Erica Enders Leads Friday Night Pro Stock Qualifying Field at Heartland Park Slammers Chevy Cobalt Bolts to No. 1 During the Day's Last Session TOPEKA, Kan., May 26, 2006 - The first day of qualifying for the 18th annual O'Reilly NHRA ...
Erica Enders Leads Friday Night Pro Stock Qualifying Field at Heartland Park
Slammers Chevy Cobalt Bolts to No. 1 During the Day's Last Session
TOPEKA, Kan., May 26, 2006 - The first day of qualifying for the 18th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals was completed today at Heartland Park Topeka. A blistering heat wave has set in for the weekend which promises to keep the performance numbers in check, but that didn't stop Chevy Pro Stock driver Erica Enders from putting the Slammers Cobalt at the front of the 16-car pack. The 22-year-old native Texan, who is currently in fourth place in the POWERade standings, drove her Chevy Cobalt to a class-leading 6.785 e.t. at 203.06 mph to take the Friday night provisional pole.
"We didn't qualify here last year, so what a turnaround this has been," said Enders. "The conditions make a difference in how well we perform, but my crew chief, Roy Simmons, has data from years and years ago at all the tracks from around the country, so he has a tune-up for all weather conditions and track conditions. He tells me not to worry about that and just drive the car.
"We could go faster tomorrow, but as far as the heat of the day may go, we don't know what it will bring. It could be like Phoenix, we came into the tower No. 1 qualifier on Friday night, and then during the last qualifying session on Saturday, Greg (Anderson) went around us. I'm not going to jump the gun and jinx us this time. Right now we're three-hundredths above the rest of the field and tomorrow we'll see what happens.
"When I let the clutch out I knew we were on a good run. We had a little bit of tire tickle, as we call it, I hit the shifts, and I knew when I dropped it that the Slammers Chevy Cobalt was on a run. Tommy Lee came on the radio at the end and said we ran a 6.78, and I said, 'What?' He said it again and that Greg (Anderson) had run a 6.82.
"You can always use the data from the first run on the racetrack. It was hot earlier today and the track temperature was almost 20 degrees cooler tonight than it was this afternoon, so the cooler conditions made a huge difference as far as the quicker elapsed times go.
"It makes me feel a lot better. Coming off two foul starts in a row, it's hard on any driver, I think. You just have to pick yourself up and carry on to the next race. Fortunately, after Columbus, it was only four days until we got to run here. It's good to come out to Heartland Park, lay down two good passes, have two green lights, and having the No. 1 position gives us all the more confidence on Sunday. But our Slammers Chevrolet has been running good all year and No. 1 is just kind of a bonus."