Pomona: Erica Enders Thursday summary

Enders Makes Pro Debut at Season Opener POMONA, Calif. -- Erica Enders made her professional racing debut Thursday at the Winternationals at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway. The 21-year-old Houston resident turned in a 6.852 seconds at 193.93 mph in...

Enders Makes Pro Debut at Season Opener

POMONA, Calif. -- Erica Enders made her professional racing debut Thursday at the Winternationals at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway.

The 21-year-old Houston resident turned in a 6.852 seconds at 193.93 mph in the Cagnazzi Racing Chevy Cavalier to qualify in the No. 16 spot after the first of four sessions.

Enders is now the fifth woman in NHRA history to drive a Pro Stock car in pro competition. Only one of the female competitors, Lucinda McFarlin, earned a round victory. She beat Don Beverley in Memphis at 1992. No female has ever qualified in the No. 1 spot or won an event.

Enders can continue to add her name to the record books this weekend and it all started with the qualifying run on Thursday. Enders is a 37-time winner in the Jr. Dragster racing league and is the first female Jr. Dragster driver to reach the Pro Stock level. She also has six wins in the Super Comp category and one in Super Gas.

She has more than a decade of racing experience, but Thursday's run was enough to make even Enders a little more excited than normal.

"That was the most nervous I have ever been before a run," Enders said. "I had my dad right there and (car chief) Tom Lee talking to me right before the run and that calmed me down, which was good. The team has been working so hard to get the car ready for (Thursday) and I have been looking forward to making my first Pro Stock qualifying run for a long time."

Enders had just one problem during the first qualifying session. She couldn't see the Christmas Tree lights. The hood scoop on the car was too big and blocked Enders' vision of the tree.

"I had a difficult time seeing the lights, and I had to stage the car based on what the guys told me over the radio," Enders said. "They even told me when to go. So the reaction time wasn't great, but the car went down the track and we're 16th for now. It was still a real exciting day.

"I'm not worried about the hood scoop. We're in the right lane (Friday) and if we have to figure out a way to make a see-through hood scoop, we will."

Enders will have one qualifying session on Friday followed by two more on Saturday. Final eliminations for the season-opening Winternationals are set for 11 a.m. Sunday.

-gs-

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