Houston, Texas (April 18, 2000): Erica Enders is no stranger to the quarter mile. After 7 years and 37 victories in the NHRA's, Jr. Drag Racing series, the 16-year old Houston resident chose her home track and the O'Reilly Nationals to make her...
Houston, Texas (April 18, 2000): Erica Enders is no stranger to the quarter mile. After 7 years and 37 victories in the NHRA's, Jr. Drag Racing series, the 16-year old Houston resident chose her home track and the O'Reilly Nationals to make her National Event debut in her Exide Batteries Super Comp dragster.
Enders' new Mullis Racecars dragster is painted identical to her Exide teammate, Tony Schumacher's Top Fuel dragster. In addition to Enders' primary associate sponsor, MRO.com; she sports many of the same supporters of Schumacher, including Gates Belts & Hoses, Matco Tools, Pennzoil and Champion Spark Plugs.
Driving a Super Comp dragster is not like any trip most 16-year olds make in driver education. Enders dragster, powered by a 615 cubic inch, 1000 horsepower engine, is capable of producing 8.9 second, quarter mile runs at over 168 mph.
When asked if she was afraid of the speed, Enders commented, "Not at all, these cars are safer than riding the school bus or going on a date."
Entering one of the most competitive classes, Enders would have to compete against 73 other drivers in a battle of reaction times and nerves. Having known Schumacher for several years, the Enders family looks to him as a tutor for their talented young driver.
Using a Pro Tree where .400 seconds is perfect and Enders cutting lights of .416, .409, and .424; it was apparent that Erica was going to be a tough customer for the other drivers as eliminations continued. Every round, she had the better reaction time over each opponent.
As the event closed on Saturday evening, Enders was one of five drivers remaining to battle on Sunday for the title. For a young driver, who someday wants to pilot a Top Fuel dragster, racing on Sunday at a National event was more than could be expected in her rookie appearance. Enders won her first race on Sunday and had a bye run to send her to the finals of the O'Reilly Nationals.
In spite of once again taking the reaction time advantage, Enders lost by .003 seconds, ending the storybook finish to her debut with a runner up finish. Enders made many new fans, including the respect of the competitors and will surely add a National Event title in her near future.
"I want to thank my Dad for putting me in this awesome car, Tommy Costales for the Wild Engine and all the wisdom he loans me, my sister for giving up a chance to defend her Spring Nationals Championship in Dallas so I could race here today, and Exide Batteries for taking a chance on sponsoring a rookie."
Enders added, "Oh yeah, and my Mom for agreeing to all this nonsense!"
Erica Enders is planning to compete in five additional National Events this year.