Car is nearing completion, and testing slated to begin January 2010
Nothing since 11/12/09

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Ortiz interview of Ashley Force-Hood


Birthdate: 3/27/80
Birth Place: Orlando, FL
Current Hope Base: Huntsville, AL
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 118 lbs.
Ethnicity: Hispanic-- Puerto Rican/Cuban
Residence: Columbus, GA
FFW Pro 5.0--Hopeful future NHRA Pro Mod or Pro Stock
Offspring: None
Biggest influence: Shirley Muldowney
Women you admire: Ashley Force
Father's_Thoughts: He doesn\'t know much about racing, but he was proud.
Your encouragement to others: Do one thing, no matter how small towards your goal every single day.
Pets: 9 month old Chihuahua-- Chica;
RIP Trixie--1/21/06 In Our Hearts Forever
Education::Currently finishing Bachelor's Degree focus in Marketing at Troy State University
Occupation:: Marketing Consultant-- Majors/National Advertising *Columbus Ledger-Enquirer --Columbus, GA*
Current Racing Series::
Fun Ford Weekend -- Pro 5.0 Class
Dixie Pro Mod Association -- Pro Modified
Automatic Pro Mod Association -- Pro Modified
American Drag Racing League -- Pro Nitrous
Hobbies::Drag Racing, Volleyball, Photography, Writing
Color- Black
Food- Italian
Music Genre- Rock
Music Artist- 3 Doors Down
Song- 'Hotel California', the Eagles
Television Program- Sex & the City (yes, reruns)
Movie- 'Sweet Home Alabama'
Actor- Will Smith, George Clooney, Josh Lucas
Actress- Salma Hayek, Demi Moore, Reese Witherspoon
Author- Clive Cussler
Driver- Larry Dixon, John Force, Warren Johnson


For 2007, BRISK USA has stepped up to become a major sponsor of Horsepower & Heels racing, allowing the team to bring about some exciting improvements to the racing program. Erica plans to campaign a new car in the 5 race Fun Ford Weekend Pro 5.0 schedule, the ADRL Pro Nitrous category, as well as the NOPI Drag Racing league, where domestics have newly entered the mix of sport compacts traditionally associated with this venue. Her goal is to work up towards the NHRA Pro Modified events, where turbocharged combinations have recently been accepted into the fold.


For 2007, BRISK USA has stepped up to become a major sponsor of Horsepower & Heels racing, allowing the team to bring about some exciting improvements to the racing program. Starting with a drastic body change, the old steel roof & quarter '86 Thunderbird is nixed in favor of a sleeker 2007 Pro Mod fiberglass Mustang body by VFN Fiberglass out of Addison, IL. Parker Chassis will be handling the fabrication behind the transformation, along with the fabrication of a new turbo configuration.

The engine program will still remain at the hands of master Ford engine guru, Al Moody Sr. of Maybleton, GA. The stock block and cast crank 2006 engine combination, which shattered performance barriers as the fastest OEM 460 block configuration, will be set aside for a stronger & lighter aluminum block powerplant.

"The whole premise behind 2006 was to get my feet wet in the PRO ranks, and we did surprisingly well as a team with the parts and budget that we had available at the time. This year, thanks to the great relationship we were able to build with BRISK USA, we will be able to debut a new look, and a stronger engine program which we feel will make us a formidable competitor." Erica said of her 2007 plans.

Erica plans to campaign the car in the 5 race Fun Ford Weekend Pro 5.0 schedule, the ADRL Pro Nitrous category, as well as the NOPI Drag Racing league, where domestics have newly entered the mix of sport compacts traditionally associated with this venue. Her goal is to work up towards the NHRA Pro Modified events, where turbocharged combinations have recently been accepted into the fold.

*     *     *

Erica Ortiz is a young, up and coming Pro Modified drag racer. She currently campaigns a budget-built twin turbo thunderbird in Pro 5.0, where she navigates the 1/4 mile in 6 seconds and at over 200 mph! She  just became the fastest woman in Fun Ford Weekend history, and is the fastest stock 460 block/cast crank in exsistence. She finished 2nd in the points chase with consistent 6 second, 200 mph performances.


What got you started in racing?

