ZaZa Energy pro Enders leaves Atlanta with head held high
ATLANTA – ZaZa Energy NHRA Pro Stock driver Erica Enders was at her best Sunday at Atlanta Dragway, and her Cagnazzi Racing Chevrolet was plenty fast too. But Enders simply couldn't find that little bit of luck it takes to win it all at the 31st annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals.
Enders ran two of the quickest passes in Pro Stock eliminations but happened to run into the driver who ran the best pass of the weekend, 2009 series champion Mike Edwards, in the second round. Edwards went 6.581 at 209.20 mph to narrowly edge Enders' 6.611 at 208.81 mph pass.
"Mike laid down a tremendous run," Enders said. "He was .964 down low (at 60 feet), which is just absolutely unheard of, especially here at this race track."
Enders' pass would have beaten every other Pro Stock driver in the quarterfinals, and it came after running a 6.607 at 208.55 mph in the first round. Edwards went 6.605 at 209.04 mph in Round 1 to knock out Robert Patrick, matching two of the quickest cars on the property in the quarterfinals.
"After the first round, I looked at the sheet, and we were dead even," Enders said. "We both ran 6.60s, so I knew we were evenly matched. I figured if I could go up there and drill him on the tree, we would have a great chance to advance to the next round."
Enders delivered, ripping off a .016-second reaction time, and the ZaZa Chevrolet made an excellent pass, but she was a fraction of a second behind at the other end.
"For not having lane choice, we went up and did a really good job," Enders said. "The guys did a great job setting up the car. We made a very respectable run, and I was .016 on the tree – I did drill him. Our run would've beaten anybody else. It's just one of those deals. That's the way it goes some times."
Enders raised her season-long average of leaving first to 76.7 percent to maintain her statistical lead in that category.
"It makes me feel a lot better," Enders said of her Christmas Tree performance. "Coming from Houston, I knew I had to get back on my game. I went home and worked hard at it. I showed up here mad, like I said I would, and I feel good about my performance."
Enders beat Steve Kent in the first round after Kent red-lighted – though Kent would've been hard-pressed to match Enders' speed.
"I'm leaving with my head high," Enders said. "After Houston, I said I was going to work hard at it. To be able to go .016 on the tree against Mike, I'm on my game. We're going to be all right. My guys are doing an awesome job. We're looking forward to Topeka."
Enders and the ZaZa Energy team return to the track May 20-22 for the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.