ATLANTA, GA – Erica Enders-Stevens helped Elite Motorsports snare its first No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock by taking the pole for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals on Saturday at Atlanta Dragway.
Enders-Stevens capped a stellar qualifying performance by posting the quickest elapsed times in each of the four sessions, topped by a run of 6.493 seconds at 212.69 mph in Q4–setting the new track ET record in the process.
It earned the Pro Stock points leader her seventh career No. 1 and first of 2014.
“It’s a true testament to how hard my guys work and what perfectionists they are,” Enders-Stevens said. “We go back after every run and analyze the data and do our best to make the most perfect run at that point in time. Hats off to Rick and Rickie Jones, my crew chiefs, and my entire team. They worked their butts off for me, and I’m really proud of them.”
“They’ve not had a No. 1 qualifying position before, and I’ve not had very many, so it means a great deal to us.”
Enders-Stevens earned the provisional pole on Friday with a 6.506-second pass at 202.91 mph, but Dave Connolly jumped to the top of the board with a 6.496-second pass in Q3.
Enders-Stevens, though, wasn’t worried even after a rain delay during the session forced her to run in slower conditions later Saturday.
“I’m very confident in our performance capabilities and our team,” Enders-Stevens said. “When he went that .49, it proved how good the air was. I was pretty ticked off when it started raining and they sent us back to the trailer. When we came back out, the air was certainly worse, about a hundredth, hundredth and a half worse.
“We were able to come around him by a thousandth and get the pole back, and then improve again in the fourth session.”
Not only was Enders-Stevens quickest in each session, earning her 12 additional qualifying points, but she improved each pass, too.
“Every run, we’re getting better,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’re improving by thousandths, and Pro Stock is a game of thousandths, so I’m very proud of my team.”
Enders-Stevens squares off against No. 16 qualifier John Gaydosh in the first round of eliminations as she seeks her third victory of the season and second in a row.
Plus, she has a chance to earn the 100th national-event victory for a female in NHRA.
Gaydosh’s best qualifying pass was 9.358 seconds at 100 mph, while Enders-Stevens’ four runs were 6.528 seconds or better and all were within .035 seconds of each other.
“That’s what we need tomorrow, consistency,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve got to go A to B. The weather looks a little bit iffy, but NHRA did a great job prepping the track today after that rain, and it was safe and smooth for us.Tomorrow, hopefully, will be a good, long day. We’ll be gunning for it.”