Erica Enders continued her surge for a third world championship by claiming the provisional pole at the Dodge NHRA Nationals. Enders
Enders entered the weekend with a 28-point lead over Matt Hartford and tacked on 3 points by going low in the first session of qualifying. She is chasing her first title since winning back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 and is trying to hold off Hartford, who also gets power from Elite Motorsports, and Jeg Coughlin Jr., an Elite teammate.
"I've got a bunch of really talented guys nipping at our heels," said Enders. "We know that so we go out every run and just try to do the best that we can. That first run, you know, we made some pretty significant changes. I have been testing in Tulsa for a couple of days prior to coming here. So things seem to be working the way that we had planned for them to that second session tonight."
Hartford is qualified in the No. 9 position with a 6.620 at 206.23, while Coughlin is slotted in the No. 4 position. Coughlin is the highest qualified Elite Motorsports driver (other than Enders) after wheeling his Chevy Camaro to a 6.602 at 208.52.
K.B. Racing got in on the action at team owner Ken Black's home race. Bo Butner is qualified in the No. 2 position with a 6.591 at 208.68, just .004-second behind Enders. The 2017 world champion is .007-second ahead of Greg Anderson, driver of one of the two K.B. Racing house cars. Anderson is coming off his third victory of the season, which pushed him into seventh place and back into the championship hunt.
He will have to get past teammate Jason Line, who is qualified in the No. 7 slot with a 6.611 at 208.33. Line entered the weekend in fourth place, just 68 points behind Enders in the incredibly tight race for the Pro Stock world championship.
Cristian Cuadra is sitting on the bump spot in his Chevy Camaro with a 6.702 at 203.4. He's keeping out Joey Grose, Richie Stevens and Cuadra's brother, Fernando Cuadra Jr. His father, Fernando Cuadra Sr., is qualified in the No. 12 slot with a 6.627 at 208.01.
The second day of professional qualifying begins at 12:45 p.m. Pacific with Pro Stock Motorcycle. That will set the fields for all four pro categories. Race day is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m. and will begin with Top Fuel.