SONOMA, CA — A late night in the Elite Motorsports pit produced a massive turnaround for two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders, who had struggled mightily through two days of qualifying for this weekend’s 30th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Unfortunately, despite posting her best run of the meet by far, Enders came up just short in her first-round race with three-time 2017 winner Bo Butner.
“That was definitely a huge step in the right direction considering we basically got zero data from four really off-pace qualifying passes,” Enders said. “I’m really so proud of my team for hanging in there and persevering even when there was barely a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel yesterday afternoon.”
After topping out at 6.949 at 211.89 mph during time trials, Enders’ crew, led by the father/son duo of Rick and Rickie Jones, got her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro fixed overnight, producing a very competitive 6.567-second run at 212.13 mph. Second-place qualifier Butner was just slightly quicker, taking the win with a 6.549 at 212.03 mph.
“Had we made that run right there in the fourth qualifying session we would have positioned ourselves much differently on the ladder,” Enders said. “Had that been the case, I think today’s turnout could have been the winner’s circle but as my team owner says, ‘If crickets had pistols, the birds wouldn’t mess with them.’
“No one usually cares about the ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda,’ but in this case I do because, in my opinion, I have the smartest guys in the business working on my car. We have literally been stumped for a handful of races but what just happened is a huge step in the right direction and definitely gives us some hope heading up to Seattle. Now we have something to work with.”
The 30th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals are scheduled for Aug. 4-6 at Pacific Raceways.
“Today gave us a huge injection of hope and we’ll go on to Seattle a little more confident,” Enders said. “The main thing is we want to be up and running at the top of the charts by the time the Countdown starts. We’ve got three more races so we’ll get this Melling Performance Chevrolet Camaro tuned up by then and give it hell from there.”