Phoenix: Erica Enders Saturday summary

ENDERS IN THE HISTORY BOOKS NOW PHOENIX -- Pro Stock rookie Erica Enders became just the fourth woman in NHRA history to qualify for a 16- car elimination round today at Firebird International Raceway. The 21-year-old Houston resident drove...

ENDERS IN THE HISTORY BOOKS NOW

PHOENIX -- Pro Stock rookie Erica Enders became just the fourth woman in NHRA history to qualify for a 16- car elimination round today at Firebird International Raceway.

The 21-year-old Houston resident drove her Cagnazzi Racing Chevy Cavalier to a 6.789-second pass at 203.40 mph to qualify in the No. 16 spot. It is her second professional race and first qualifying effort.

Enders will face Richie Stevens in the first round. Enders and Stevens are the first two former Jr. Dragster drivers in NHRA history to graduate to Pro Stock.

"We may have qualified 16th, but we're still racing on Sunday and that's what matters most," Enders said. "We have Richie in the first round and that's going to make it even better because we used to race together for a long time."

After putting in 13 years of racing in the Jr. Dragster and sportsman ranks, Enders made her pro debut two weeks ago at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway for the season opening NHRA POWERade series race. She didn't qualify and the team had to send the motors back to the shop in North Carolina to be repaired before this weekend's event.

"We went to Pomona expecting to qualify and we were disappointed that we didn't get it done," Enders said. "But it's great that we are in the field in just our second attempt. I couldn't be happier about it but now it's time to focus on racing in the elimination rounds."

Dinner with the team may have helped calm any nerves that may have been frazzled after the team wasn't qualified following two sessions on Friday.

"We weren't qualified after two rounds yesterday and the entire team went to dinner and everyone was positive," Enders said. "We all have a job to do and there is pressure on all of us to get it done and done well, but we keep a positive attitude no matter what. We came out today and ran a good number in the heat of the day, so the positive attitude paid off."

Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Sunday. All the action can be seen on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. (ET) Sunday.

-sg-

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