LAS VEGAS, NV — In a city that lives on numbers, Erica Enders is looking to roll “7” on Sunday when the 17th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals turn to elimination racing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Enders won six consecutive races here in her championship years of 2014 and 2015, including both the spring and fall national events and back-to-back K&N Horsepower Challenges.
“We know the way to the winner’s circle here, that’s for sure,” Enders said. “It’s pretty crazy because this car feels just about as strong as the ones I had those two years. We made some big changes to the car after St. Louis and it has been working way better since then, both in Dallas and here this weekend. We’re kind of getting excited.”
Enders’ McLeod Clutches Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro has looked sharp during qualifying with runs of 6.704 at 205.72 mph, 6.687 at 206.42 mph, 6.708 at 205.26 mph and 6.715 at 204.79 mph. Her best pass of 6.687 slotted her sixth in the elimination field, setting up a first-round battle with good friend Allen Johnson, who qualified 11th with a 6.717 at 203.25 mph.
“We’ve got race day in Vegas and race day in Pomona and that’s all we’ve got left for the year so we are going to do our best to finish strong,” Enders said. “The car is definitely running better. We’re not exactly where we want to be but it is directionally correct for the time being so we are definitely pleased.”
Currently sixth in the points, Enders is hoping another victory this year — she already won in Epping, N.H. — will help her climb higher in the final rankings.
“Tomorrow will be a tough day but Vegas is my track,” Enders said. “I’m definitely driving better. I’m going into tomorrow with a lot of optimism and positivity and high hopes.
“If I can beat Allen it will help my teammate Jeg Coughlin because he’s right behind Allen, plus it’ll keep us moving in the right direction. Anything less than the championship after you’ve won it in the past is a letdown but we want to win every race we enter so if we do that and we move up a few spots, that’ll work.”
Pro Stock eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will carry live eliminations from 1-4 p.m., Sunday. (All times are local and subject to change.)