Her pre-race routine includes talking to her dad before every run, something she’ll do this weekend before driving her turbocharged Elite Motorsports Camaro in Pro Mod. It’s ritual at this point, but as she races on Father’s Day Weekend, it’s also a reminder of how much he has meant to Enders’ career.
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at without my dad,” said Enders, a two-time Pro Stock world champion. “Had my dad not been my hero, I wouldn’t have wanted to fall in his footsteps. It’s been really nice to have my family with me every step of the way. I don’t think we would be as close as we are without drag racing. “I talk to my dad before every single run in the car, whether it’s just some last-minute coaching tips, visualizing what I want to do or just having a positive mental attitude. He’s 100 percent the reason why I do this, so we’ll do our best to give him a trophy.”
TOPEKA, KS – A strong run by Erica Enders in her turbocharged Elite Motorsports Camaro made sure things didn’t get a lot worse during a first-round Pro Mod matchup with Jeremy Ray at Sunday’s NHRA Heartland Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park.
Ray got loose near half-track, went left and then darted back to the middle, shooting across both lanes and going hard into the right wall. He narrowly missed Enders, who went a strong 5.808 at 258.57 mph to claim the first-round win and just escape colliding with Ray, who got out of the car under his own power.
“He’s a blower car and I was a little behind at the start of the race, but as my boost starting rolling in, I got up next to him and could see him out of my peripheral vision,” Enders said. “I saw the right corner of his car turn and I could see him come across. Fortunately I was on a good run.”
Now in her second season racing in NHRA Pro Mod, Enders wouldn’t mind another great weekend in Topeka as part of the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties. It is the sixth of 12 races during the NHRA Pro Mod season, and Enders hopes to build on her early-season momentum in her turbocharged Camaro from RJ Race Cars.
“It’s a really nice facility with some awesome people, and it’s a track I really enjoy going to,” Enders said. “We’re optimistic. We struggled with my car in Richmond, but we figured out some of the problems and hopefully we can apply that this weekend in Topeka.”
The first-round loss in Richmond was the rare rough spot in what has otherwise been a solid year for Enders and her Elite Motorsports team in Pro Mod.
JOLIET, IL – Erica Enders left Route 66 Raceway with a pair of holeshot victories, her 300th (and 301st) career round win and her first final round appearance of 2019. She also left the Route 66 NHRA Nationals with something just as important – her confidence.
The two-time Pro Stock world champion wasn’t alone in that regard, either. The entire Elite Motorsports team had a get-well weekend, spurred by a pre-race meeting that gave the entire team a jolt of much-needed confidence.
It played out during the weekend, as Enders used a pair of holeshots – one against team owner Richard Freeman – to advance to the final round before falling to Deric Kramer.
“The biggest piece we were lacking was confidence in ourselves,” Enders said. “It was about identifying that and working on it, and it was definitely helpful. I could sense the confidence of my crew chiefs in their voices and I feed off that. All of those little things are important and this weekend was a big step in the right direction.”
Racing at the site of her career Pro Stock win might also provide the perfect setting for it all to happen.
Enders became the first female in Pro Stock history to win a race when she broke through at Chicago in 2012, and the 23-time event winner will return there for this weekend’s 22nd Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway looking for her first victory in 2019.
“Chicago has been home to some great moments,” Enders said. “It’s been really good to us and I’m excited to head back there. We’ll only be racing Pro Stock, so I’m excited to just focus on that deal as well. It’s a great track and I love racing there. It definitely helps going to places where you’ve done well.”
DINWIDDIE, VA – After a six-week layoff, Pro Stock is back and Erica Enders couldn’t be more excited. That the class is returning at Virginia Motorsports Park, the site of this weekend’s Virginia NHRA Nationals, makes it even better for the two-time world champion.
The NHRA returned to the facility last year for the first time in nearly a decade, wowing every competitor and fan that entered the gates. It has Enders eager to be back in a Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Camaro she hasn’t campaigned since early April with Pro Stock’s new 18-race schedule.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been out of the Pro Stock car this long,” Enders said. “I’m excited and anxious to get back at it. I love going back to Richmond. The Franklin family (who own the track), they’re racers and they get it. The way they treat people from the time you pull in, it all shows how much it matters to them. I’m excited to go back and I know how awesome that track surface is.”
COMMERCE, Ga. – It was a beneficial three-race Pro Mod stretch for Erica Enders, but the two-time world champion is ready to add Pro Stock back to the mix.
This weekend’s Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway marked the last of a three-race stretch where Enders and her Elite Motorsports team solely raced in Pro Mod. Despite a first-round loss, it was a highly beneficial stretch for the team in their new Pro Mod venture, but Enders is ready to add Pro Stock into her busy schedule again.
“I’m very excited to get back to what I know in Pro Stock. That’s my jam,” Enders said. “I’m excited to have that back. It was definitely beneficial to have three races where it was just Pro Mod and we made a lot of progress.
“It was good to focus on that program, but getting back into the swing of things with two classes, that’s the most exciting thing for me. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the two cars.”