I discovered drag racing right after my high school graduation. I didn't have the fortune of being born into a family involved in motorsports, my parents could hardly change a tire! Still, I was always racing around from place to place in high school, oblivious to the fact I was driving a painfully slow pick up truck at the time. Right after graduation, I bought my first car; a 1990 Mustang GT. I would take it out to the Test & Tune nights at my local track, perfecting my lights and driving skills. It wasn't quite fast enough, so I started hanging out at a local performance shop, and attending some drag races. I was hooked! My spare time away from the track was spent with my eyes glued to the pages of the racing magazines, trying to absorb every bit of knowledge I could about the sport.

Who was your biggest influence?

The most inspirational and encouraging people have been the ladies who have paved the way in drag racing: great champions like Shirley Muldowney, Melanie Troxel, Angelle Sampey, and the rest of the ladies in the sport.

What does your father think about all of this?

My dad is always super supportive, even if he doesn't understand anything about drag racing!

What would you say to girls/women who might be interested in racing?

Never think something is out of your reach... do something everyday to get you closer to your goal. Study, work hard, and be patient... it'll pay off in the end!

Race History and Results:

At first glance, none would suspect Erica Ortiz to be a frontrunner in the ultra-competitive world of drag racing. Born and raised in Orlando, FL by her grandparents -- a retired Air Force officer and draftsman, and a housewife, Erica was raised in a strict, traditional latin household. Nowhere was it evident where Erica\'s love for racing and speed developed. The last raised in her grandparents home, none of her family had knowledge of motorsports, and while Erica grew up loving competition,-- "anything athletic or sports oriented, even down to academics, I loved the thrill of competition and the adrenaline rush of winning." says Erica. "I was never much of a girlie girl, no matter how hard I tried. It was all just awkward to me, I wanted to be out there playing with the boys, not on the sidelines looking pretty."

Throughout high school, Erica trained and competed in 3 sports in her athletic tenure, serving as team captain on both her school's Volleyball and Track & Field teams. Her drive to succeed earned her top honors as an athlete, and an athletic scholarship for Volleyball in college. Graduating with honors from her high school, Erica's future looked bright. However, a series of unfortunate events kept her from pursuing her collegiate Volleyball dreams, and sidelined her athletic career.

Shortly after graduating, Erica purchased her first vehicle; a 1990 5.0L Mustang GT. She instantly fell in love with the vehicles' speed and power performances, and before long found herself at the local dragstrip testing her newest adventure. "I always liked racing around town in high school, oblivious to the fact that I was driving a painfully slow pick up truck. Now, I finally had something worthy of the sport and definitely up to the chore." Erica's new found passion drove her to countless magazines, websites, and any other haven in search of knowledge of her new found hobby. "I spent countless nights thumbing the pages of the mustang magazines, trying to absorb every bit of information about the car I loved and making it faster" Erica said of her early racing years, "I was determined to get beneath the hood of the car myself, to uncover anything that would give me that competitive edge." It was during this time that she discovered a popular local mustang shop, Lugo Performance Automotive, Inc. in nearby Apopka, FL. Home of some of the fastest mustangs in the sport, Lugo Performance became her new favorite hangout. It was there she learned the ropes-- spending countless nights with Dennis Lugo in the engine room, and becoming a hands-on player at the mechanics of the sport. "I wanted to know how everything worked, the mechanics, the fundamentals. I wasn't satisfied with just being behind the wheel, I had to be involved in all aspects, to understand what made it all come together.

Her first racing experience occurred at the World Ford Challenge event in 2001, often termed the \"Superbowl\" of Ford Drag Racing. Erica had accompanied the Lugo Performance team to the race as she so often did in those days as a spectator, following behind in her newly acquired 1993 GT. After driving the 1000 miles from Orlando to St. Louis, where the annual event was held, Erica decided to try her hand at bracket racing, entering the Bracket 3 category. Over 150 competitors competed in class, and Erica made it all the way to the semi-finals on day 1, running in the mid-13\'s with her manual equipped GT. On Sunday, Erica again made in through rounds all the way to the finals, where she was crowned the runner-up at her first competitive event. With such great first time success, Erica was hooked.

