Red light ruins Enders' Indy run
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 5) – Erica Enders and the ZaZa Energy Pro Stock team went down swinging Monday at the 57th Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway.
After a big holeshot victory in the first round, Enders faced No. 1 qualifier Jason Line in the quarterfinals. Enders went for another terrific light but left a tick early, giving Line the win.
Enders' starting-line procedure is consistent every time, no matter who is in the other lane or when she races.
"I didn't do anything differently," Enders said. "I didn't consider the competitor in the other lane any differently than I do in qualifying or the final round. It had nothing to do with that. I was .002 the first round this morning. We rolled up there, looked into the light and cracked it. It was the wrong side by a couple thou. That's unfortunate because we could've covered him.
"It's the way it goes some times. We'll go test and move on to the next race."
Enders, the No. 8 qualifier, beat Kurt Johnson on a holeshot in the first round, as her .002-second reaction time and pass of 6.596 seconds at 209.26 mph overcame Johnson's 6.581 at 209.04 mph.
That put her up against Line, whom she beat on a holeshot two weeks ago in Brainerd, Minn. But Enders left -.006 seconds too soon. She made a run of 6.585 seconds at 209.39 mph, falling to Line's 6.583 at 209.59 mph.
Enders has now won at least one round in six consecutive races, going to the final round twice over that time span. She's also qualified in the top half of the field nine races in a row.
That consistency bodes well for Enders as the 10-driver, six-race Countdown to the Championship starts at the next NHRA race, the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 16-18, at zMax Dragway.
Regardless of her result, Enders was humbled by the support of her fans at the Big Go.
"The fans have really been great," Enders said. "I've gone through twice as many autograph cards at this race as any other race. It just shows how supportive they are of this team and my ZaZa car – and how badly they want to see us win.
"If I had a dollar for every time somebody told me they wanted me to beat the Summit boys, I could probably go race a Pro Stock car for a full season. That means a lot to me, to have that many people on my side. We're giving them something to cheer for, and hopefully it's something big soon."