Columbus, GA– After several years competing in the FFW Drag Radial class, Erica has stepped up to join the Pro 5.0 ranks with her recent move to a tube chassis Thunderbird and switch to a 500 cubic inch twin turbo program. …
In 2004, Erica Ortiz ran just a limited schedule in the Fun Ford Weekend Drag Radial class. After her runner-up finish for the championship in the class in 2003, she didn’t have many chances to defend her #2 position in the class.
She made brief appearances at Orlando, Atlanta, and Bristol before selling her beloved drag radial coupe to chase her bigger Pro Mod aspirations.[imagebrowser id=21]
Horsepower & Heels driver Erica Ortiz competes in the Drag Radial class at the Fun Ford Weekend Thunder Valley Nationals in August of 2003. The facility is one of Erica’s favorite racetracks, nestled in the mountains of Bristol, Tennessee.[imagebrowser id=22]
After pulling into a muddy Norwalk racetrack Friday afternoon, Horsepower & Heels driver Erica Ortiz unloads the car to find a leaky head gasket. The team had just replaced heads before the haul and the new sealant didn’t adhere properly. Although she missed Round 1 qualifying, Erica had the car back to running late that night.
In the morning, Ortiz lined up for 2nd round qualifying. But after violent tire shake the first 660 ft, the best she could muster was a 10.03 @ 158 mph. She headed back to the trailer to ponder how to make the car hook, and improved in the 3rd round to qualify in the #3 spot with a 9.325 @ 159.55 mph.
In Eliminations, Erica took the win with a 9.23 @ 160.30 mph against Brad Hevwagen. But in the second round, Erica lost the hook and the round against Randy Haywood, after a close pair of 9.20’s from both.[imagebrowser id=23]
After a disappointing finish in the previous race in Gainesville, the Horsepower & Heels Racing team had only 2 weeks to put together an entire new engine program for the Fun Ford Weekend Old Dominion Nationals event in Richmond, VA.
Friday’s test pass was the first time the new motor had ever been run. The maiden voyage first qualifying run on Friday yielded a 9.38 @ 158mph E.T., with driver Erica Ortiz peddling hard the bottom end of the track to maintain traction. This put Erica in the #4 spot for Saturday’s “Race within a Race” shootout event. The race within a race, sponsored by Innovative Turbo Systems matched the top 8 qualifiers from Friday’s qualifying in a shoot out ladder during Saturday’s qualifications.
Saturday morning, Erica was paired 1st round against rival racer Christina Eldert’s new coupe in a women’s racing battle. After all was said and done, Erica advanced to the 2nd round as the top female with a win on the tree and at the light. But in the 2nd round, Erica spun hard off the line again and was defeated by Norris McKay, who went on to win the shootout event and the Innovative Turbo prize money.
With a final qualifying effort of 9.21 @ 158, Erica was #4 on Sunday’s ladder for eliminations. Her first round match up paired her with Alex Vretto. Unfortunately, Erica had problems on the line spooling up and lost on a hole shot, running a quicker 9.24 to Alex’s 9.44.[imagebrowser id=24]
After a successful outing in Atlanta, Erica Ortiz would enter the Fun Ford Weekend Texas Thunder event #1 in points in the Drag Radial class. The Horsepower & Heels driver sought to maintain the points lead and improve on her string of runner up finishes.
The unbearable Baytown, Texas heat made tuning a difficult chore, but Erica gave it her best all weekend.
This race would be the finish to the previous rain-delayed FFW Spring Break Shootout event in Orlando,
After qualifying #3 with a 9.003 @ 159mph, Erica makes history as the first female in a final round in the drag radial class for Orlando’s rain-delayed final against Chris Little. The car lost traction, and Erica runners-up with a 9.90 @ 159mph.
Entering Atlanta eliminations on Sunday, Erica gets a lucky break with several competition bye runs. She ran the fastest lap of round 1 with an 8.90 @ 163 mph and becomes the first female in the 8’s on a drag radial!
Again, she reaches the Atlanta finals to face Big Daddy in an all-Innovative turbo final round. Despite a hole shot by Erica, the car again lost traction, and she could not catch him, running a 9.40 @ 153mph.[imagebrowser id=25]
The Fun Ford Weekend Spring Break Shootout event for the 2003 season was held at the Orlando Speed World Dragway. This is the Fun Ford season opening event, and for Erica Ortiz, it is a hometown event held right in the Horsepower & Heels backyard.
Erica Ortiz entered her turbocharged Mustang in the Drag Radial class for the event. But weather made the weekend a soggy one. Erica would be able to get in a few good runs, advancing to Round 2 of eliminations after defeating Frank Provenza in Round 1. Unfortunately, the event would be postponed due to rain delay and would be continued at the next race the Peach State Nationals in Commerce, GA.
Erica Ortiz debuts a new paint scheme at the NMRA Maple Grove 2002 event in Reading, PA. Her previously all-black Horsepower & Heels drag radial Mustang debuts a new, magenta-flamed paint job by Rick Doern. The pink and black livery paid tribute to her pride in representing women in racing.
Popular magazine, Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords, shot the car for a featured spread, landing Erica the cover of the November issue in a feature entitled Beauty and the Beast.
Ortiz however had a difficult race weekend, battling tire spin throughout the event. Her best performance time came during an early morning test session, where she ran a 9.51 @ 147 mph.
Plagued by tire spin and other slight technical problems, she qualified with an off-pace 10.7 @ 147 mph. Unable to sort out the problems in time, Erica fell to competitor Ty Krean in Round #1 with a 9.70 @ 148 mph.[imagebrowser id=27]