HOUSTON, TX — The 29th annual NHRA SpringNationals this weekend at Royal Purple Raceway didn’t go exactly as Erica Enders had hoped, and it certainly didn’t go as well as the 2014 and 2015 races for the two-time Pro Stock champion.
Enders, who won her home race here the last two years, fell in the first round in 2016 with her ShirleysKids.org/Elite Motorsports Dodge Dart.
“Winning only makes you want to win more, and when you don’t you’re clearly disappointed,” Enders said. “We’ve had a lot of fun here the last couple of years, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be this time around. That’s OK; it only makes all of us fight that much harder to get back to the winner’s circle.”
Enders was born and raised in Houston before moving to New Orleans several years ago to live with her husband, Richie Stevens. She remains a Texas girl at heart, and she still has family and friends in the Houston area.
Plus, Royal Purple Raceway is home to her first career race, in a Jr. Dragster at age 8, and to her first career national event victory, in Super Gas in 2004. Ten years later, she won here in Pro Stock and then repeated a season later.
“I’ve said it before, but I love coming to Texas,” Enders said. “I really loved it the last two years, and I still love it even though we lost today. We’ll be back.”
Enders’ pass of 6.659 seconds at 207.18 mph was quicker than Chris McGaha’s 6.668-second pass at 206.26 mph, but McGaha was a tick quicker with his reaction time, and he got to the finish first by about three feet.
“No excuses: I got beat on the Tree,” Enders said. “I pride myself on doing my job on the line and with my shifts, and I didn’t get it done today. I’ll be back.”
The NHRA Mello Yello tour takes a weekend off before returning to action May 13-15 with the Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.