COMMERCE, GA — Two-time world champion Erica Enders’ 21 national event trophies places her second on the all-time list of female professional drag racers, but the Houston, Texas, native has yet to score one at Atlanta Dragway, something she’d love to change Sunday at the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals.
“Atlanta is one on the to-do list for sure,” Enders said. “We’ll get there. Our performances across the board have been trending up all year and if we’d been able to make four runs here instead of two we’d have shown a little better. No matter what, we’re in the top half of the field and we’re ready to battle.
“We’ve had a lot of different winners in the class this year and that shows the parity we deal with every week. Anyone that qualifies is capable of winning and if you’re not 100-percent on your game, you can get beat in a hurry. After getting timed out last week in Charlotte, I will definitely plan to get some redemption tomorrow.”
Qualifying for the Pro Stock class was shortened to Saturday’s two runs, with Friday’s rainstorms wiping out the first two sessions on the schedule. Even so, Enders was a picture of consistency, opening with a 6.614 at 209.10 mph before dipping to a 6.603 at 210.21 mph in her powerful Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.
The run was good enough for sixth place on the race day grid and sets up a first-round race with Alan Prusiensky, who topped out at 6.647 at 207.98 mph in qualifying 11th overall.
“We have a good car, although one that we changed quite a lot on between last weekend and now,” Enders said. “Like I said, we really wanted all four qualifying runs to make sure the changes we made are showing up in the data. So far so good with the two runs we did get to make, but having two more runs would have given us a chance to move even higher on the qualifying ladder.
“Last week me and Jeg (Coughlin Jr., teammate) qualified 1-2 on the ladder, which really got everyone’s attention. When we lost Friday, we played it a little safer today to make absolutely sure we got down the track both runs. I think everyone was cautious. Throw that out the window for tomorrow, though, we want to win.”
Pro Stock with eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. Television coverage on FOX Sports airs at 6 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in EDT).