NHRA’s Erica Enders set for 6th win

Jthe imminent closure of Wild Horse Pass Motorsport Park signifies the end of an era for five-time Pro Stock World Champion Erica Enders.

Enders’ family has a long history with the valley. A former record-breaking water skier, his father, Gregg Enders, helped dig Firebird Lake near the track. They attended Manzanita Raceway in Phoenix, before it closed.

“Before I raced professionally, I always traveled to Phoenix to race, even though it’s a long way from Houston,” she says. “It’s even for kids and junior dragsters. It’s sad that it’s over. »

Enders will have one more shot with the 28th Annual NHRA National Championships in Arizona at Chandler’s track from Wednesday, March 22 through Sunday, March 26.

“I think you can expect some pretty outstanding performances there,” says Enders.

“We are on the heels of our fifth world title last year. Our expectations are quite high.

Enders, 39, is in her 19th professional season but has been racing since she was 8 years old. She grew up watching Gregg race as an amateur, along with her sister, Courtney Enders. In 2003, The Disney Channel released a film about the sisters called “Right on Track”. Erica was portrayed by Beverley Mitchell, while Brie Larson played Courtney.

In 1993, she won the Division 4 Junior Dragster Championship in the 8–9 year old class. Two years later, she was crowned Junior Dragster Driver of the Year. She now has 37 career wins.

“When we were 16, we joined the Lucas Oil Series, which is like the minor leagues,” says Enders. “I did this for five years. Then I got a contract to drive professionally at the end of 2004. When I was a kid, when they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Other children answered doctor, lawyer, astronaut. I always wanted to be a racing driver and I had the chance to realize this dream.

Girls look up to him, she says. In 2006, she was the first woman to qualify No. 1 in Pro Stock, in Topeka, Kansas. She broke the national Pro Stock speed record at 213.57 miles per hour in Gainesville, Florida. The accolades continued.

“I remember being a fan and going to see the women I looked up to,” Enders said.

“I was standing outside the pit waiting to get autographs. I see the same twinkle in the eyes of some of these children. It was a surreal moment, pinch me. I try to make it the best possible experience for them.

“The first time someone asked me for my autograph, I was a kid racing in juniors. I thought, ‘So this is where I’m going.’ We’ve had a great life doing what we love.

In 2018, she started driving a Pro Modified entry for Elite Motorsports, a twin-turbo 2019 Camaro. The following year, Enders escaped serious injury when his Chevrolet Camaro caught fire at the end of a qualifying race in the NHRA Pro Mod class in Ohio.

The challenges of racing have kept her passionate over the years.

“Challenges intrigue me,” she says. “The Pro Stock is a tough car to drive. You’re pretty busy inside the cockpit, having to change gears and so on. It’s a cool class. No matter how long you’ve been sitting or how many years you’ve been doing it, it’s still hard. It’s really humiliating. That’s what keeps me coming back. I want to be the best.”

NHRA Arizona Nationals

WHEN: Various times from Wednesday March 22 to Sunday March 26

OR: Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, 20000 S. Maricopa Road, Chandler

COST: Tickets start at $44



Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *