Erica Enders drove her Chevy Camaro to pole position for the second-straight event as she chases her third Pro Stock world championship. The Elite Motorsports racer has gone more than a season without a win but has reached three final rounds and lost in Reading after leaving uncharacteristically late against Fernando Cuadra Jr.
"I definitely was kind of bummed for a couple of days after that weekend, because I feel like we left it on the table at a great race and had a great race car that weekend as well," said Enders. "Unfortunately, the one round that I slipped up is the same run my car messed up. So we, you know, my crew chiefs are awesome about it, they're like don't beat yourself up, you know, we should have totally outrun him. And we didn't. So as much as you're mad they were like, 'we're mad that we screwed up too.' So we'll take it together. And that'll be our, our little cluster run. And we'll move forward from that.
"So, it was not fun. But part of it, you know, one of the things our dad taught us was just like, just like related to golf, right, you have a bad hole that shot, whatever, you can't drag it to the next hole, because you screw that one up too. So just forget it, leave it in the past, start the weekend fresh. Be positive, be optimistic, work your tail off and, and just make up for it. So that's my plan. And that's what we're gonna do. I have the best guys in there. They're just as determined as I am, which is really cool."
Enders leads the class in reaction time average [.027] and has needed every bit of that to overcome having the seventh-quickest car in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. Recent performance, indicated by back-to-back poles, may mean the Melling Performance team will need to rely on its driver less. That's good news, particularly if she continues the performance that has made Enders one of the best drivers in the category since she became a full-time driver.
"I just keep powering through all of the hard stuff and have gained [my team's] confidence and their swagger back and in turn, that gives me mine," said Enders. "And it's just been really fun to kind of crawl our way back up to the top. It's been a very challenging couple of years."
Enders enters race day 71 points behind Jason Line, making it an uphill climb for her to get to first place at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. But with four races still to come when the Melling Performance team packs up in St. Louis, there's plenty of time for the two-time champ to make her push for a third.