Historic race of the past has Erica Enders excited about future Seattle success

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SEATTLE, WA — Reigning Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders is ready to make some more history at picturesque Pacific Raceways this weekend during the 28th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals.

During her breakthrough 2012 campaign, Enders and Funny Car racer Courtney Force made a mark in the record books in Seattle by becoming the first pair of female professionals to win the same national event.

“That was such a cool day,” Enders said. “I had just won my first ever Pro Stock trophy in Chicago a few races before the Western Swing, and that was a huge deal because no woman had ever won in Pro Stock before. We finally got it done and it was like, ‘How can we top that?’ Then we come up here and make some more history with Courtney. It was really neat to be a part of that, especially with my buddy Courtney.

“The Seattle win was special because it validated the Chicago win. It proved we were legit. We ended up winning a couple more times that year, but the Seattle win was one of the biggest I’ve ever had.”

Enders, who is married to fellow Pro Stock racer Richie Stevens, enters the weekend second in the Mello Yello championship points. She’s currently 47 points behind Greg Anderson and 147 ahead of third-place Jason Line.

“We have to go to Seattle and perform flawlessly, especially coming off a quarterfinal result in Sonoma,” Enders said. “We all know what we need to do in this pit and we just need to get to work. Seattle is usually a hot and tricky racetrack, so we’ll be prepared for that and try to win some rounds and maybe get back in the winner’s circle. I’ll talk to Courtney and see if we can’t recreate 2012!

“As much fun as it will be to reminisce a little bit, we’ll definitely have our work cut out for us. This year has been extremely competitive, like it seems to be every year, but I think the new fuel and tires they have us using this year have really evened the playing field more than ever before. It’s been stressful but fun.”

While in town, Enders will be sure to take in the local scene.

“Seattle is such a beautiful city,” she said. “You start taking it in before you even land, just looking out the windows of the airplane and seeing Mount Rainer and Puget Sound. I know we’ll be eating a lot of fresh seafood and taking in some glorious sunsets. I’m excited. This is definitely a race you always look forward to every year.”

Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2:30 and 5:30 p.m., Friday, and 1 and 4 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry both qualifying and elimination action.