TOPEKA, KS — A round-win — any round-win — in the Pro Stock class of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series can be hard to come by, even if it comes against your teammate, so two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders was definitely smiling after beating Elite Motorsports teammate Drew Skillman in the first round of the NHRA Kansas Nationals on Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka.
She lost in the second round to No. 1 qualifier Jason Line after a terrific effort on the starting line, but getting a round-win was a positive for the 2015 Topeka winner.
“At this point, you take them as you can get them,” Enders said. “It stinks in the first place that my teammate and I had to race first round, but when it comes down to it, it’s a round-win for our Elite Motorsports Dodge Dart. Round-wins are hard to come by these days. We’ll just keep working at it.”
Enders and her Elite team switched to a new Dodge Dart for 2016, all the while dealing with new fuel-injected engines. Line’s KB Racing team has won all seven races to date as others have tried to catch up.
“People are slowly starting to pick away at it,” Enders said. “You see other cars running better, so it’s definitely out there for us. I know that when we come across it, it’s going to be great and they’re going to be in trouble again, but until that point, we’ve got to stay positive and keep working. That’s all we can do.”
Enders got the win light in the first round when Skillman left .002-second too soon, but her pass of 6.706 at 205.79 mph lost her lane choice in the second round to Line.
Enders was stellar on the Christmas Tree in round two with a .014 light to Line’s .041, but she couldn’t hold him off. Her pass of 6.725 at 204.98 mph wasn’t enough to defeat Line’s 6.661 at 207.85 mph.
“When I unclutched it, I knew I was good,” Enders said. “The first three gears I didn’t see him, so I thought maybe we had a chance, but I plugged it in high gear, and Jason came around me. I saw him come by me.”
Enders and her Richard Freeman-owned team continue to make strides with their program, inching toward the top of the Pro Stock charts.
“We have the right attitudes,” Enders said. “We have the right mindset, we have tremendous work ethic. The stars aren’t lining up for us at the moment, but they will, and when they do, it’s game on.”