Erica Enders made a statement run to open the NHRA Countdown to the Championship in her Melling Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.
Enders wheeled her Camaro to a 6.480-second lap at 211.96-mph to take provisional pole position at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA NAtionals presented by Pennzoil. She inched by Elite Motorsports teammate Alex Laughlin by .006-second to move closer to her first pole of the season and 20th of her career.
"Man, I'm so proud of my guys," said Enders after getting out of her car at the top end. "I can't thank them enough. I know I keep talking about them and how great my race car is, but I haven't had a good one for so long and it's so great to have it back."
Enders was one of five racers who held timeslips with 6.40s printed on them at the end of the first day of Pro Stock qualifying. Jason Line, Deric Kramer and Jeg Couglin Jr. also broke past the 6.50 barrier, a rare feat in Pro Stock in the Electronic Fuel Injection era. Line made the fastest pass at 212.49-mph.
The top seven spots were taken up by Elite or K.B. Racing-powered machines, but Kenny Delco offered himself up as a potential spoiler wth a 6.525 pass. That put the New Yorker in the No. 8 spot as he continued his strong season after just missing the cut for the NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
Chris McGaha held onto the bump spot in the 17-car field, keeping out Countdown qualifier Val Smeland. Smeland failed ot make a competitive run in either of his passes and will have to do better than a 17.226-second pass on Saturday in order to make the cut.
The second day of qualifying at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil begins at 12:45 p.m. with Pro Stock Motorcycle. Qualifying wraps up with the fourth session at 3 p.m. Eastern. Race day is slated to begin Sunday at 11 a.m. You can catch all the action on FS1 and NHRA.tv.