NORWALK, OH — As the driver of the lower qualified car in the less-favored left-hand lane, two-time world champion Erica Enders knew a stellar reaction time would help her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro race team tremendously in their Sunday morning match-up with teammate Vincent Nobile.
Unfortunately, Enders dropped the clutch a fraction of a second early, drawing a -.004 second red-light disqualification, which negated her quicker pass of 6.583 seconds at 210.93 mph. Nobile took the victory at the start and then ran a 6.595 at 210.37 mph to advance to the quarterfinals of the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
“There’s no excuse for a red light,” Enders said. “I just left too early and that cost us the win, plain and simple. I feel bad for the guys because Rick and Rickie (Jones, co-crew chiefs) had a great tune-up for the conditions and we would have won under most situations, but woulda, shoulda, coulda…I didn’t get it done.
“I’m continually amazed at the talent on this team and the togetherness we share. I’m the only one beating myself up. Everyone else is saying, ‘don’t worry E, we’ll get ’em next time.’ We win and lose as a team and today didn’t go our way. At least our Elite Performance teammate Vincent advanced. Hopefully he takes his Mountain View Tires Camaro all the way to the winner’s circle. If not him, then our other teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr.”
After four national events in a row, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will take a weekend off before starting the second half of the 24-race season July 7-9 with the 20th annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals near Chicago.
“Elite cars have been in five straight finals and six of the last seven finals coming into this race,” Enders said. “I won Epping and Alex (Laughlin) won Bristol. Me, Jeg and Vincent also have runner-up finishes. We’re definitely in the mix every weekend and we’ll go home from here, take a little break, and get ready to crush ’em in Chicago.”
FOX Sports 1 programming of today’s race begins at 6 p.m. ET, Sunday.