PHOENIX, AZ — While Danica Patrick made women’s history in Daytona, KLR Group driver Erica Enders-Stevens rallied back from an early exit last weekend to claim her 5th career NHRA Pro Stock win at the 29th annual Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway outside of Phoenix.
Driving the Cagnazzi Racing-powered GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt from the number seven qualifying position, Erica advanced over Shane Gray in the first round before facing number two qualifier V. Gaines. With identical elapsed times of 6.533 seconds, Erica out-drove Gaines, posting a .033 reaction time to his .074. With the holeshot win, she advanced to a semi final matchup against 2-time champion Jason Line.
With lane choice in Line’s favor, Erica’s pass of 6.563 @ 212.19 mph bested Line, who shook the tires early and ended his run with a 6.619 @ 212.76 mph. She would advance to face Mike Edwards, whose Camaro dominated qualifying, claiming the number one spot for the second race in a row.
Yet in the final it was all Erica. Scoring a massive .053 second jump, she nailed her 2nd holeshot win of the event, beating Edwards to the finish line by over 10 feet with a 6.538 @ 211.99 to his 6.520 @ 213.74.
“Going into the final we knew we had to pull out all the stops,” said Erica. “The way we started this year, it was a gut check to see if we could get back to last year’s performance level.”
During last weekend’s Winternationals in Pomona, Enders-Stevens’ number three qualifying advantage was cut short by a crushing engine failure during the first round of eliminations, allowing Kurt Johnson to claim the win light.
But with Sunday’s win, Erica has rebounded to 2nd place in overall Pro Stock points with 155, trailing Vincent Nobile’s 171. She also joins Nobile as the first Pro Stock drivers to capture a Wally in the new NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and the second woman, alongside Funny Car driver Courtney Force.