Pro Stock champ Erica Enders knows success is close at hand

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EPPING, NH — While strapped in her Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge for the second qualifying session, two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders let out a loud cheer that was audible to those near her race car.

Enders was cheering on teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s solid run, knowing her Elite Motorsports team may have turned a corner at this weekend’s NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway.

“Jeg and Vincent (Nobile) both made strides in the right direction this weekend,” Enders said. “We’re not going to be far behind them.”

Nobile, driving an Elite Chevrolet, qualified No. 3, and Coughlin, in an identical Dodge to Enders’, qualified No. 7. Enders’ best pass was 6.631 seconds at 209.56 mph, and while the elapsed time is a tick off the best cars, the speed was an improvement.

The 2016 season hasn’t started as Enders and her team had hoped because development of the new Dodge Dart with fuel-injected engines has been tedious, but with improvement from Coughlin and Nobile, Enders knows better days are ahead.

“We hope for some better results Sunday, but either way, this weekend has definitely given our entire Elite Motorsports team a breath of fresh air and has shown that their hard work is starting to pay off,” Enders said. “We’ll keep working hard at it and continue to move in the right direction. We’ll catch up.”

Enders and her Elite team were unable to take advantage of cooler weather Friday, when Coughlin and Nobile made their better passes.

“Not making a great run Friday in better conditions got us a little behind the eight ball, but that’s part of the program,” Enders said. “This last run (in Q4), we hurt a motor, so we’ll be putting a new bullet in for race day.”

Whether that race day is Sunday or another day depends on the weather. The local forecast calls for a 100 percent chance of rain on Sunday, but Enders is hopeful of getting the race in.

“It looks like it’s lighter rain in the morning, and it’s not supposed to get bad until the afternoon, so hopefully it’ll miss us a little bit and we can get the race in tomorrow,” Enders said. “Either way, it’s great to be up here in Epping. I really enjoy racing here. The fans are awesome, and they really love Pro Stock. That’s refreshing.”

Eliminations are scheduled to start at noon, Sunday, and will air on FOX Sports 1 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.