GAINESVILLE, FL — Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge driver Erica Enders has already amassed an impressive résumé in her illustrious career, from winning back-to-back Pro Stock championships in 2014-15 to going to victory lane 21 times, including at the prestigious U.S. Nationals last season.
A win at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals has eluded her so far, but she gets another chance at victory this weekend at Gainesville Raceway.
“It would be really cool to get a Wally at the Gators,” Enders said. “I’ve been to the finals twice and haven’t won yet, but I really want to win there. It’s a tall order right now, but we’ll certainly go in with a positive attitude and a winning mentality. You never know what could happen.”
Enders raced to the final round in Gainesville early in her Pro Stock career, losing to Tom Martino in 2006. She also reached the Gatornationals final in 2014, her first season with Elite, before falling to Allen Johnson.
Her tenure at Elite has netted two championships and 15 victories, including nine last year (a single-season record for women).
A switch to Dodge, compounded by NHRA-mandated changes to fuel-injected engines, has put Enders and her Elite team in development mode early in 2016, but improvements are coming.
“All of the new changes are a huge challenge,” Enders said. “We haven’t quite gotten a handle on it yet, but our test session was very productive. We feel like we learned a bunch and we have it pointed in the right direction now. Time will tell, but it definitely was encouraging.”
Enders tested this week at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park — not far from Elite’s headquarters in Wynnewood, Okla. — as crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones continue to fine-tune the new Dodge Dart.
“We’ll keep working on our race car, we’ll keep getting better,” Enders said. “It would be awesome to have a Gatornationals trophy. It’s one of the most prestigious races on the tour, and there’s a lot of history there. It’s one of my favorite races. We’ll go do our best and let God do the rest.”
Friday night qualifying will air from 9 to 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, with a second qualifying show from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Race day eliminations will air live from 1 to 4 p.m. ET Sunday, also on FOX Sports 1.