ORANJESTAD, ARUBA — From start to finish the 2013 season gave reason to celebrate for the Aruba.com/Alltel Wireless Extreme Pro Stock Team.
The team entered their sixth professional racing season with renewed vigor and energy. And it showed. They began the year with a semifinal finish at the ADRL season opener in Rockingham, N.C. They built upon that at the next event, the Georgia Drags, scoring their first ever number one qualifying position. Unfortunately, that race would be cancelled due to weather, but Team Aruba continued on undeterred.
They earned their chance to defend their number one spot by going to the top once again at the Spring Drags. With weather cooperation this time, Team Aruba was determined to defend the number one, and that’s exactly what they did. Round by round, they took out a host of heavy hitters en route to their first Extreme Pro Stock victory. With this incredible season, the underdog team from Aruba was on a path of total domination, taking an early points lead.
“For us all the stars lined up at Cordova [Illinois],” relayed driver Trevor Eman. “Not only did we capture our first victory, but we were able to do it with friends and family watching. It’s not often that our friends and family get to come to the events, but we had many supporting us at the Spring Drags, including Aruba’s Prime Minister, Mike Eman. That they were there for our first win — things just couldn’t have gone any better.
“We’ll always remember that moment of victory and those that helped us get there,” he said. “I’ll always be able to say that Aruba Tourism and Alltel Wireless were the sponsors who were with us when we won our first ADRL trophy. It was a good memory for us and for them as well. Alltel has been with us for three years now and they are a first class group of people to work with. We thoroughly enjoy having them at events with us and doing displays at their retail stores. They’re a great addition to this team and we hope to have them on board for many years to come.
“Aruba Tourism and our Aruba community have also been a huge support this year,” he added. “I still have people coming up and congratulating me on our win — people I don’t even know! The amount of followers we have on social media and through the ADRL Live Feed is astounding. It really makes a difference to have that support from Aruba.com and our Aruba fans, as well as our fans in the states!
“We also really appreciate Claret Lopez of ‘Time Out’ and Jeff Lopez and Norbert Dirksz of Ingenuity Creative Marketing,” continued Eman. “All of them have traveled with us to many of the races throughout the year to take care of all our media coverage. Claret is the host of his television program called ‘Time Out’. We are regular guests on his show here in Aruba where we recap each event when we arrive back in Aruba. Norbert and Jeff do the filming and pictures at the races and keep our Facebook page up to date, as well as upload videos and short movies of Team Aruba on the road. Without their support our fanbase and popularity in Aruba would not be a wonderful as it is.”
Not only did Eman have an exciting year on the track, but off as well. He graduated from school in Florida, moved back home to Aruba and began working in the family business. Then in July, he married longtime girlfriend, Nicole. Despite this host of changes, Eman kept his focus throughout the season and when it came time for the ADRL World Finals, Team Aruba maintained a mathematical chance at winning the Championship.
“It felt really good to start the year off so well and to continue going rounds at most races,” Eman continued. “It kept us in the points battle right up until the very last round of the year. It was a big year for us for many reasons. Personally, I had a very busy year. Moving back home made the travel distances longer and also made it more difficult to leave work. Thankfully, we have good guys who keep things running at the shop while we’re gone. We couldn’t do this without them and especially without our crew at the track.
“Our team did a phenomenal job all year,” he said. “We have great chemistry. My dad is an excellent team leader. No matter how frustrating things can get, he’s always ready to continue. Bobby takes care of everything when we’re away. John Peterson can do it all. He’s my right hand guy on the car and will work on anything we ask him to. Pat Norcia of RAM Clutches, Doug Schriefer with Braswell Carburetors and Greg Brown with Kaase Racing Engines all came on board with us this year and did a phenomenal job in keeping the car in line. They really helped us step up to the next level. These guys, along with our Kaase engine power gave our Jerry Haas Mustang all it needed to be competitive with the top Pro Stocks in the nation and chase the Championship.
“I want to congratulate the ADRL on a job well done. Not only did we battle on the track, but there was another battle of sorts going on — a battle of where to race,” Eman added, alluding to the X-DRL racing series. “The ADRL hung it out and gave us a secure place to race. Our team especially appreciates their efforts because we have to travel so far to each event. We need to be confident in our racing organization and we are. Everything went smoothly this year. The Traction Twins did a great job. They were always up before anyone else and worked late. They don’t get enough credit for all they do. Overall, the ADRL had a great season, giving us every reason to look forward to next year.
“I also want to thank each participating ADRL track. It feels good to have reputable facilities believe in our classes and the ADRL program.”
After all was said and done for the 2013 season, Team Aruba ended with a very respectable top five finish in ADRL Extreme Pro Stock points.
“That we finished fifth in points and yet had a chance at the Championship up until the second round of the final event goes to show just how tight the XPS field was,” Eman said. “We certainly would have loved to win the Championship, but we feel we ended the year very well. We ran a 4.02 at the World Finals, which was our best elapsed time to date and makes us the fastest naturally aspirated Ford in the country. We’re proud of that accomplishment and can’t wait to continue building on our successes for next season.”
The team is looking to make very few changes in the off season, choosing to continue using the formula that led to so much success this season in 2014.
“We’re wrapping up our year now and putting this Ford in a short hibernation, but we’re already busy with plans for next year,” Eman said. “We’ll keep the same car, motor and team in tact. We have a combination that works well and we want to keep moving forward. The biggest change for us may be a new trailer. We need a dependable and workable trailer to make trips and track work more effective. Hopefully we’ll be making that change for 2014, but with our tight budget, it’s currently just a wish list item.
“2013 was an incredible year for our team,” he said. “Our goal is to continue building on that and bring more trophies to Aruba next year, but for now we’re taking time to be thankful for all the many special moments we’ve had. To my team, our fans, our country — job well done on a year to remember!”
This story was written by Lisa Collier of Team Aruba Racing.