Quick reaction the key to finals win
The impressive numbers keep piling up for Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens after winning the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Summit Motorsports Park. But perhaps her proudest number was .015, as in her reaction time in seconds in the final round against Dave Connolly. That allowed her to get a quick lead, and her pass of 6.632 seconds at 210.14 was more than enough to send her to victory lane.
"I'm proud of my team," Enders-Stevens said. "They put a great race car under me. You have to leave the emotion out of it, regardless of how I feel, regardless of how he feels. When I go up there, it's all about my team, my car, our lane, me, and that Tree. I've got to get my job done and not think about any of the negative things. We were able to do that today, and a big reason is because we have a really fast, consistent race car."
Enders-Stevens also exorcised some personal demons that have plagued her over the last few races. Every NHRA driver has lost on holeshots in their career, but Enders-Stevens was determined to not let that happen this weekend, especially after grabbing the No. 1 qualifier.
The pole winner hasn't won in Pro Stock since the U.S. Nationals last year, but Enders-Stevens and her team wanted that streak to end in Norwalk.
"When we got it I was like, 'All right, it's our job to bust it.' " Enders-Stevens said. "I'm just glad we could get it done, and that's a big part of this game: Having a positive mental attitude and focusing on the things you want and not dwelling on the negative things or the distractions on the outside."
And she joined Sampey (41 victories) and Muldowney (18) as the only females with double-digit wins.
"It's crazy to have my name on a list like that," Enders-Stevens said. "Shirley's a legend and has been a mentor to me. Angelle's been great, too. She's a friend of mine and lives 20 minutes from our house in New Orleans.
"They're two extremely talented ladies who are passionate about our sport. They were able to break down the barriers so girls of this generation can do what we do. I'm appreciative of them for that. To have our name on a list with those two names is pretty significant and means a lot to me."
Enders-Stevens missed on getting the 100th victory by a female in NHRA, but she'd love to give Chevrolet its 200th win in Pro Stock.
"That would be very cool," Enders-Stevens said. "The 100th win for females is very significant and we were 99 and 101, so we missed it by a little, but 200 for Chevy would be very cool. We certainly have the hot rod to do it, and I'm driving better.
"We're not focusing on the big picture. Let's just focus on the task at hand, and that's one day, one round at a time. We were able to execute that way."
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