Enders not ready to end her championship dreams
NEW ORLEANS, LA – The pressure to win the 2012 Pro Stock championship continues to mount, as two races remain before NHRA crowns its champions in four professional categories.
But KLR Group driver and top contender Erica Enders won't let the pressure get to her in this weekend's Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, even as she tries to chase down points leader Allen Johnson.
"I say the same thing all the time: I don't take any one race more importantly than any other race," Enders said. "Having said that, there are only two races and eight rounds of eliminations left, with six needed to catch A.J. It's a crucial time, and something that I'm excited and optimistic about."
Johnson is 83 points ahead of Jason Line and 125 ahead of Enders, who has had her best season as a professional this year by winning four times.
"It's something I think about every day," Enders said of the title race. "I can't change the outcome. All we can do is our best and hopefully, it'll work on our side."
Las Vegas is one of the favorite trips for NHRA competitors, given the glitz and glamour of Vegas. But Enders will be all about business this week.
"I'm going in on Wednesday, and I've got the press conference and autograph session on Thursday," Enders said. "We qualify on Friday. I'm extremely serious about what's going on, and there's definitely no room for error on anyone's part.
"I'll go there business-minded and have fun after the fact. We'll hopefully celebrate a win on Sunday night."
Enders' four victories have come in the last 11 races since her historic first win on July 1 in Chicago. She became the first woman to win in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class that day, but she's proven to be one of the top drivers in the sport since then.
In addition to the four wins, Enders has two No 1 qualifiers, two track records and three final-round appearances this season.
Her GK Motorsports team has stepped up its game, and that development continued during the two-week break since the sport's most recent race, at Reading, Pa.
"Just because we had two weeks off from national events doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of hard work going on at the shop and in the background," Enders said. "Engine development stuff is always in the works, and the dyno is always running."
Qualifying for the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals gets under way at noon PDT from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The racing picks back up at 11 a.m. Saturday with two more rounds of qualifying. Sunday's eliminations get under way at 11 a.m. ESPN2 will broadcast the qualifying show at 1:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday with the eliminations show being broadcast starting at 4 p.m. Sunday.