Heartland Park Topeka
Enders optimistic as Summer Nationals turn to eliminations
TOPEKA, Kan. – In some forms of motorsports, the final time a car has on the racetrack during qualifying doesn't always reflect how it will perform on race day.
That's not the case in NHRA drag racing, says ZaZa Energy Pro Stock driver Erica Enders of Houston.
Enders did not have her quickest run of the weekend in the fourth round of qualifying Saturday for the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, going 6.695 seconds at 206.01 mph. But the run was fifth-fastest in that session among the 16 Pro Stock cars who qualified for the race, and it bodes well for Enders' chances during final eliminations Sunday.
"Every qualifying session is important," said Enders, who drives a Chevrolet Cobalt for Cagnazzi Racing. "But going into the fourth and final qualifying round on Saturday, especially when you know the conditions Sunday are going to be very similar to what you have at that time, all that's taken into account for our setup. By Round 4, you can assume most cars going up and down the track have somewhat of a race-day setup.
"To be able to make a pretty decent run like that – granted, we weren't the fastest but we also didn't milk it for what it's worth either, so there's still some left in her. We'll be good for tomorrow."
Enders, 27, qualified 10th and will face Shane Gray in the opening round of eliminations as she chases her first Pro Stock victory.
"He can leave (post a good reaction time) but so can I," Enders said. "It'll probably be a driver's race tomorrow."
Her top qualifying pass was in Q3 on Saturday, when she went 6.685 at 206.85 mph. And that run continued improvement through the weekend, as she went 6.693 at 205.88 mph in Q1 and 6.687 at 206.54 mph in Q2.
"We've been trying some different stuff," Enders said. "It's been very consistent all weekend. We've got our it together now and we're ready to race."