Enders-Stevens heads to Englishtown

ENGLISHTOWN — Old Bridge Township Raceway Park hasn’t exactly been kind to Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens, but she hopes to make some new history during this weekend’s Toyota NHRA Summernationals.

The venerable racetrack has been one of the highlights of the NHRA schedule for many years, and Englishtown fans are known for their love of drag racing.

Enders-Stevens has yet to score a victory in Englishtown, but husband Richie Stevens Jr. has visited victory lane during his driving career, so she’d love to follow in his footsteps.

“Englishtown has a lot of history with our sport,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s always fun to go back there. It’s been a great track to my husband; he’s won a few times there.”

Enders-Stevens has won twice in 2014 — not including the special K&N Horsepower Challenge — and leads the Pro Stock points standings after eight races. She is off to the best start of her career, thanks to a potent Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.

Enders-Stevens has qualified fifth or better in all eight races, including third or better in the previous seven. Plus, she has been the points leader in the Pro Stock standings for five consecutive races.

Going fast is nothing new for Enders-Stevens, and she hopes for quick runs this weekend after qualifying No. 2 and posting a semifinal finish in Topeka, Kan., earlier this week.

“Englishtown is usually pretty quick, providing the weather cooperates,” Enders-Stevens said. “We get to go back down to sea level, which is nice compared to being in Topeka, so we look forward to that. We’ll run quicker there.”

Englishtown also closes a three-week stretch of consecutive races. After this event, NHRA teams get a week off before starting a four-race stretch. Preparation is crucial to making it through this time of the year, and Enders-Stevens is confident in her Elite team.

“It’s the last race of a three-race swing,” Enders-Stevens said. “We get one week off to catch up in our engine department, and then we get four events in a row. It’ll be pretty grueling, especially in the middle of the summer, but we can handle it.”

Four rounds of Pro Stock qualifying will feature sessions at 4 and 6:15 p.m., Friday, and 12:45 and 3:15 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations are slated to start at 11 a.m., Sunday. Both qualifying and elimination action will be broadcast on ESPN2.