Norwalk: Erica Enders preview

Slumping Enders remains optimistic NORWALK, Ohio (June 28) -- The most successful female Pro Stock racer in class history is in the midst of her worst slump. Erica Enders of Houston is coming off three consecutive DNQs as the NHRA tour heads ...

Slumping Enders remains optimistic

NORWALK, Ohio (June 28) -- The most successful female Pro Stock racer in class history is in the midst of her worst slump. Erica Enders of Houston is coming off three consecutive DNQs as the NHRA tour heads to Ohio for the inaugural Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. The slump is frustrating for her Mach 1 Air Services race team, but not entirely unexpected. The main question is; when will it end?

"We put Erica in a brand new car a few races back in an effort to give her the very best equipment we could," said Gregg Enders, her father and team co-owner. "It's very hard to match a new car to your horsepower program on the fly, especially facing this unprecedented stretch of six races in six weekends, but the feeling was that it needed to be done.

"This car is built for her and it's already shown glimpses that it will be superior to anything she's driven before, which were all cars made for other people that were then modified for her. We're just fighting to get it into race shape."

The 23-year-old Erica already has more final-round appearances, more low qualifying efforts, more elimination-day showings, and more elimination round wins than any female in Pro Stock history. The next logical step in her three-year professional career is to contend for race trophies at every event and ultimately go after the NHRA championship.

"There are two teams with four racecars and drivers that are a class above everyone else right now," Erica said. "Then there's a group of two or three others that have had great weekends and looked strong at certain times. Then there is everyone else. We don't want to be in the main pack. We want to lead, and to do that you need a lot of things to be perfect.

"Having a car built for me is a great first step. The horsepower my crew chief David Nickens is making is really important. Having the proper funding is absolutely crucial. We just need to stay focused and try our best to achieve all of these steps. I didn't get to the Pro ranks overnight and I know you can't build a championship race team overnight. But I will admit that it's frustrating to go through a time like this."

Enders is 14th in the POWERade standings, 141 points behind the eighth-place team of Richie Stevens. In order to contend for this year's championship, Enders will need to overcome that deficit in the next seven races.

-credit: er

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