Pro Stock champ Erica Enders always a threat in Charlotte

Erica Enders 2016 burnout

CHARLOTTE, NC — Two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders has an enviable record at zMax Dragway, site of this weekend’s seventh annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods. She won last October’s national event here, and she raced to the Four-Wide final in 2012, 2013, and 2014, so expect Enders and her Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge team to be contenders when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series races there this weekend.

“We’ve been to a handful of finals in Charlotte, and we were finally able to get it done last year,” Enders said. “It was a perfect time last year, being the first race of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. It was a super-exciting time for us.

“We’re going to Charlotte fresh off a test session, and we’re hopeful the things we found will point us in the right direction. It’s a challenge, but we’ll get there. We’ll be all right.”

Enders and her Elite team tested at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, fine-tuning their new Dodge Dart. She is coming off a semifinal finish in Las Vegas, which was her best race of the season, so Enders is looking to continue building momentum.

She’ll have to do that in the unique race that is the Four-Wide Nationals. Instead of the usual two-wide racing, four cars race at once at the event.

“It definitely presents some challenges, but I’ve raced at every Four-Wide event, and I feel comfortable with the process and the procedure,” Enders said. “It’s just the curveballs that are thrown at you by what the other three competitors are doing or not doing.

“For the most part, the class has gotten the hang of it. Having said that, this will be the first year with EFI. Some drivers’ staging procedures are different, and it will be very interesting to see how they handle it.”

Electronic fuel injection was mandated for 2016, changing things up in Pro Stock. Enders, though, continues to be at the top of her game, as witnessed by her three excellent reaction times in Las Vegas, including a holeshot victory in the second round.

In addition to racing this weekend, Enders is scheduled to visit Levine Children’s Hospital on behalf of Speedway Children’s Charities on Thursday, and she always looks forward to visiting friends Laura Cochran and Lacee Tuttle when she races in Charlotte.

“They’re two of my best friends,” Enders said. “They both live in the Charlotte area, so I’m excited to see them.”

Pro Stock qualifying sessions are schedule for 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., Friday, and 2 and 4 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at 1 p.m., Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air qualifying action from 10 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, and elimination racing from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Sunday. All times are listed in Eastern Time zone.