NORWALK, Ohio — For Elite Motorsports Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens, Independence Day is a reminder of all the people who helped make the United States the country it is.
The Pro Stock points leader has shown her patriotism in various forms over the years, including visiting military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Gulf War. She now serves as a spokesperson for Hot Rods for Heroes, an organization dedicated to honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifices for our freedoms.
“It’s an important day for our country, and we need to remember how blessed we are to have the troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us to remain free and do what we love to do,” Enders-Stevens said as she prepares to race at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals this weekend at Summit Motorsports Park. “July 4 always helps me keep everything in perspective.”
July 4 is an important holiday for Summit Motorsports Park, as the Bader family traditionally holds a big fireworks show during the race weekend. This weekend, the show will be on July 4.
“They have the best fireworks show around,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve got a little buddy named Robert who races Jr. Dragsters there, and every year he comes by my pit to get me and we go watch the fireworks together. I always look forward to that.”
Enders-Stevens also looks forward to the friendliness and professionalism of the entire Summit Motorsports Park staff, from track president Bill Bader Jr. on down. The track has long been known for its hospitality to racers and fans.
Enders-Stevens hasn’t exactly been hospitable to the Pro Stock class this year, as she leads the standings by 190 points at the halfway mark of the season. She has won three times in four final-round appearances — not including the special K&N Horsepower Challenge race in Las Vegas — and is yet to lose in the first round.
After qualifying No. 5 at the season-opener, Enders-Stevens has qualified first or second in 10 of the 11 races since.
But the Elite Motorsports team will not sit on its hands.
“There is absolutely no complacency,” Enders-Stevens said. “Things are just going to get more difficult as the year goes on. We really want to be on top at the end of the year, and we’ve got to remain hungry, consistent, and give it our all.”
Qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals will be held at 4:45 and 7:15 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all qualifying and elimination action.