ZaZa Energy's Enders qualifies 10th at hometown race
HOUSTON (April 29) – Erica Enders qualified 10th for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway, but the ZaZa Energy Chevy Cobalt driver was downright giddy after Saturday's third and fourth rounds of pro Stock qualifying.
Because the weather was warmer Saturday, speeds were down from Friday's first two rounds of qualifying. But the name atop the charts of Saturday's third and fourth rounds of qualifying?
Enders, who was born in Houston and has raced at Royal Purple Raceway numerous times over her 19-year drag racing career, matched Rodger Brogdon with a 6.644-second pass in the third round for tops in the session. Brogdon was credited with No. 1 bonus points because of his faster speed.
But Enders upped the ante in the final session, with a 6.621 at 209.14 mph pass.
And that puts a wide smile on her face.
"We really struggled on Friday," Enders said. "We changed a whole bunch of things. We found our problem late Friday night, and we got up this morning with a fresh attitude. We went out there and laid down a really good run this morning – top of the page for the session, so that was really exciting. It also solidified the fact that we found our problem."
The Cagnazzi Racing team then backed up that run in round four.
"Top of the page again," Enders said. "It's really nice to go to bed on Saturday night knowing you've got the fastest Pro Stock car on the property going into Sunday. I'm very excited about it."
Enders, who qualified with a 6.599 second lap at 209.88 mph pass from Friday, faces Allen Johnson, who is No. 7 after a best lap of 6.591 seconds at 211.06 mph, in the first round of eliminations Sunday.
"We don't get lane choice in the morning, but that's not a big factor at this race track. Both lanes are pretty equal, so we should be all right. I'm very excited about tomorrow." Enders isn't overconfident, and she knows 15 other drivers have confidence, too.
"There's always a bullseye on my back," Enders said. "I'm not nervous. I've got a lot of confidence. I've been driving really well this weekend, and my guys have given me a great race car under my but this weekend. I think we're going to be OK tomorrow."