Enders energized by big last run, aims for memorable race day
Erica Enders wasn't the happiest driver after the third round of qualifying Saturday for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway. But her smile was nice and bright after her fourth run.
If I do my job and the guys keep giving me a strong car, we'll have a great chance.
Enders' ZaZa Energy team struggled with the clutch in her Cobalt this weekend, and her third-round qualifying run was a less-than-impressive 6.679 seconds at 208.81 mph. So crew chief Dave Connolly and the Cagnazzi Racing team tried a different setup for the final session, and Enders picked up speed to 6.606 seconds at 210.18 mph.
"It was a lot better that last session," Enders said. "We've been fighting the car and the clutch all weekend. We put a completely different combination in that time, and it felt much better."
Enders' car drifted a little to the left on her launch, meaning there's still more speed to be had. That fact has Enders pumped up about Sunday's eliminations as she believes it's anybody's race.
"(The last pass) would've been a nice high 6.57, low 6.58 run for us had everything gone according to plan," Enders said. "But it still gives us a lot more confidence than we were going to have going into Sunday. I'm looking forward to it."
Enders will face Rodger Brogdon, Vincent Nobile, and V Gaines in the first round of eliminations Sunday. The top two from that foursome will advance to the second round in this race's unique four-wide format.J
Also a factor in the fact NHRA unveiled a new set of lights atop the Christmas Tree at this event. Enders said it's an improvement over last year's setup.
"Last year was a lot to look at," Enders said. "I think they tried to simplify it, which they did. I've been doing OK. Yesterday my first run out was .020 (reaction time). That's good.
"If I do my job and the guys keep giving me a strong car, we'll have a great chance."
Eliminations at the VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA 4-Wide Nationals get under way at noon EDT from Charlotte. The race will run in primetime from 7-10 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
-source: erica enders PR