Enders earns top-half berth in Phoenix
CHANDLER, AZ – After a difficult Pro Stock opener at Pomona, Erica Enders said her 2012 season really started at Firebird International Raceway.
And she "started" much better, making four consistent passes and qualifying No. 7 for the NHRA Arizona Nationals.
Enders and her Cagnazzi Racing team struggled in Pomona, but the driver and team bounced back with an impressive showing at Firebird. Buoyed by tune-up changes before the final qualifying session, Enders improved to a run of 6.567 seconds at 210.41 mph to stay on pace with Pro Stock's top teams.
"This feels like a better start, for sure," Enders said. "I love Phoenix. It's always been good to me. I've got a lot of family, friends and sponsors here, so it's good to have that kind of support. I'm pumped for tomorrow."
Enders faces No. 10 qualifier Steve Kent, who also uses Cagnazzi Racing engines, in the first round of Sunday's eliminations. Kent's top run was 6.596 seconds at 208.33 mph.
"We had a consistent car through the first three rounds: .58, .59, .58," Enders said of qualifying. "That's totally better than last weekend when we weren't getting down the track. I've said over and over consistency is going to win races. That was nice, but we wanted to take a swing, and we did."
The changes called by crew chief Dave Connolly helped Enders pick up two-hundredths of a second and almost two mph.
"We went up there knowing it was either going to be pretty good or we weren't going to go very far," Enders said. "It worked. That'll help for tomorrow, most certainly. It was going to be tough to start from five-hundredths behind the No. 1 guy. That's a lot to make up, almost impossible to make up on the starting line unless somebody screws up. I'm really that glad we got closer."
Enders is all smiles heading into Sunday as she guns for her first Pro Stock victory.
"I'm excited," Enders said. "I'm excited we got closer. I've got a lot of confidence in my guys, and I can hear it in their voices and see it in their faces. I'm very excited."