Reading victory would be icing on Enders-Stevens’ birthday cake

ee-vs-richie

READING, Pa. (Oct. 5) – Husky Liners Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens celebrates her 30th birthday on Tuesday, and she’d love to have a Wally trophy from the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway next to her birthday cake.

Enders-Stevens won last weekend’s race at Gateway Motorsports Park, helping celebrate the birthdays of husband Richie Stevens and father Gregg Enders. She’d like a Maple Grove trophy for herself and her Cagnazzi Racing team.

“I got Richie and my dad a Wally for their birthdays,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’d like to get one for myself.”

Enders-Stevens qualified No. 7 with a best pass of 6.587 seconds at 209.98 mph, and her Husky Liners Camaro has been consistent.

Her runs were all within .034-second of each other, and she was in the top five in three of the four qualifying sessions.

Enders-Stevens could use a deep run at Maple Grove to continue her march up the Pro Stock points standings. She started the Countdown to the Championship in ninth place but her victory last weekend vaulted her to ninth.

Maple Grove marks the fourth event of the six-race Countdown, and she entered race weekend 60 points out of the lead.

“Tomorrow’s really important,” Enders-Stevens said. “There was some shuffling going on in that (final) round (of qualifying), and it changed the ladder a bit. We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us, but we’ve got a consistent race car and I’m driving well. I’ll put my faith on the big man upstairs and see what happens.”

Enders-Stevens faces No. 10 qualifier Buddy Perkinson in round one Sunday. Perkinson garnered that spot with a pass of 6.591 seconds at 210.21 mph.

A fun twist to Enders-Stevens’ weekend was lining up against her husband Richie Stevens in Q3. Husband and wife had never faced each other in Pro Stock, and Enders-Stevens got the better of her husband on the Christmas Tree.

Enders-Stevens left with a .005-second reaction time to his .074 light, and they ran identical elapsed times, 6.587. Stevens’ speed was better, giving him the higher qualifying spot, but Enders-Stevens was bragging about the win light.

“That was pretty cool,” Enders-Stevens said. “Apparently no husband and wife had ever run each other in Pro Stock, so that was a lot of fun. Our crews both had some side bets going. He outran us because of mile an hour, so he got ahead of us on the qualifying sheet, but I cracked him on the starting line and we got the win light. I guess that’s all that matters, but it was fun and I’m glad he’s out here running.”

Eliminations at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals get under way at 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday from Maple Grove Raceway. ESPN2 will broadcast the racing on Sunday night starting at 8:30 p.m. EDT.