POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15) — A fast Royal Purple Chevrolet race car, a solid Elite Motorsports team, confidence in herself, and legions of fans have Erica Enders-Stevens poised to make history.
On Saturday Enders-Stevens qualified No. 3 for the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway, and she carries a 19-point lead in the Pro Stock points standings into final eliminations at the season finale.
“What a blessing to be in the position that we’re in,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s going to come down to the wire, and it’s going to be a dogfight. I’ve got a good feeling and I’m happy.”
Enders-Stevens was terrific throughout the four qualifying sessions with a best pass of 6.526 seconds at 211.99 mph. She was quickest in two of the sessions and second-quickest in the other two as she chases the first Pro Stock championship of her career.
“The car’s great and it’s been good every run,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’re nit-picking thousandths of a second here and there and we’re happy. We’ve got a very consistent race car, and that’s what it takes on Sundays to win.
“We’ll go out there and do our best tomorrow, let the clutch pedal out on time, shift the car well, go A to B, and it could be a very good day. I feel confident and I’m excited.”
Enders-Stevens and Jason Line, who is in second place in the points standings, are on opposite sides of the ladder, so the championship could go down to the final round.
Should Enders-Stevens hang on to the championship lead, she would join Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey as the only female world champions in NHRA history and would become the first female world champ in Pro Stock.
She’s already had a stellar season, with five victories in six final-round appearances and six No. 1 qualifiers. She stormed back to the points lead in Las Vegas two weeks ago with a win from the No. 1 qualifying spot.
This weekend, her pit area has been swarmed with race fans trying to get a glimpse of the would-be champion.
“The fans have been incredible,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve spent hours at the back of the pit signing autographs and talking to people. I feel like I’ve got a lot of people pulling for us, which is really awesome. It shows, too, when we tow back to our pit in front of the grandstands. They’re hooting and hollering.
“I’ve been trying to take it all in because I know one day it will all disappear. I’m having the time of my life right now.”
Enders-Stevens begins her Sunday against No. 13 qualifier Larry Morgan, who made a top pass of 6.583 seconds at 209.30 mph.
Eliminations will start at approximately noon, Sunday, with both qualifying and elimination action broadcast on ESPN2 on tape-delay basis.