ATLANTA — The determination of Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens has elevated her to the top level of Pro Stock and doesn’t allow her to believe clichés, so when her team members told her after she lost in the second round of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals on Sunday at Atlanta Dragway that “you can’t win them all,” she shook her head.
“Why not?” she asked.
Enders-Stevens has won two of seven Pro Stock races in 2014, adding the K&N Horsepower Challenge to that haul. She’s the points leader in the ultra-competitive class, too, and is determined to stay there.
“If there’s any good news, it’s that we get to go racing again in four days,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ll go back to the shop and then head to Topeka (Kansas). We’ll be fine.”
Enders-Stevens fell in the second round to eventual race winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. despite having a better elapsed time. Her pass was the best of the round for the sixth time during the weekend, but Coughlin’s starting-line advantage gave him the close victory. Enders-Stevens’ run was 6.533 at 209.52 mph, falling to Coughlin’s 6.551 at 211.30 mph.
“Just one of those days,” she said. “I’m human and I do mess up. I knew as soon as I let the clutch out I was in trouble. I know we have big top-end smoke, and when I put in fifth gear I closed on him but not much.”
She got to the second round with a stellar first-round win over John Gaydosh. Enders-Stevens left first and pulled away to a pass of 6.526 seconds at 212.96 mph, easily beating Gaydosh’s 6.786 at 205.13 mph.
Enders-Stevens came into the race as the No. 1 qualifier, having been atop the chart in all four qualifying sessions. She then was low of the round in both runs Monday, proving Elite Motorsports has not lost a step.
Enders-Stevens and her team remain positive as Atlanta starts a stretch of three consecutive races, with the race in Heartland Park Topeka beginning Friday.
“They’re just so positive all the time,” she said. “I apologized. Nothing is worse than for it to be your fault for the loss for the team, but they’re very positive. (Team owner) Richard (Freeman) is joking around and laughing and saying, ‘Hey, you can’t win every one these.’
“Everybody’s spirits are up, and we’ll be ready to go in Topeka, no doubt.”
The advancement to the second round, coupled with her stellar qualifying effort, helped push Enders-Stevens’ points lead to 110 over second-place Jason Line.