ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (June 3) — Erica Enders-Stevens was dealt a frustrating 2nd round loss when her BLACK iGUANA Frozen Rita Camaro shook the tires during the 44th Annual NHRA Toyota Summernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey.
The number-three qualified Enders made a solid 6.601 @ 209.62 mph pass in round one, defeating Frank Gugliotta who fouled out at the line with a -.010 red light start.
But it was the second round match-up against reigning series champ Allen Johnson that would cut her quest for another Wally trophy short.
With Enders and Johnson kicking off round two, the BLACK iGUANA Camaro immediately succumbed to tire shake during the launch, causing the car to cut hard right and forcing her to push in the clutch and call off the pass.
“As I felt it start to shake I quickly pulled 2nd, but it wasn’t enough to calm the car down,” said Enders.
As elimination rounds progress with each class, track conditions begin to change. Even seemingly minor shifts can have a big impact on how a crew chief makes their decision on what to tweak in order to get the car down the track.
“Being the first pair out, you also don’t have the opportunity to watch other cars go down ahead of you,” she explained. “It’s an extra challenge for crew chiefs, especially in this heat. Unfortunately, we missed our mark today and we took our lumps for it.”
Johnson would go on to a pass of 6.646 @ 209.65 mph and eventually take his Mopar Dodge Avenger to a runner-up finish against number the one qualifier, Mike Edwards.
Enders wasn’t the only one to be shook out of contention this weekend. Topeka winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. and hometown favorite Vincent Nobile would also experience similar fates.
“As a driver you want to get down the track, and you can sometimes fight your way through it. This just wasn’t one of those times for us,” Enders said. “It’s frustrating as we’ve had a fast car in qualifying, but haven’t been able to translate it into more round wins on Sunday.”
With Englishtown on the books, Enders remains 4th in overall points. The NHRA heads next to Bristol, Tennesse June 14th – 16th for the 13th Annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.