Later that year, Erica was given the opportunity to drive another car which frequented the Lugo shop. A loyal customer of Lugo for years, Bob Besner's sleek supercharged coupe was the first "fast" car Erica had experienced. Having gone no faster than low 13's, Erica strapped into the supercharged car and jumped into the 12's on her first pass. With a little coaching from Dennis, Erica's second attempt put her into the low 11's at 120 mph. Adrenaline flowing, an enthused Erica proclaimed "I HAVE to get me one of those!" And so it began....

Erica continued driving Besner's coupe, gaining some seat time, and hoping to enter in the spring's NMRA season opener in the Drag Radial category. She later would refer to the car as her "adopted" racer... "Having driven it for almost a year, I gained a fond relationship [with the car] and endearingly named it my 'adopted' racecar. So when Bob offered to sell [the car], I knew it had to become official, it had to come home to stay." Erica quickly sold her 93 GT, and brought her pristine coupe home. The car received a fresh power plant in late 2001, a 306 capable of standing up to the power and running in the radial class. With no prior testing, Erica would attempt to qualify in the World Street Nationals Radial class, running just shy of the field with a best of 10.30. After some testing, the coupe would run in the 9's, still in street form with functional A/C & full stereo, as Erica still drove the car frequently on the street. Erica gained recognition as the Paxton Princess, as she was an outspoken representative for the supercharger company.

A Change in Direction

After a season of belt-tossing difficulties, and traction difficulties in the class from the torque-happy blower, Erica underwent a change in direction. Obtaining her NHRA Competition License in Joe DeJesus' Twin Turbo coupe, Erica was swayed by the turbos\' smooth powerband. Turbochargers were already the specialty of the Lugo shop, so an executive decision was made to swap the blower in lieu of a single turbo combination on her own ride. In between races, the kit was fabricated at Lugo Performance, and Erica was back out with a new combination, and well into the 9\'s on the radial tire. Determined to compete in the drag radial class, Erica slowly made the commitment to the transformation from fast capable street car to all out race. After climaxing the 2002 season with a win in the Gainesville True Street event, Dennis and Erica began the transformation to fit the new FFW version of the drag radial class.

Upgrading to a 347 cubic inch powerplant, and a water/air intercooled combo, Erica was quick out of the gate in the 2003 season with 2 runner-up finishes in FFW trim and her first 8 second time slip on radial tires, becoming the first female in a FFW Heads-up final and the first female in the 8\'s and over 160 mph on a radial tire as well. Venturing into the mid 8\'s, the now infamous 'Radial Princess' finished off the year with several other runner-up finishes, and as runner-up for the 2003 Points Championship. Erica\'s proudest moment was when Dennis was named FFW's Crew Chief of the Year, a feat he greatly deserved. Without him, she would never had made it through the season. "No matter how much he had going on, or what obstacles were in his way, Dennis always made sure that I was taken care of inside that car. We were a great team, he had faith in my ability to drive, and I in his ability to get the car to the line. We worked together to build that motor, to tune the car, and to make sure it ran smoothly. And even when others discredited me, he trusted my instincts and we made it happen together."

Shortly after the 2003 season, Erica made the difficult decision to leave Orlando and venture out on her own. After beginning a career in advertising in Georgia, exploring her career interests and abilities, Erica was determined to continue racing on her own. As she prepared for the 2004 season, Dennis provided her guidance by phone from Florida. "Throughout the past, I always had Dennis watching over my shoulder. Although he had taught me well, I was still very nervous about taking control without his supervision. There was no safety net there anymore, it was up to me now." Erica was able to put the coupe right back on path, with a performance best of 175 mph pass.

Moving On & Up

Throughout 2004, Erica would venture to the track as support for a local Pro Mod team, helping and learning the ropes on these quite different Pro cars. Her need for speed left her yearning to drive one of these powerful beasts, and Erica had her sights set on building a Pro car. She knew that she would be departing into a much different world, and all the stakes were raised significantly, but she was surrounded by the support of many very knowledgeable people, and felt confident that with some seat time, she could move into her own as a Pro 5.0 driver, uncharted territory for a female driver, and a longtime dream of Erica's own evolution.

