Returning home to Texas has Enders optimistic
NEW ORLEANS, LA – For KLR Group driver Erica Enders, there's no place like her home state of Texas.
That means there's no better place to rejuvenate her chase for the 2012 Pro Stock championship than in the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex this weekend.
"I'm very excited," Enders said. "I've not ever been shy about how much I love my state. It'll be exciting to go back home and race in front of family and friends and be back at a track that's good to us."
Enders, 28, grew up in Houston, and though she now lives in New Orleans, she always feels comfortable coming back to the Lone Star State. She'll be surrounded by friends and family this weekend as she looks to rebound from an unfortunate race at zMax Dragway last weekend.
"We didn't start the Countdown off on the foot that we wanted to, but it's redemption time," Enders said. "We're going to be just fine."
Enders fell in the first round in Charlotte when poor track conditions forced her to abort her run to keep her GK Motorsport Chevrolet from crashing, a circumstance that befell Shane Gray in the second round - in the same lane. Enders was ahead in her first-round matchup with Warren Johnson, and since Johnson raced Gray in the second round, she likely would have advanced to at least the semifinals. That would have given her at least 40 more points in the battle for the title in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class.
Still, Enders is confident her team will bounce back and continue the form it showed over the last two months.
"If there's a group of people on the planet who are capable of getting things done, it's my group," Enders said. "All our focus will be on gaining the points back that we missed out on last weekend."
Enders had raced to three consecutive final rounds, winning back-to-back races at Seattle and Brainerd. Over the last eight races, she's won three times, with two No. 1 qualifiers and two track records. She tied for fifth place in the points standings, 115 points out of first place with five Countdown to the Championship races remaining.
"We're only five rounds down from the top," Enders said. "We've just got to go on a run and have a few good races, like we did a couple races ago. We've definitely got the car and the team that's capable of doing that. I've got all the confidence in the world that we'll be able to move back up."
Enders will have plenty of support this weekend, as sponsor Gaston Kearby of GK Motorsports and KLR Group Racing, also a Texas native, will host a large number of family, friends and business associates in Dallas.
"Gaston is from Texas as well, so we'll have a lot of his guests there," Enders said. "We'll have a big hospitality like last year. That always makes it exciting. We'll certainly have a large cheering section at Dallas."