SONOMA, CA – Two-time NHRA Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders has her sights set on some racing redemption in her bright red Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at the 30th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at scenic Sonoma Raceway, set in the heart of Northern California’s wine country.
“We love going to Sonoma,” Enders said. “It’s one of my favorite places to race, and let’s face it, a trip to the wine country is certainly fun and something my whole team looks forward to every year. This year I’m hoping to finally get a Wally (trophy) in Sonoma and get a little payback on the Christmas Tree after Denver.”
Enders has reached at least the semifinals in three of the previous four NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, including the latest event in Denver. However, a red-light foul start in the semifinal round on Thunder Mountain cost her a chance to race for her second national event victory of the season.
“You know, there’s a saying in baseball that essentially says if you don’t get caught stealing base sometimes then you’re not trying hard enough,” Enders said. “I completely agree. The Pro Stock class is the most competitive class in the NHRA. Sometimes you push it just a little too much and that bright red bulb comes on.
“We’ve obviously got our Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro running very well. Our performances lately attest to that. We just need to seal the deal and get more Wallys. I’m always a pretty optimistic person, but right now I have the highest amount of confidence in Richard (Freeman, team owner), Rick and Ricky Jones (crew chiefs) and our team to get the job done.”
Enders, a Houston native, has yet to race in a final round at Sonoma Raceway in her 13-year career. This weekend marks the midpoint of the NHRA’s Western Swing, three events in consecutive weekends ending in Seattle.
Last month in Epping, N.H., Enders won her first event of the season, the first win for the fan-favorite since the fall of 2015. She has collected 22 Wallys in her already legendary career.
A trip to the final round in Sonoma would not only be a first for Enders in the wine country, but it would also signify a historic milestone for the 33-year-old – 250 elimination round wins.
Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:15 and 7 p.m., Friday, and 1:10 and 4:20 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will carry the first two rounds of qualifying action live from 8-9 p.m., Friday, and live eliminations from 1-4 p.m., Sunday. (All times are local and subject to change.)