BRISTOL, TN — On this Father’s Day weekend, the words of two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders’ dad have even more meaning to the defending Bristol Dragway winner.
Gregg Enders preached positivity to Erica as she moved up the ranks of NHRA drag racing, and she’ll remember those as she races her Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge in the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on Sunday at Bristol Dragway.
“His message is always the same,” Enders said. “He’s where I get the quote that I use all the time: ‘Do your best and let God do the rest.’ You can only control so much. I’m a firm believer in, ‘I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.’ It’s on the back glass of my race car and is a big part of my motivation.
“But when you go up there, it doesn’t matter how far behind you are or what you have or haven’t accomplished in the past. It’s all about that moment with my car, my lane, and my guys. It’s up to us, and right now we’re at a disadvantage, but that doesn’t stop me from having a positive mental attitude and believing with all my heart that we’re going to be successful.”
Enders has struggled to repeat her success of 2014-15, when she won 15 races and the Pro Stock championship each year. Her best pass of 6.746 seconds at 205.10 mph puts her in the No. 10 spot, and she’ll race Elite Motorsports teammate Vincent Nobile in the first round Sunday.
Nobile qualified No. 5 — the 14-car field makes for unusual first-round matchups — with a top lap of 6.700 seconds at 205.85 mph.
Enders is coming into Sunday on a two-race winning streak in Bristol. Plus, she went to the final round in 2013 and 2011.
“Bristol is my absolutely most favorite racetrack in the country,” Enders said. “Not because of our recent success here, but because of the part of the country that it’s in. When you’re all strapped in your Pro Stock car and you’re fixing to do your burnout, you look down the racetrack and it’s amazing. There’s not another race facility that we go to that’s like Bristol.
“I really enjoy coming here. We’ve had a lot of success here the last four years with two wins and two runner-up finishes. To do that for my dad on Father’s Day the last couple of years was certainly a lot of fun.”
Eliminations start at 1 p.m., Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air eliminations from 4 to 7 p.m.