BRISTOL, TN — Father’s Day is a special time for dads and their kids, a time for children to honor their fathers for all the sacrifices made.
While racing at this weekend’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders will certainly thank her dad, Gregg Enders, for everything he did to further her career in drag racing.
“My dad means the world to me,” Enders said. “He’s been a huge support in my racing career, and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without him. We will do our best to bring him home another Wally this year on Father’s Day.”
Erica went to her dad, a racer himself, when she was 8 years old, asking to drive in the new Jr. Dragster class. Gregg agreed and began a long journey as mentor, crew chief, and supporter.
“He gave up a lot for (sister) Courtney and I to be able to race,” Enders said. “From the Jr. Dragster days to Super Comp and Super Gas to funding a Pro Stock team on his own, he provided all the stepping-stones to get me where I am today.
“Now, I’m with a team that takes great care of me and we have a blast together. Every challenging moment was worth it to get where I am now at Elite Motorsports.”
Enders won the 2014 Pro Stock world championship, with Gregg and Courtney arm in arm behind her at Auto Club Raceway last November.
Enders remains a leading contender to repeat as champion, as she’s second in the points standings with three wins in four final-round appearances and three No. 1 qualifiers in nine races to date. She heads to Bristol as the event’s defending champion.
“I’m excited to go back,” Enders said. “So far this year, we’ve won at the same tracks we won at last year, so hopefully that trend continues at Thunder Valley. I’ve never been shy to say that Bristol’s one of my favorite tracks on the tour, and the fact that it’s been good to us in the past makes it even more fun to go back.”
Enders has been to the Bristol final round in three of the last four races (2011, 2013, 2014), reaching the semifinals in 2012.
“It’s an awesome part of the country,” Enders said. “The fans are kind to us, and the facility is beautiful. Plus, Bruton Smith and his staff treat the competitors well.”
Pro Stock qualifying sessions will be held at 5 and 7:30 p.m. ET, Friday, and 12:30 and 3 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at 1 p.m., Sunday. ESPN2 will broadcast all the qualifying action from 8 to 10 p.m., Saturday, and the elimination rounds from 3 to 6 p.m., Sunday.