Savarese shake hands before their drivers Jason Line and Erica Enders-Stevens face off in the 2015 Horsepower Challenge semi finals

Eight 2015 NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge sweepstakes finalists were randomly paired with professional NHRA Pro-Stock drivers

Eight 2015 NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge sweepstakes finalists were randomly paired with professional NHRA Pro-Stock drivers who earned their way into the Horsepower Challenge

For the last six years K&N air filters has run a sweepstakes in which eight finalists are chosen at random and awarded a Prize Trip Package to include travel expenses and hotel accommodations for two in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the event each finalist is randomly paired with one of the eight K&N NHRA Horsepower Challenge professional NHRA Pro-Stock drivers. A grand prize winner is determined based upon the finalist who is paired with the professional NHRA Pro-Stock driver that finishes first in the K&N NHRA Horsepower Challenge. The eight finalists selected for the 2015 K&N NHRA Horsepower Challenge Sweepstakes came from all around the country to try their luck at winning the 2015 K&N NHRA Horsepower Challenge edition Toyota Tacoma equipped with genuine TRD parts.

The eight 2015 finalists were randomly paired with professional NHRA Pro-Stock drivers who earned their way into the 2015 K&N NHRA Horsepower Challenge. James Conner of Cocoa, Florida was feeling pretty good about his chances of winning the Tacoma after being paired with number one qualifier Shane Gray. David Mangrum of Houma, Louisiana found himself paired with number 2 qualifier Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro Pro Stock driver Jason Line. Number 3 qualifier and 2014 NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge champion Erica Enders-Stevens was matched with Frank Savarese of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Donald Neufeld selected Allen Johnson; Chris Skram was paired with Vincent Nobile, and Erwin “Dan” Michael of Leander, Texas partnered up with Chris McGaha. Alicia Burton-Palmer, a mother of six from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma was paired with number 7 qualifier Jonathan Gray. Professional NHRA Pro-Stock driver V. Gaines was selected by fan vote to fill the 8th spot in the 2015 NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge. Gaines, who promised to donate the $50,000 purse to the Wounded Warriors Project, teamed up with Wayne Reid who had recently moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chris Skram and Frank Savarese watched Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders-Stevens line up for the final time

Positioned at the end of the track Chris Skram and Frank Savarese watched Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders-Stevens line up for the final time via a remote television screen

The pain of waiting ended seconds later as Frank Savarese witnessed Erica-Enders Stevens cross the finish line ahead of Vincent Nobile

The pain of waiting ended seconds later as Frank Savarese witnessed Erica-Enders Stevens cross the finish line ahead of Vincent Nobile in his NAPA Auto Parts Chevy Camaro Pro-Stock car

The 2015 NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge was officially underway following an on-track ceremony presenting the NHRA Horsepower Challenge drivers and sweepstakes finalists to the audience watching from the stands. The winning driver and new owner of the TRD parts equipped Toyota Tacoma would be decided in just three rounds. The first round of eliminations saw Shane Gray lined up against V. Gaines, Allen Johnson taking on Vincent Nobile, Jason Line Vs. Jonathan Gray, and last, but not least, Erica Enders-Stevens battling Chris McGaha. Shane Gray, Vincent Nobile, Jason Line, and Erica Enders-Stevens were successful in the first round and would proceed to the semi-finals.

Wayne Reid, a tow truck owner/operator who recently moved to Las Vegas, Nevada was out of contention when his driver V. Gaines was eliminated. Wayne had found out about the 2015 NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge through Facebook and was excited to have been a finalist paired with the underdog V. Gaines. Donald Neufeld was pleased with how well organized the sweepstakes was despite having been eliminated in the first round when his driver, Allen Johnson, lost to Vincent Nobile. Alicia Burton-Palmer and her husband were pleased just to have won a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. This was only the second time the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma couple had been on vacation without their children in 19 years. Chris McGaha was also eliminated in the first round but his partnered finalist the man with three first names Erwin “Dan” Michael from Leander, Texas, wasn’t upset. Since the moment Dan got a cell phone call while at the grocery store telling him he was a finalist, Dan had been walking on cloud nine.

Frank Savarese and Erica Ender-Stevens traded a hug as she stepped out of the car following her second NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge victory

Frank Savarese and Erica Ender-Stevens traded a hug as she stepped out of the car following her second NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge victory

The K&N crew was on hand to congratulate Erica Enders-Stevens with a check for $50,000

The K&N crew was on hand to congratulate Erica Enders-Stevens with a check for $50,000 and her second NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge trophy

There was a lull of approximately three hours between the NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge first round of eliminations and the semi-finals. As the finalists waited, the excitement grew and so did their nerves. One finalist jokingly asked the others if they had a pair of adult diapers he could have. James Conner of Cocoa, Florida and Chris Skram of Aurora, Colorado were perfect strangers before the 2015 NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge. The two finalists had formed a friendship during the course of the event and according to James Conner their new friendship would be “tested” as their drivers were going head to head in the Semis. Chris Skram, still in awe of the whole event couldn’t think of a better way to describe his feelings about the race other than “Cool”. David Mangrum was calm and collected knowing that his driver, Jason Line, was going to face 2014 K&N NHRA Horsepower Challenge winner and reigning National Champion Erica Enders-Stevens. David’s wife Patti wasn’t holding up nearly as well. Frank Savarese and his girlfriend Karen were nervous, but found comfort in being paired up with Erica Enders-Stevens.

