Enders doesn't want that winning feeling to end
NORWALK, OH – KLR Group driver Erica Enders knows there is plenty of work to be done in this weekend's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park, but she's still enjoying the support from fans and competitors over her historic Pro Stock victory last weekend in Chicago.
Enders, who qualified No. 7 in Norwalk, became the first woman to win in the NHRA factory hot rod class when she went to victory lane at Route 66 Raceway last Sunday. The victory has been popular among fans and competitors alike.
"It's been really overwhelming," Enders said. "From the time I landed in Cleveland, people were shaking my hand. When I walked in the hotel, I about got tackled. It's really cool. All the Pro Stock guys and crew members congratulated me, but even nitro guys and their crew chiefs did, too.
"I was sitting in the staging lanes, a couple pairs back all suited up, and (Funny Car driver) Tim Wilkerson stuck his head in my car and told me how proud he was of me. All that stuff really means a lot to me that the guys who have followed us through our struggles took the time to come over and say congratulations."
At her pit area and during K&N Horsepower Challenge festivities, Enders experienced even more support.
"The fans have been amazing," Enders said. "I've gotten high-fives and handshakes all weekend. It's been really cool. We're riding the wave as long as it'll carry us.
Enders will be riding a consistent Chevrolet for GK Motorsports into Sunday's eliminations. She grabbed the No. 7 spot with a lap of 6.708 at 205.13 mph, and then ran identical elapsed times in Saturday's two sessions, posted with track temperatures of more than 140 degrees. Enders went 6.724 at 204.98 mph in Q3, with the same ET at 205.24 mph in Q4.
The 28-year-old Texan gets Ohioan Jeg Coughlin in the first round Sunday after the four-time champion qualified No. 10 with a pass of 6.718 seconds at 206.07 mph.
"It's a real challenge to get the car down a 150-degree race track," Enders said. "But my guys are doing a great job, and we do have a good race car. We're still running at the top of the pack. We certainly have our work cut out for us tomorrow, with Jeg first round. Greg (Anderson) and Jason (Line) are both on my side of the ladder also. It'll be a long, hot, tough day tomorrow, but coming off a weekend like we had last weekend, I've got a lot of confidence in my team, in my car. We'll go out there and do our best."
Enders' first qualifying pass Saturday was also the first round of the Horsepower Challenge, where she fell to Anderson despite running a better elapsed time.