When Erica Enders won at Chicago July 1, she made history.
Enders became the first female to win an NHRA Pro Stock national event.
Since then, she has proved she is no fluke, winning at Seattle (Aug. 5) and Brainerd, Minn., (Aug. 19).
Enders kept the momentum going in her GK Racing Chevy Cobalt Friday, qualifying No. 1 with a 6.624-second run at 208.84 mph at the U.S. Nationals.
“We have just had a really, really great race car,” Enders said. “My crew chief Dave Connolly spent a lot of time testing some stuff last week in Rockingham that we have been working on. We were hoping it would carry over to Indy. We all know this is our Super Bowl of drag racing. I’m really honored to be here and carry the momentum we have had the last few races into this event.”
Enders said her team, which is owned by Victor Cagnazzi, wasn’t trying to hit a home run in Friday’s qualifying session.
“We knew this was an important run, and we were kind of conservative not knowing what the weather was going to do (Saturday) and Sunday,” Enders said. “We are hoping this isn’t going to be our only day to qualify, but in case it is we needed to get down the race track. I let the clutch out and it was very soft and it kind of bogged and rolled in low gear. I was very surprised at the ET they called out to me on the radio. Nonetheless, they have worked very hard and it proved to be a good run.”
Rain is expected Saturday and Sunday in Indianapolis as a result of Hurricane Isaac.
“Isaac has kind of been giving us h*** all week being from New Orleans,” Enders said. “It stinks that it is kind of swinging up this way, but knowing that we are in the field solid being in the No. 1 spot we will be able to have the data that we collected from (Friday night) and when we have run here in previous years. We can use that to our advantage if we do not get another qualifying session before Monday.”
Even though Enders finally made history with her Pro Stock win, she hasn’t changed her approach when she comes to the track.
“I honestly have the same mindset going into every event no matter what it is, where we are at and who I have to race,” Enders said. “The win didn’t really change much for me. We have always had the confidence and the team chemistry and everything. We had all the tools we needed to be successful, but to be able to finally get that monkey off our back does take a lot of weight off my shoulders.”
Enders is happy to be winning, but her main objective is to be a Pro Stock world champion.
“That’s our goal and that’s what we are focused on right now,” Enders said. “We have worked really hard testing and doing R&D stuff back in the engine shop and we have wanted to be able to showcase what we have learned over the entire year right prior to the Countdown and then in the last six races. Being that we are sort of on a hot streak right now and we have the momentum, we want to carry that through. Our goal is definitely to win the championship this year. We are definitely not here to visit and it is very important to us and we are going to try and follow through with it, and hopefully come out on top.”
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