Two-time Pro Stock champ Erica Enders gunning for Houston three-peat

Erica Enders Houston NHRA Pro Stock 2016

HOUSTON, TX — Racing in her home state of Texas always puts a smile on the face of two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders. So does going fast with her Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge, which she did in qualifying for the 29th annual NHRA SpringNationals on Friday at Royal Purple Raceway.

Enders grabbed the No. 6 spot — her second-best qualifying position of the season — with a pass of 6.635 seconds at 209.14 mph.

“It is nice to be back home,” said Enders, the 2014 and 2015 Houston winner. “Coming out on Friday and running a little bit better than we have been was certainly encouraging.”

Enders and her Elite team continue to develop their new ’16 Dodge Dart after NHRA mandated fuel-injected engines with a 10,500 rpm limit. Building a new car and tuning it to the new rules has been a challenge but one Enders and her team are up for.

“Today was OK,” Enders said. “It was very hot, the racetrack was crazy, probably similar to what it’s going to be tomorrow. We got two good practice runs for tomorrow. It’s not going exactly how we had planned, but we don’t know how to quit. We’ll just keep digging deep and figure it out.”

Enders will square off against No. 9 qualifier Chris McGaha in the first round Sunday in an odd ladder required by a 13-car field. McGaha’s best pass was 6.646 seconds at 208.39 mph.

Enders was born and raised in Houston and is a Texas girl through and through despite now living in New Orleans with husband Richie Stevens.

“I’m glad to be back home,” Enders said. “I love Texas; I’m not shy about that. This track holds a lot of history for me and certainly a lot of special memories. It was the first track I ever raced on, back in the early 90s, and it was the first track that I won a national event on, in Super Gas. And then we were able to win back-to-back years here in Pro Stock in 2014-15.

“We’ve had lots of fun here, and I’m hopeful that trend continues.”

FOX Sports 1 will carry qualifying action from 11 p.m. to midnight, Saturday. Eliminations will air from 4 to 7 p.m., Sunday.