At the end of the 2004 season, Erica put her much loved radial car up for sale, anxious to begin her Pro career. And although it was with great sadness that her beloved radial coupe departed, with the closing of one chapter, another began. Erica took 2005 off finishing her new Twin Turbo Big Block Thunderbird. Her Pro 5.0 debut came in 2006, when she became the first female in FFW\'s Pro 5.0 class, the first female in the 6\'s, and the first over 200mph. Running a best of 6.69 @ 207mph with a stock Ford 460 block, Erica made tremendous strides with her budget-built Pro 5.0 car, finishing #2 for the season in FFW Pro 5.0 in her rookie year.

2007 brought many new changes, as Erica worked toward a more competitive car, and the transformation into a 2007 Mustang. The Horsepower & Heels team is an all-female racing team, who compete and work on the car themselves. With the new modifications, Erica hopes to be a serious competitor in the 2010 season.

2006-- PRO 5.0

  • Currently #2 in points after only 3 events in rookie season
  • Runner-up, FFW Pro 5.0 2006 Points Championship
  • Runner-up, FFW Buckeye State Nationals-- Norwalk, OH
  • #3 qualifier, FFW Old Dominion Nationals-- Richmond, VA
  • Runner-up, Phenix Motorsports Quick 8-- Phenix City, AL
  • First female to compete in FFW Pro 5.0
  • First female in the 6's in Fun Ford Weekend
  • First female over 200 mph in Fun Ford Weekend


  • Runner-up in the ESX Motorsports Maximum Velocity Female Driver Search
  • Running a limited schedule, Erica finished 5th in FFW Drag Radial 2004 Points Championship, attending only 3 events.
  • Gained valuable crew experience with various Pro Modified teams, crewing on the top nitrous entry at the ADRL Dragstock Pro Modified event.


  • Runner-up, FFW Drag Radial 2004 Points Championship
  • Runner-up, FFW Ford Mustang World Finals -- Ennis, TX
  • Runner-up, FFW Midwest Nationals -- Cordova, IL
  • Runner-up, FFW Peach State Nationals -- Commerce, GA
  • Runner-up, FFW Spring Break Shootout -- Orlando, FL
  • First female in the 8's on a radial tire
  • First female over 160 mph on a radial tire


  • Champion, FFW Sunshine State Nationals -- Gainesville, FL (true street)
  • Semi-Finalist, World Ford Challenge -- St. Louis, MO (wild street)


  • Runner up, World Ford Challenge Bracket 3 -- St. Louis, MO (Sunday, 162 car field)
  • Semi-Finalist, World Ford Challenge Bracket 3 -- St. Louis, MO (Saturday, 168 car field)



Erica Ortiz could be making an appearance at an upcoming racing event soon. Not much has been mentioned in regards to Drag racing star Erica Ortiz lately. Reportedly diagnosed with Cervical Cancer last year, the lady of FFW Pro 5.0 is rumored to have plans to attend the 8th Annual NMCA World Street Finals! Let’s hope it’s true and Ortiz is back on the track showing off her talents! The event kicks off on October 15th and runs through October 18th.


March 3-4 - 17th Annual Spring Break Shootout
Fun Ford Weekend, Orlando Speed World Dragway -- Orlando, FL

April 12-15 - 17th Annual Peach State Nationals
Fun Ford Weekend, Atlanta Dragway -- Commerce, GA

May 17-20 - World Ford Challenge X
World Race Events, Indianapolis Raceway Park -- Indianapolis, IN

June 22-24 - 9th Annual Old Dominion Nationals
Fun Ford Weekend, Virginia Motorsports Park -- Richmond, VA

August 3-5 - 16th Annual Thunder Valley Nationals
Fun Ford Weekend, Bristol Dragway -- Bristol, TN

September 7-9 - 17th Annual Ford Mustang World Finals
Fun Ford Weekend, Texas Motorplex -- Ennis, TX


  • August 4-6 15th Annual FFW Thunder Valley Nationals Bristol, TN
  • August 19-20 12th Annual FFW New England Nationals Epping, NH
  • September 8-10 2nd Annual FFW Heartland Nationals Topeka, KS
  • September 15-16 16th Annual FFW Ford Mustang World Finals Ennis, TX
  • October 13-14 2nd Annual ADRL World Finals Kennendale, TX
  • October 26-29 14th Annual Orlando World Street Nationals Orlando, FL
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