To say Erica Enders is on a roll would be a dramatic understatement. After scoring her second Pro Stock victory of the season in Seattle two weeks ago, the Texas resident proceeded to take the provisional number one qualifying spot after the first day of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway (BIR).
Sixth in the Pro Stock standings, Enders has already locked up a berth in the Countdown to the Championship. Hence, with two races to go before the “second season” begins, it’s all about refinement.
“There’s no better time than the present to capitalize on our good race car and the momentum we have,” said Enders. “But, it’s a new race weekend and we’re all starting from scratch.”
Enders posted a 6.550-second pass at 210.50 mph to edge out points leader Allen Johnson for the top spot in the first-day order. Johnson, who has won two of the last three races, stopped the clock with a 6.560-second run at 210.81 mph.
Rounding out the top-five heading into final qualifying on Saturday were Mike Edwards, Vincent Nobile and Greg Anderson, respectively, who is the defending event champion.
“We went out and swung for the fences in that second session and fortunately it stuck all the way down. I do think we have some room for improvement. We go out fairly early tomorrow and it will probably be cool. We’ll just see what happens.”
Enders, who is bidding for her first number one qualifier of the season, lost to Anderson in the 2011 final at BIR.
“Last year, we had a good race,” added Enders. “We almost got it done. It gives us a lot of confidence going into the weekend knowing that we did well (here) last year.”
With only stops in Brainerd and Indianapolis remaining before the NHRA’s version of the playoffs commence, Enders is clearly seeking continued improvement to go along with more positive results.
“The next two races are important before we head into the Countdown,” she offered. “It positions you for those final six races. We’ve all been working hard and it’s starting to pay off. It couldn’t have come a better time too.
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