Her Story Featured in a Popular Disney Movie, Enders Continues To Pursue Her Drag Racing Dream BELLE ROSE, La. - Her story as a determined Jr. Drag Racer was portrayed in an extremely popular original movie on the Disney Channel last year, and...
Her Story Featured in a Popular Disney Movie, Enders Continues To Pursue Her Drag Racing Dream
BELLE ROSE, La. - Her story as a determined Jr. Drag Racer was portrayed in an extremely popular original movie on the Disney Channel last year, and one year later the quest to go fast continues for Erica Enders -- only now she's racing full-size dragsters in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
Enders, who now does double duty on NHRA race weekends, competing in her Super Comp dragster and Super Gas Corvette at speeds of more than 150 mph on the quarter-mile, has gained much notoriety since last year's release of the hit movie "Right On Track," starring young actress Beverley Mitchell of WB fame in the leading role.
However, in the movie's aftermath, Enders is continuing with the same hard-nosed resolve to make a name for herself in NHRA's record books. Though her experience with the silver screen was incredible, winning races and championships in the NHRA is the ultimate goal.
The 20-year-old Houston native will be among the favorites to win in Super Comp and Super Gas at the NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals, April 23-25 at No Problem Raceway Park near New Orleans.
The NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals, an NHRA National Event designed to showcase NHRA Sportsman competitors exclusively, features a guaranteed purse of more than $50,000 and competition in six NHRA Lucas Oil Series categories: Competition Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street. NHRA Lucas Oil Series National Event points will be awarded to drivers in all categories except Super Street.
Enders, a full-time student at Texas A&M University, says since the movie she is recognized a bit more these days, especially by young female fans. According to Disney, "Right On Track" is the second most-watched movie in the history of the network with an estimated viewership of more than 50 million. It won an award this year for Most Awesome Sports Movie during Disney's "Raven New Year's Eve" awards program.
"The only difference after the movie is that I can see that my fan base is growing when I attend a National Event," Enders said. "Last year at the race in Houston I signed autographs for a huge crowd all weekend. It has really been a positive experience. It's really neat to have young girls come up to you and say, 'I want to be just like you when I grow up.'"
In the movie, Enders won the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing championship in dramatic fashion. In the real world, Enders has proved she could win at the Jr. level, and now she is ready to win races and championships in the major leagues of the sport. Last weekend in Houston Enders earned her first career victory in the Lucas Oil Series, powering her Super Gas Corvette to the win. She has also had some success at the divisional level this season, posting a runner-up finish in Memphis in Super Comp. In 2000, she posted a runner-up finish in Super Comp in Houston in her only other final-round appearance at an NHRA National Event.
"The season is going pretty well," she said. "The toughest part is trying to balance school and racing, but I am working hard at it."
With sponsorship support from Pennzoil and Simpson Race Products, Enders' goal is to continue learning all she can about going fast at this level so she can make the move to the NHRA POWERade Series in the future and follow in the footsteps of other top female drag racers, such as NHRA Top Fuel legend Shirley Muldowney, who won three championships and 18 races, and three-time NHRA Pro Stock Bike champion Angelle Savoie, a 31-time winner.
"It has always been my dream to race a Top Fuel dragster or a Funny Car," Enders said. "I am leaning more toward Funny Car or Pro Stock, just because there haven't been a lot of females who have been successful in those two classes."
But while she continues to look forward to a future as a professional drag racer, she knows that she needs to continue to impress in Super Comp and Super Gas to make those dreams a reality. A successful showing this weekend at the Cajun SPORTSnationals would be a good place to start. She likes her chances at No Problem Raceway Park, one of NHRA Division 4's marquee drag strips.
"It's a really nice facility," Enders said. "The track owners are racers themselves, so they work really hard to make sure everybody feels at home. It's always a lot of fun to go to Louisiana because you get to enjoy all of the great parties and the big crawfish boils they have down there.
"I think this event is going to be a lot of fun for everybody. The last time they had a SPORTSnationals was about 18 years ago so this is the first one for me. I can't wait."
General admission tickets are $20 each day. For ticket information, contact No Problem Raceway Park at (985) 369-3692. For additional information about the event, visit nhra.com or noproblemraceway.com.