Enders holds on to top spot, seeks back-to-back wins Sunday
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 18) – KLR Group driver Erica Enders earned her first No. 1 qualifier of the season Saturday, claiming the top spot in Pro Stock for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
Enders’ best pass was a track-record 6.550 seconds at 210.37 mph, ending Allen Johnson’s streak of six consecutive poles.
“Being in the top half – especially the No. 1 position – is really exciting,” Enders said. “It’s something a lot of people haven’t done and I’ve only done four times in my eight-year Pro Stock career, so it’s something that doesn’t come very often. But it’s amazing, and I’m really proud of my GK Motorsports/KLR Group guys. I’m really blessed to be in this position. I love it. I’m having fun. That’s what’s important to me.”
Enders’ top lap was in Friday’s second session, and no one could go quicker in two more sessions Saturday. Enders was third-fastest in the final session with a pass of 6.592 seconds at 209.65 mph, giving her momentum for a second consecutive victory.
“We just wanted to keep our top spot,” Enders said of Saturday’s sessions. “It really doesn’t matter where you’re positioned for Sunday, as long as you’re in the top half of the field. But to keep that No. 1 spot for the K&N Challenge points, the extra little boost of confidence is a lot of fun.
“Today was a little different. We made the third-best run of the session that last run. This morning, we just kind of missed the setup a little, but my guys are awesome, and we’re all moving in the same direction. We’ve all got our hearts set on one goal, and we’re working well together. Everything is coming together at the right time.”
Enders became the first woman to win in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class when she went to victory lane in Chicago on July 1, and she backed that up with a win in the series’ most recent race, in Seattle.
“Going into Seattle, I knew it was the best race car I’ve had all year – actually my entire life,” Enders said. “We knew we had the car to do it, and if I was able to do my job on Sunday, there was no reason we couldn’t get to the winner’s circle. We were able to do that.
“Momentum-wise, I don’t think it changed. We’re just seeing a little difference in our performance based on what we’ve been working at back at the shop.”
In addition to the pole here and the wins in Chicago and Seattle, Enders set the track record for elapsed time in Sonoma. Plus, she’s qualified in the top half of the field six races in a row.
“I’ve said all along I’ve never once changed my mindset going into any event,” Enders said. “I don’t allow one event to be bigger than any other. I always have the same mindset going in, and that is to be cool, calm, collected, confident. My guys have been putting a great race car underneath me, and the weight of the world is on my shoulders to be able to drive it to the winner’s circle because the power’s certainly there.”
And that’s just how she wants it.