BRISTOL, TN — Two-time Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders came up two feet short of what would have been her third final-round appearance of the 2017 season after a close semifinal contest with class points leader Bo Butner Sunday afternoon at Bristol Dragway.
After beating Alan Prusiensky and one of her Elite Motorsports’ teammates, Vincent Nobile, earlier in the day, Enders got a .007-second jump on Butner in their race and held the lead until somewhere around halftrack when the winner of the Houston and Atlanta races passed her and inched away to take the finish line stripe by .006 seconds.
“I definitely had a car that could win today and I feel like I let my guys down a little bit, unfortunately,” said Enders, who won Epping and was runner-up in Atlanta. “All we needed was for me to be six-thou (.006 seconds) better on the tree to beat Bo but I was only .026. I still left first but I didn’t do my job behind the wheel good enough to get us the win.
“This one’s on me because I didn’t kill it on the starting line and I can tell you it stings pretty good but now I’m gonna brew on it and get pissed off enough that I’ll drive my butt off next weekend in Norwalk. We want another win as soon as possible and Norwalk is next on the schedule.”
The official numbers had Butner winning with a 6.732 at 205.44 mph to Enders’ 6.745 at 205.01 mph in her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.
“Bo’s been great all year that’s why he’s No. 1 in the points,” Enders said. “To be the best we need to beat the best and we had a good chance right there. Congrats to him and his team. We’ll be looking for them next time.”
Enders day started with a fairly pedestrian victory over Alan Prusiensky. She earned a .060-second head-start with a superior reaction time and never looked back, driving away for the win with a 6.742 at 205.38 mph to Prusiensky’s 6.807 at 203.61 mph.
After losing to good friend Nobile the last time they raced in the opening round at Topeka, Enders managed to improve this year’s head-to-head record against the New Yorker to 3-1 with a come-from-behind win of 6.761 seconds at 204.88 mph to Nobile’s tire-shaking 16.442 at 49.55 mph.
“All of these Elite Motorsports cars are running well,” Enders said. “Alex Laughlin is the last one standing and he’s got Bo in the final so we’ll be pulling for him. Jeg (Coughlin Jr.) was No. 1 qualifier here and I had to race Vincent in the quarterfinals but it was cool to see four Elite cars as part of the final eight today. We’ll be seeing a lot more of that every race.”
The final race of four-in-a-row is up next with next weekend’s 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. FOX Sports 1 will air the Bristol race beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET, Sunday.