BRISTOL, TN — After a slow start to the weekend, Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens turned things around in Bristol with a quick lap during qualifying for the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Following issues in Q1 and Q3 and a decent run in Q2, the Elite Motorsports driver laid down her best time, a 6.631 at 208.17 mph, when it mattered most in Q4.
Enders-Stevens secured the No. 3 qualifying spot, and her Chevy Camaro will pull up to the starting line in round one Sunday to face off against No. 14 qualifier Larry Morgan’s Ford Mustang.
“It certainly wasn’t the start to the weekend that we were looking for, but we were able to lay down a nice, clean run in that last session,” Enders-Stevens said. “We still had some left in it, so that’s encouraging for tomorrow. We did it in the heat of the day with the hottest track temperature all weekend (133 degrees), so it was a pretty nice run.
“I’m proud of my team,” Enders-Stevens said. “I feel really blessed to have such a good group behind me who are always encouraging. It means a lot.”
Even though qualifying didn’t go exactly how Enders-Stevens anticipated, she is confident about her chances tomorrow. Racing at one of her favorite tracks and with a team that is clearly on a hot streak, she will be a favorite before the day is over.
“I do love it here,” Enders-Stevens said. “It always seems that on weekends when we initially struggle, it tends to be a longer race day. I’m hopeful that’s the case tomorrow, but we’ve got a long, hot day cut out for us. There is some stiff competition, but the cream rises to the top, and I’ve got all the faith in the world in my team and in (crew chiefs) Rick and Rickie Jones.
“I know they’ll put a good race car underneath me tomorrow, and it’s going to be up to me. I’m ready.”
Enders-Stevens will look to take home her third NHRA Pro Stock win of the season when final eliminations take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, which will be broadcast later in the day on ESPN2.