TOPEKA — Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens missed her second consecutive No. 1 qualifier by a mere .006-second at this weekend’s NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
Though Enders-Stevens would have joined fellow female drivers Brittany and Courtney Force as pole-winners in Topeka, ending up No. 2 is just fine for her
“I love it,” Enders-Stevens said. “Before last weekend in Atlanta, we had qualified No. 2 four times and we’ve done well each time. Being a racer, you’re naturally slightly superstitious. To get back to the No. 2 spot, it’s good for us. You can win from anywhere.”
The last three times Enders-Stevens has qualified No. 2, she ended up in the final round. In Houston two races ago, she qualified second and won the race. She’d love nothing more than to repeat that feat this weekend, especially since it would also be the 100th national event victory by a woman.
“No. 2 for No. 100 — yes, please,” Enders-Stevens said.
She leads the Pro Stock points standings thanks to two victories and two other final-round appearances in seven races to date.
Enders-Stevens’ best run in qualifying was 6.606 seconds at 208.68 mph (run in Saturday’s first session), though she duplicated that elapsed time in the final session with a speed of 207.98 mph. Both Saturday runs were low of the round, and they followed her Q1 e.t. of 6.611 seconds at 208.81 mph.
“We’ve got a consistent race car again,” Enders-Stevens said. “Tomorrow is going to be about going A to B and not losing sight of our goals. I hope it’ll be a long day.”
The weekend has been long for Enders-Stevens and her Elite team, as rain canceled the second session Friday and delayed Saturday’s activities.
“I’m just proud of my team,” Enders-Stevens said. “They’ve worked really hard this weekend. These rain weekends really stink because it’s hard to go from down to up, from sitting around to rushing and whatever else. They’ve done a great job.
“We had a 15-minute turnaround between today’s two runs, so we were hustling, We were down two guys this weekend, and for as much adversity as we’re facing, we’re doing well and I’m proud of my team.”