[Source: Drag Illustrated]
A video appeared on the NHRA Facebook page earlier this week showing the 2015 Pro Stock final round at the U.S. Nationals, as Erica Enders picked up one of the most memorable wins of her standout career.
While Enders watched the video on social media this week, it wasn’t to try to relive the emotion of that major victory. Those memories are already fully engrained for the two-time world champion.
“I remember everything about that weekend,” Enders said. “It’s one of the races that will stand out most to me. As a kid growing up, and as a fan and spectator before I ever became a racer, it was the most prestigious race in NHRA drag racing and it still is that way. To add my name to the list who have win in Indy is pretty significant for me.”
Enders rode that momentum to her second straight world title in 2015 and she would like to see that scenario repeat itself in 2019 approaching the 12th of 18 races in the Pro Stock season. After a final round appearance in Brainerd, Enders appears to be peaking at the perfect time in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Camaro.
It was the best weekend of the 2019 season for the 23-time event winner, and now she looks to take the next step at the biggest race of the year.
“We’re ready to get back to the track and hopefully turn on one more win light,” Enders said. “This team has remained determined and persevered a lot, and hopefully that will allow us to peak at the right time. We made eight good runs in a row in Brainerd and hopefully that’s a good indication of what’s to come. You have to have all your ducks in a row at Indy, but obviously our goal is to win the race and position ourselves the best we can for the Countdown to the Championship.”
Enders is currently seventh in Pro Stock points, but with the points-and-a-half system in play at Indy, a strong showing at the Big Go could vault her into the top five heading into the playoffs.
“Every point matters and I need to have a really great showing,” said Enders, who has two final-round appearances in 2019. “This is the most meaningful time of the year and you have to have your stuff together.”
After battling through a variety of issues all year, those seem to be behind Enders and her standout team. But the intensity is only amplified from here on out, which is often where Enders has thrived throughout her career. She hopes it brings out the best in her again this weekend at Indy.
“I love these moments,” Enders said. “These are the parts I enjoy most. I like the added pressure and I like when there’s a lot on the line. My team is the same way. You have to treat this race as a marathon, and not a sprint. It’s definitely grueling, but we’re ready to battle it out.”
The first of five Mello Yello Series qualifying sessions is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. on Friday. Two more sessions will take to the track on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., and the final two qualifying sessions will take place on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday.
FOX national broadcast and FS1 will televise coverage of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, starting with qualifying on Sunday on FS1 at 2 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST. The broadcasts continue on FS1 with two hours of live coverage of eliminations on Monday at 11 a.m. EST, continuing live on FOX at 1 p.m. EST.