Rough launch negates Erica Enders’ chance at Englishtown glory

Erica Enders | Englishtown, NJ 2016 NHRA

ENGLISHTOWN, NJ — Two-time and reigning Pro Stock champion Erica Enders did something very few drivers have managed to do over the years: leave the starting line ahead of five-time series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. But despite her quick start — an .038 reaction time to Coughlin’s .046 start — her Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge Dart began to rattle its giant rear slicks right away, allowing teammate Coughlin to pass her in the first few feet of the race and streak away fro the victory.

Enders fought to get her car under control and did manage to finish her pass with an elapsed time of 6.812 at 206.70 mph, but Coughlin was too far ahead, crossing with a 6.708 at 207.56 mph.

“We’re analyzing the data right now,” Enders said. “We’re still a work in progress. It’s tough to take at times because we certainly got used to winning these last two years, but I know I’ve got the best team in the world and I’m completely positive we’ll get these cars figured out.

“Jeg is running better and Vincent (Nobile, teammate) is really doing well, so all the indicators are there that we’re gaining ground. It’s not happening fast enough for my liking but I’m working on my patience. The good Lord only gives us what we can handle, and we’ve been so blessed the last two years that we will not complain one bit.”

Up next for Enders and crew is the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, which start Friday at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee.

“I’m pumped for Bristol because we’ve won that race the last two years,” Enders said. “We’re going to get our stuff together one of these days and Bristol would be the perfect spot to do it. Having a trophy to give my dad (Gregg Enders) the last two years was really special and continuing the streak would be super rewarding.

“We will continue to try our best. There is no quit in this pit.”

Today’s eliminations will air from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1.