At around 4 pm the finalists were once again trackside for the 2015 NHRA Horsepower Challenge semi-finals. Both pairs of finalists stood atop a platform right behind the starting line with possibly the best view of the race. New friends James Conner and Chris Skram shook hands before their race, and despite Vincent Nobile eliminating Shane Gray, the two finalists remained on good terms. David Mangrum, who remained cool as a cucumber, watched as Erica Enders-Stevens got the win over Jason Line and took Frank Savarese to the finals with her. It’s probably a good thing the final round of the 2015 NHRA Horsepower Challenge was held less than an hour after the semi-finals. With little time to spare the K&N crew and the remaining finalist rushed down to the end of the track to await their drivers post haste. Both remaining finalists were visibly nervous and even their guests were figuratively shaking in their boots. At one point Chris’ wife Alice and Frank’s girlfriend Karen were seen rocking back and forth next to each other.

Erica Enders-Stevens hopped out of Elite Motorsports Chevrolet and received praise from all around

Erica Enders-Stevens hopped out of Elite Motorsports Chevrolet and received praise from all around including her opponent Vincent Nobile

Fans cheered as Elite Motorsports team members, K&N reps, and the winner of a new TRD equipped Toyota Tacoma, made the trip down return road

Fans cheered as Elite Motorsports team members, K&N representatives, and Frank Savarese, the winner of a new TRD equipped Toyota Tacoma, made the trip down return road

Positioned at the end of the track Chris Skram and Frank Savarese watched Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders-Stevens line up for the final time via a remote television screen. Both contestants had an excellent chance of going home with a new Toyota Tacoma, but it was also painful knowing they had a equally good chance of going home empty handed. The agony of waiting ended about 6.5 seconds later as Frank Savarese watched Erica-Enders Stevens cross the finish line ahead of Vincent Nobile in the NAPA Auto Parts Chevy Camaro Pro-Stock car. Emotions were high when Enders-Stevens stopped her car at the top of the track. She hopped out of Elite Motorsports Chevrolet and received praise from all around including Vincent Nobile. Frank Savarese and Erica Ender-Stevens traded a hug as she stepped out of the car and the K&N crew was on hand to congratulate her with a check for $50,000 and her second NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge trophy.

Fans cheered as the procession of Elite Motorsports team members, K&N representatives, and Frank Savarese, the winner of a new Toyota Tacoma, made the trip down return road. Enders-Stevens and the Elite Motorsports crew were all smiles as they posed for photos in Victory Lane. Frank was overwhelmed by all the excitement and couldn’t help but wear a grin spanning from one ear to the other. When asked how he and his girlfriend Karen would celebrate, Frank said they were going gambling before their luck ran out. This was Karen’s first trip to Las Vegas, Nevada and according to Frank “she is going to think this happens every time you come to Vegas.” Enders-Stevens had a well-rounded weekend, doubling up on victories by winning the SummitRacing.com Nationals on Sunday and the NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge. She is the first driver to sweep both events in consecutive seasons since Bob Glidden accomplished the feat in 1987 and 1988. She pocketed $50,000 for winning the specialty event and an extra $25,000 for doubling up.

Frank Savarese was overwhelmed by all the excitement of winning a new TRD equipped Toyota Tacoma

Frank Savarese was overwhelmed by all the excitement of winning a new TRD equipped Toyota Tacoma and couldn’t help but wear a grin spanning from one ear to the other

Erica Enders-Stevens and the Elite Motorsports crew were all smiles as they posed for photos in Victory Lane

Erica Enders-Stevens and the Elite Motorsports crew were all smiles as they posed for photos in Victory Lane following her back to back NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge wins

Caitlin Clement, Series and Track Support Manager for K&N Engineering, was pleased with the event and outcome as well. “K&N’s involvement with the Horsepower Challenge has been a tremendous experience,” said Clement. “K&N is proud to be a part of this unique, specialty race. The combination of the ultimate Pro Stock shootout and an incredible fan experience makes this such a great event. Without our friends over at Toyota Racing, this would not be the once-in-a-lifetime experience that it is. We’d like to thank Toyota Racing for providing the 2015 K&N Horsepower Challenge Toyota Tacoma, a truly special truck that any fan would be lucky to own."

"We want to commend all eight drivers for putting on a great show and congratulate Erica Enders-Stevens on her second win. Erica will certainly enjoy her bragging rights and Frank will undoubtedly enjoy cruising around like a celebrity in that beautiful Toyota Tacoma. All in all, the 2015 K&N Horsepower Challenge was a phenomenal event, and we are already working to make next year’s edition even better.”

K&N Engineering, Inc. is the world's leader in reusable air filters. K&N High flow reusable air filters, High performance air intake systems and premium oil filters are available at most retailers and directly from K&N. K&N is heavily involved in nearly every form of motorsports such as off-road and powersports, drag racing, stock cars and road racing. For more information about K&N Filters, please visit www.knfilters.com.


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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.