Enders thinks 4-Wide Nationals will favor strong-minded drivers
CHARLOTTE (April 13) -- Athletes can sometimes doom their chances at success long before an event takes place. That’s because they can psych themselves out, worrying about what could happen.
This weekend's second annual VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., likely has a lot of NHRA drivers already beaten because of its unique format.
Not ZaZa Energy Pro Stock driver Erica Enders.
"I think it’s very important to keep an open mind," Enders said. "All of us have been doing the same starting-line procedures for 20-plus years. You go and change a driver’s neuro program with something new, it’s always going to affect you in some way – and not always is it positive.
"Having said that, an open mind is important. But since we went through it last year, I think we’ll be OK."
Enders qualified 11th in the Pro Stock field in 2010 and gained some valuable experience racing four wide.
"I’m looking forward to it since I’ve done it before," Enders said. "The playing field’s pretty equal, as everybody’s only experienced it once. We’ll see how it goes."
Enders will have two Cagnazzi Racing teammates at zMax Dragway, Dave Connolly and Shane Tucker. Connolly also is serving as Enders’ crew chief for the first time this weekend, and the team tested at Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, N.C., on Wednesday in preparation for the 4-Wide Nationals.
"We’ll have a three-car team in Charlotte," Enders said. "That will be great for data. On top of that, my ZaZa Energy guys are coming in. I’m really looking forward to the weekend."
Plus, this race is a home game of sorts for Enders, as Cagnazzi Racing is based in Mooresville, N.C., not far from zMax Dragway. That makes back-to-back "home" events for Enders, who will race in her hometown of Houston from April 29-May 1 at the next NHRA national event.
"Every race is huge, and you’ve got to race each race round by round," Enders said. "We go into this race with a positive attitude, and I’m very optimistic about the rest of the season. The next race is my home race in Houston, and this race in Charlotte is my team owner’s and all my crew guys’ home race. It’s very important. We’d like to have a good showing in each of our hometowns."
Every race is huge, and you’ve got to race each race round by round.
Enders, too, should have a few fans in her corner this weekend in NASCAR country, as she’s become well-known in stock-car circles after defeating past Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch at the Pro Stock race in Gainesville, Fla., earlier this year.
"I think we’ll see a lot of crossover fans, as we did last year," Enders said. "Now we have something to talk about, since one of their guys came over to our world. It should be interesting to hear the fans’ response. It was very positive in Gainesville. Everybody was like, 'You better kick his butt.'"
That’s her attitude heading into this weekend’s event, no matter how many drivers she’ll have to face at once.