Family-owned Elite Motorsports manages eight NHRA racing teams, including a five-time world champion race car driver and five of the top 10 NHRA race cars in the world — all built in its facilities in Wynnewood.
Tucked away in Wynnewood, about an hour outside the metro, Elite Motorsports is quietly building racecars for eight NHRA racing teams, racking up NHRA world championships and has doubled its growth and quadrupled its size since it began in 2004.
Owner Richard Freeman started the family-owned, multi-generational company in 2004, and he began racing cars with his father starting in 1990. In the nearly 20 years since starting Elite Motorsports, he said the company has grown from three employees to more than 50, adding four auxiliary businesses to Elite’s offerings.
“We sell new and used Class A motorhomes and big stacker trailers and semi-trucks and trailers, and we sell them all over the world,” Freeman said. “And it’s not just Elite Motorsports anymore. We have our own in-house engine building company, among other things.”
The engine-building company, called Elite Performance, is the fuel to Elite Motorsports eight different NHRA racing teams. From March to November each year, the leadership of the company, along with about 40 people, travel, compete and manage the racing teams that start from race cars built from the ground-up at the facilities in Wynnewood.
“We run eight NHRA pro-stock teams out of Wynwood, Oklahoma,” he said. “From the day-to-day operations to on track to travel, we’re running everything.”
The teams will travel coast-to-coast with almost nonstop travel competing in 18 races each season.
“We have a total of seven semis that go down the road,” he said. “And then my team and my engine builders, myself and some of our key crew people, we fly to each — we fly out private right out of here in Paul’s Valley — so we don’t lose any time. It has to be well organized, and we’ve done a superb job of that.”
Freeman owns several of the eight teams, and one of his drivers, Erica Enders, has won five world NHRA championships while on his team, driving cars his company built in Oklahoma. She is now the most winningest female NHRA driver in the world, and the company manages five of the top 10 race cars in the world, he said.
“We have won five world championships,” he said. “We’ve won our first in 2014, and we’ve been part of some of the most unbelievable racing of all time. Erica has just done amazing things, and we’ve got a roster of amazing drivers. It’s amazing. Sometimes you’ve got to kind of knock on wood, you just can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable.”
Freeman is quick to point the success back to his team, which includes many family members.
“It’s not just me; it’s all these people that I surround myself,” he said. “And our program is about family. Both my brothers work here. My mom works here. My late father worked for us. Some of my nephews work here. It is a true family ordeal. And we have something that others want and can’t get.”
For Freeman, he said the growth of Elite Motorsports and the success the NHRA teams have had in the professional racing world goes far beyond what he envisioned when he started almost two decades ago.
“We’ve just worked to put all those pieces of the puzzle together,” he said. “I never dreamed of having eight performance teams or adding on to my buildings here 27 times to provide room to house all this stuff we need. But we’ve done it.”
And, he’s done it on his terms in the middle of Oklahoma. Professional NHRA teams are rare in Oklahoma, most making their home in Charlotte, North Carolina or Indianapolis, Indiana, he said.
“And we’re making it work in little ol’ Wynnewood, Oklahoma,” he said. “I bought my engine program out of Charlotte, and everyone said, ‘Oh boy, he’s taking that back to Oklahoma. That won’t work or last.’ But, I have. Charlotte is a cool little town, but it takes three hours to get three miles. I can get to Dallas from here in two. “
This Oklahoma-based, family-owned business has proven the model works here, and, he said, they aren’t anywhere else, either.
“We’re from Oklahoma, born and bred,” he said. “And we don’t ever plan on leaving unless it’s on vacation.”