By Cagnazzi Racing
Enders tops all qualifiers at NHRA race in Norwalk
ZaZa Energy driver Erica Enders continued her midseason surge Saturday by qualifying No. 1 in the Pro Stock class at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park.
Enders ripped down the track in 6.585 seconds at 209.10 mph in her Cagnazzi Racing Chevrolet to earn her second No. 1 of the season and third of her career. In doing so, Enders also broke the track record for elapsed time.
"The run was awesome," Enders said. "We laid down a pretty stout one there. I knew when I let the clutch out it was going to be good. We carried the front end real nice."
Rain washed out Friday's first two scheduled rounds of Pro Stock qualifying and jumbled the weekend schedule. Pro Stock teams would be limited to two sessions of qualifying, with the second run also the first round of the K&N Horsepower Challenge.
Enders went 6.591 seconds at 209.36 mph in Saturday's first run, and then went to the top of the charts in her second pass.
"Early this morning, we knew we had to get down the racetrack considering we were only going to get two runs," Enders said. "We were a little conservative in Q1, but we came out swinging in the second round.
"I'm just so proud of my guys. They're putting a racecar underneath my butt, and that's what it takes on Sunday."
Her second-round qualifying pass was also the first round of the K&N Challenge. The Challenge is a special race for eight Pro Stock drivers, with seven earning their spots based on points since last year's event. The eighth spot is reserved for the winner of a fan vote, and Enders learned of that honor last Sunday.
Enders knocked out the Challenge's top qualifier Jason Line with her speedy pass in round one, but fell to eventual winner Greg Anderson in the semifinals.
"I'm so appreciative of my fans for voting for me to make the Challenge," Enders said. "I can't thank them enough. I wish we could've given them some more to cheer for, but I'll always be humbled by their support."
Enders has qualified first, third, and fourth in her last four races and won four rounds in the previous two events. Last Sunday at Bristol Dragway, Enders qualified fourth and reached the finals after winning two rounds on holeshots.
"This team is special," Enders said. "Did we want to win last week? Absolutely. We're disappointed we didn't. It felt like a kick in the butt. It broke my heart. That was our race to win, but it wasn't meant to be. We'll carry the momentum here. We'll come out swinging tomorrow."
A win from the No. 1 qualifying position would be sweet for Enders, who is looking to become the first woman to win in the long history of the category.
"I'll take a win from anywhere," Enders said. "I don't care."