Erica Enders press release
Enders offers thoughts, prayers to Wheldon as ZaZa team exits Phoenix in semis
PHOENIX (Oct. 16) – ZaZa Energy Pro Stock driver Erica Enders had a solid weekend of drag racing in the Arizona NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway, but her thoughts were with the family and crew of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon on Sunday.
Wheldon, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner, was killed in an accident during the IndyCar race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"What a shame," Enders said. "He was a talented race car driver. It puts a lot of things in perspective. Motorsports is one big family, and we're hurting right now. It's just a sad day. My team and I send out our condolences and our prayers to his family and crew. We've lost too many drivers in NHRA, and we unfortunately know what they're going through."
Enders reached the semifinals at Phoenix before shaking the tires and falling to eventual event winner Vincent Nobile.
"I let the clutch out, and it went straight through low gear," Enders said. "I felt it, so I pulled it out of low gear to settle it down, but it just annihilated the tires. It was sideways and shaking my brains out. I had to abort the run; I didn't have any other choice. Unfortunately, he marched on to an easy victory.
"We'll just learn from it and move on to Las Vegas."
Enders beat Kurt Johnson in round one with a pass of 6.659 seconds at 208.91 mph, and then beat Steve Kent with a run of 6.683 seconds at 206.42 mph. She was off the line first in both rounds, and her three reaction times on Sunday were .010 seconds, .017 and .015.
Enders maintained fourth in the Pro Stock standings, but she gained ground on second place. The battle for second behind runaway points leader Jason Line has tightened up, as there are only 20 points between second-place Greg Anderson and fourth-place Mike Edwards.
Nobile is five behind Anderson, with Enders eight behind Nobile and seven ahead of Edwards. Anderson went out in the first round Sunday, with Edwards falling in round two.
"We made a big points run," Enders said. "We made up two rounds on Greg, and we passed Mike. All in all, it was a good weekend. The outcome in the semis was really unfortunate because it doesn't show what a great race car we had."
Enders had a solid weekend, qualifying No. 4 – the 13th consecutive race she's qualified in the top half of the ultra-competitive Pro Stock field – and reaching the semifinals for the fourth time this season, to go with three final-round appearances.
"We'll focus on the positives that happened this weekend," Enders said. "We really had our act together during qualifying. We made some great runs and were consistent on a hot race track, which a lot of the other teams struggled with.
"We had a consistent race car, and we're making better runs. We're racing smarter, and we've made up ground. We're a top-three or -four car during qualifying and on any given run."