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Enders intent on upward mobility ATLANTA (April 23) -- Pro Stock driver Erica Enders, the most successful female racer in class history, has a very modest goal for this weekend's 27th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at ...

Enders intent on upward mobility

ATLANTA (April 23) -- Pro Stock driver Erica Enders, the most successful female racer in class history, has a very modest goal for this weekend's 27th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway -- returning to the POWERade top 10.

A part of the rankings since the season opener in Pomona, Calif., Enders slipped back to 12th after the recently completed Las Vegas race. Her current slotting is more of a numbers game than anything else as she's actually only six points in arrears of No. 10 Warren Johnson.

In fact, Enders could catapult herself to the No. 3 spot in the world were she able to score the maximum number of points up for grabs in a single race this weekend (138). But the 23-year-old tends to lean on her conservative side.

"Being a part of the POWERade top 10 is very important to me," Enders said from her Houston headquarters. "There's just something about being ranked in the top 10 that says a lot about what you're capable of doing. And, like it or not, people tend to rate you by where you are in the standings, including your sponsors.

"Pro Stock is so tight this year and I know there are nine of us within 51 points of each other, all the way up to the No. 5 spot. It really puts a premium on every round and even every qualifying position you earn."

A two-time finalist who has had the quickest car in the field at times this year, Enders points to the newly instituted Countdown to the Championship as the reason for the intense early-season jostling in the standings. Only the top eight racers in the standings will be eligible for the 2007 title beginning at the U.S. Nationals in early September.

"It feels like the season is shorter because there are only 17 races before they cut it down to eight," Enders said. "So we're already almost a third of the way along. Everyone is looking at those top eight spots. Since they're resetting the points in Indy for those eight cars, it literally opens it up for anyone in that group to win it all.

"But right now I don't want to look at it like we need to do it all in one race. Our first goal is always to qualify for the field and to qualify well. We can make up enough points just by qualifying high on the list to get back in the top 10. Then we can look at going rounds and getting into that field of eight.

"Ultimately, if you just race the best you can and run like we've already shown that we're capable of running, our ranking will take care of itself. But we all know exactly where we are in the points at all times. Anyone that says otherwise isn't telling you the truth."

-credit: er

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson