Reigning champ Erica Enders on a season-long high as Sonoma race approaches

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SONOMA, CA — Fresh off her most encouraging outing of the year, back-to-back and reigning Pro Stock champion Erica Enders is anxious to get to Northern California for this weekend’s Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.

Enders qualified a season-best second on the Denver elimination ladder and logged an elimination round-win before parts failure cost her just enough time to lose her second-round race against Allen Johnson. Nevertheless, the huge uptick in performance has the entire Elite/Mopar Dodge Dart race team feeling better about themselves.

“I think with the gains we made in Denver we can definitely carry those to Sonoma and continue to work on making the car better, making better runs, and me driving awesome,” Enders said. “That definitely is the goal in Sonoma: To pick up where we left off in Denver and go in an even more upward direction.”

It has been a catch-up year for Enders and company as the team switched manufacturers just as NHRA implemented the biggest rules-package changes in class history. Enders went from two years of dominating Pro Stock to fighting just to stay in the field for this year’s Countdown to the Championship. She currently sits nine points outside the top 10.

“We definitely need to make up some ground in the points,” Enders said. “With four races left before the countdown starts, we’re the one car sitting on the outside looking in, but only by a few points. I’m looking forward to heading to Sonoma, the second stop on the Western Swing, and making up some ground. If we have truly turned the corner, it’s coming at a perfect time.

“I’ve never won at Sonoma before, but it’s one of my favorite tracks on the tour. Where it’s located, being in wine country, sure doesn’t hurt! I’m definitely excited to race there. It’s been a goal of mine to win at Sonoma for some time because of it being one of my favorite stops. We’re looking forward to going back there.”

Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:30 and 7 p.m., Friday, and 1:10 and 4:15 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air qualifying action from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Friday, and 7 to 8 p.m., Saturday. FOX will carry eliminations live from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in PT).