Prepping for Atlanta race, Pro Stock's best leaver gets better in Bristol test
ATLANTA (May 11) -- Pro Stock driver Erica Enders is having a big season behind the wheel of her ZaZa Energy Chevrolet Cobalt. The 27-year-old from Houston already set a national speed record, has rung up round wins at every event on the schedule, carded a top qualifier award, and perhaps most impressively, leads the Pro Stock class at the Christmas Tree, leaving first off the start line a whopping 73.1 percent of the time.
But far be it for the most prolific female racer in class history to rest on her early season accomplishments. Instead, Enders and her Cagnazzi Racing teammates recently headed to Bristol Dragway for an intensive test session to prepare themselves for this weekend's 31st annual Summit NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
"I worked on getting better as a driver," Enders said. "We made eight runs, so I was able to try a whole bunch of stuff I wanted to work on. I got up on the wheel and drove hard, and it felt like I did well. I'm happy with how things went, and confidence is always important when you're heading into a race."
While Enders fine-tuned her driving, crew chief Dave Connolly and her veteran crew worked diligently on their hot weather tune-up.
"We started seeing hot conditions in Houston," Enders said of the last NHRA race. "In Bristol, it was really hot the whole time we tested. Looking at the forecast for Atlanta this weekend, it's going to be hot there, too. So the tweaks we made in Bristol will benefit us a bunch on a hot trace track this weekend.
"I've always known how hard my guys work and at this test they showed me again how dedicated and tough they are. There were no other distractions so I was able to watch them do their jobs and it made me realize once again how lucky I am to be racing for Victor Cagnazzi."
Enders proved her worth to Cagnazzi early in the year when she qualified No. 1 at the season opener in California. At the next tour stop in Florida, she beat NASCAR star Kurt Busch while also posting a world record run of 213.57 mph.
But what she wants more than anything is a win.
"I'm expecting a lot out of myself this year," she said. "All the pieces are here. We just need to put them all together on race day. It would be awesome if we did it in Atlanta."