Enders earns No. 1 slot in Indy to extend peak performance streak
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Cross another item off KLR Group driver Erica Enders' bucket list: No. 1 qualifier at the U.S. Nationals.
Enders secured the top slot when rain washed out Sunday's two qualifying sessions for the 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway. She made a pass of 6.624 seconds at 208.84 mph on Friday that was tops of the 29 cars attempting to qualify for "the Big Go."
"I'm really excited to be at the top of the page in Pro Stock," Enders said. "It's something we've been trying to accomplish for a really long time. To do it at the U.S. Nationals is really cool. It's definitely something I like to have on my resume. I'm excited for my guys and really proud of their efforts. They've worked hard for it."
Enders has worked hard, too, for more than 20 years since she first sat in a Jr. Dragster her father, Gregg, bought for her. She became the first woman to win in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class when she went to victory lane in her GK Motorsports Chevrolet at Chicago earlier this year, but she hasn't stopped there.
Enders has now won three of the last six races, including back-to-back wins at Seattle and Brainerd, and has qualified No. 1 for the last two races.
"Momentum is something we're kind of new to with the three wins just recently," Enders said. "We'll carry that through. If we could do three in a row - I'd be blown away. Not because I didn't expect it, but because I worked at it for so long and dreamt about it my entire life, and it's actually happening. It's actually happening, and it's a little surreal. I almost have to pinch myself.
"I'm so blessed to be in this position, and if we could get three in a row and carry that through to the Countdown - this is a perfect time of the year to have that momentum start kicking in."
The Countdown to the Championship begins with the next race, at Charlotte, where the points will be reset. Enders is currently fifth in the standings, but with the six bonus points for leading both Indy qualifying sessions, she's now only one round out of fourth place.
Enders and her team have been running so well lately that they didn't mind the day-long downpour Sunday. If anything, they welcome the rain, as Enders won Chicago after a long rain delay and finished second in Bristol last year after rain.
"My guys are great at that," Enders said. "We performed well at Bristol last year with a runner-up finish after a long rain delay. And we won Chicago after starting at 4:30 in the afternoon after it rained all day. I've got all the faith in the world in them that they'll have the tune-up down for tomorrow. We'll go out swinging, that's for sure. We definitely want to win the U.S. Nationals, try to make it three in a row and set ourselves up pretty good for the Countdown."
Before meeting the media Sunday afternoon, Enders posed for a photo with Funny Car No. 1 qualifier Courtney Force, who also shared victory lane in Seattle with her.
"I love life right now," Enders said.
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