ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 3) – The competitive spirit in KLR Group Chevy Cobalt driver Erica Enders makes it impossible to take any solace in losing.
But after falling to Jason Line in the semifinals of the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park on Sunday, Enders knows the future is bright for her GK Motorsports team.
"You've got to look at the positives in everything," Enders said. "It stinks we lost to the Summit guys again, but he's got the No. 1 on the side of his car for a reason. The good thing is we picked up this weekend. Every run, we made progress. We were consistent. I'm finally getting a race car underneath me. Things are going to come together."
Enders made seven fast, consistent passes in Englishtown as her team inched closer to the top of the Pro Stock class. She qualified fourth and was within two-hundredths of No. 1 qualifier Line, the defending Pro Stock champion.
Enders had a spring in her step in Englishtown, confident she could secure her first career Pro Stock victory. Her confidence rose after a first-round win over Kurt Johnson, when she cut a .008-second reaction time and then outran him with a pass of 6.542 seconds at 211.20 mph.
Enders was to face Vincent Nobile in the second round but got a free pass to the semifinals when Nobile was a no-show after an engine failure. Was her luck turning?
"I had a good feeling all weekend about it," Enders said. "So did my guys. Johnny Wright, my old transmission guy, called and said that he had a dream that we won. I felt like it was all coming together. I was .008 first round and made a pretty nice run. Vincent was a no-show second round. That was our lucky break.
"But we ran into Jason in the semis. Just one of those deals. We got beat by the best. We really don't have anything to hang our heads about. We've got a great car, and I'm driving well. We're going to get there."
Against Line, Enders had another great light, .018 seconds, leaving practically the same time as Line. But Line quickly took command and ran a pass of 6.540 seconds at 211.66 mph, edging Enders' 6.569 at 211.23 mph.
Afterward, as she signed autographs, Enders was encouraged by fans who told her the first win is coming.
"Things are looking up," Enders said. "We're a No. 4 car now. That was our goal. Our eyes are obviously on the No. 1, but to say that you're fourth to Greg (Anderson), Jason and Allen (Johnson) says a lot about us and our team. We made progress. We've still got a ways to go, but we're heading in the right direction."
The difference between Enders and the top of the Pro Stock field has shrunk, and Enders knows it.
"That can be made up on the starting line, and that's what I pride myself on," Enders said. "I say bring it."