Hometown: Houston, TX
Current: New Orleans, LA
Husband: Richie Stevens Jr.
That simple statement from Pro Stock sensation Erica Enders encapsulates her life and goals in the 200+ mph world of professional NHRA drag racing. Although Enders is still young, she is a veteran driver, having driven race cars since the age of eight.
In 1992, Enders joined the first wave of kids to race in the new Jr. Dragster class. The NHRA formed the category to help foster tomorrow’s drag racing stars, while giving families a fun activity to do together on the weekends. Erica won the second event of her career, in an all female final. That car is now in the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, CA.
Enders’ need for speed continued after her Jr. Dragster years. After success in the Sportsman ranks, Erica realized her life-long dream in late 2004 by becoming a professional race car driver for Cagnazzi Racing. By mid 2006, the newest star in drag racing had campaigned her way to set new records for a female Pro Stock driver.
After leaving Cagnazzi Racing in mid 2006 to drive for a number of other teams, Erica returned in 2011, picking up right where she left off. she continued making history in 2011, finishing the season number 6, the highest finish for a female in Pro Stock. That year, Erica also set a new national speed record in Gainesville, Florida, which she held on to for over a year. Then, on July 1st, 2012, Erica reached another milestone, becoming the first female Pro Stock even winner in NHRA history.
She continued her 2012 success with a total of four event wins and a 4th place overall finish. And at the start of 2013, she came back strong with her 5th win in just the second race of the season, then defended her 2012 St. Louis victory with another Wally.
In 2014 Erica joined Elite Motorsports, LLC., creating a dynamic team with sights set firmly on their first Championship.
The team came out strong, winning a total of six national events and the K&N Horsepower Challenge, including Erica’s first win at her home track just outside Houston, TX.
Then on November 16th, 2014 in Pomona, California, that goal was realized in dramatic fashion when Erica Enders-Stevens was crowned the first female Pro Stock Champion after a thrilling Countdown that went all the way to the final round of the final race.
“Teamwork makes the dream work,” said Erica of a dream come true, “and that’s perfect proof that with the right group of people anything is possible and that’s all through God. I’ve got the right group, a group that stands behind me, and we have a blast together. That’s what it’s all about. Win, lose, or draw we love each other and that’s all that matters.”
The dream came true twice over when, in 2015, Erica came back even stronger, collecting 9 event wins, including the US Nationals at Indianapolis, her 2nd K&N Horsepower Challenge win, and her 2nd NHRA Pro Stock Championship.
The beginning of the 2016 season has seen big changes. In addition to a switch to EFI fuel injection, MOPAR joins Elite Motorsports, fielding two Dodge Dart GT’s with Erica and teammate, 5-time Pro Stock Champ Jeg Coughlin Jr.