READING, Pa. (Oct. 8) - KLR Group driver Erica Enders said counting her out of the 2012 Pro Stock championship would be a mistake, even after a tough second-round defeat in the rain-delayed 28th annual Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
"We'll just carry on and pick up and go to Vegas," said Enders, who celebrated her 29th birthday Monday. "We're running out of time to catch A.J., but I'm confident in my team and my guys, and we'll see what happens."
Enders qualified No. 2 at Maple Grove - the seventh time in the last eight races she's been fourth or better - and then won her first-round matchup against Kurt Johnson on Sunday. Enders' pass was 6.525 seconds at 212.56 mph that beat Johnson's 6.596-second pass at 210.60 mph.
That put her up against four-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin, one of the best in the sport on the Christmas Tree. Enders, though, left first with a .022-second reaction time, but her 6.589-second pass at 212.43 mph was unable to hold off Coughlin's run of 6.523 seconds at 211.63 mph.
"We lost lane choice by a few thou, and that would have helped," Enders said. "Shoulda, coulda, woulda. I let the clutch out and it blew the tires off. I grabbed second gear, blew them off worse than in first gear, same with third. I was just grabbing gears until I found one that worked. It was a crazy run. We had to do all that and we still ran a 6.58 at 212. It was crazy.
"Third and fourth gear, it started spinning up and heading toward the center line. I saw Jeg right there and we came up just short."
Enders could have picked up points on Johnson, who lost in the second round to her GK Motorsports teammate, Dave Connolly.
"It's really unfortunate because my teammate took out Allen," Enders said, "and that would have been a good day to make up some ground."
But Enders and her team remain optimistic, and with good reason. Enders has four wins in the last 11 races, with two other final-round appearances, two No. 1 qualifiers and two track records overt that span.
"We gave it everything we had," Enders said. "There's no reason to hang our heads. I left on Jeg, drove hard and the guys gave me the best setup that they knew how. This is hard."
Source; GK Motorsports