Apparently, now that Erica Enders has gotten used to collecting event trophies, she doesn’t want to change her approach one bit.
The Texas native captured her second straight victory on Sunday – the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals – at Brainerd International Raceway. It was her third victory of the season.
Heading into the 15th round of the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Enders felt confident her GK Motorsports entry could hold off all challengers including the point leader Allen Johnson.
“There’s no reason to think we can’t win some more (races),” said Enders.
She did just that and in impressive fashion. To no one’s surprise, Enders and Johnson met in the final and it was the former who recorded a 6.569-second run at 210.05 mph en route to the win light.
Johnson, who had qualified second, had his Mopar Dodge shake the tires just off the starting line and the Tennessee resident had to shut off.
It was the first time since 1986 the number one qualifier in Pro Stock had managed to find his or her way to victory lane at BIR. Additionally, it was the first time in 25 years since a female (Shirley Muldowney) won at the multi-purpose facility. It was also the first time a female driver had won back to back since Angelle Sampey.
“They (the wins) keep coming and I love it,” said Enders. “The guys have been working real hard and it’s nice to see that hard work finally paying off. We are going to try and ride this wave as long as it lasts.
“We have a really great car right now and that makes Sundays a heck of a lot more fun. We’re all excited and optimistic about what the future holds.”
On the way to her meeting with Johnson, who she beat in the semifinals at Pacific Raceways outside Seattle (her previous win), Enders had to navigate around the likes of Shane Gray, Jason Line and Larry Morgan.
Morgan’s trip to the semis was certainly an interesting one. He was beaten in the second round by Mark Martino and had already targeted the next race on the schedule in two weeks, but suddenly his name was called to face Enders. Martino’s run had been thrown out due to his car being too light.
With her win, Enders jumped into fifth-place in the standings and is now just 25 points behind Mike Edwards in fourth. The big point winner of the day proved to be Ron Krisher who moved into seventh-place.
As the NHRA’s most prestigious race looms on the horizon, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals during Labor Day weekend, it appears six drivers will be battling it out for positions seven though 10 in the standings.
Only 51 points separates Krisher from Ronnie Humphrey in 12th. The top 10 drivers following the Indy race will qualify for the Countdown to the Championship which begins at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte next month.
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