Defending Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders got Elite Motorsports owner Richard Freeman a perfect birthday present. The three-time Pro Stock champ scored her first win of the 2020 Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing season by outrunning 2017 world champion Bo Butner at the NHRA Arizona Nationals with a 6.531-second pass at 210.44-mph.
Enders qualified in the No. 2 position in her Melling Performance Chevy Camaro and defeated Chris McGaha and Jason Line before lining up against Butner in the 52nd final round of her career. She went on to win for the 26th time in a Pro Stock event, evening her career record in the category to 26-26.
“I’d have to say today was excellent,” said Enders. “Coming in here off of Jeg's (Coughlin) dominating performance in Pomona, we knew that we just had to get my car happy because we share data obviously. There’s no reason why my shouldn’t run the same as Jeg’s Our objective coming in was to just get my car as happy as possible. We tested in Tuscan on Wednesday, so coming in we were definitely optimistic and finally got our act together for that one fun on Saturday. The guys gave me a tremendous race car today. Very consistent, very fast and we just crushed the competition today and it was really fun.”
Butner reached his first final since the 2019 Richmond event but his 6.606-second pass wasn't enough to match Enders. He struggled to get down the track all day at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, running a 10.108, 6.863 and 7.262 to defeat Val Smeland, Kenny Delco and Alex Laughlin. He took advantage of a pair of red lights to reach the 25th Pro Stock final of his career.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. qualified No. 1 for the second-straight event to open what was an incredible start to the 2020 season. He claimed every possible point available to Pro Stock competitors before falling to Laughlin in the second round. The drivers of the JEGS.com Chevy Camaro lost traction and shoved the clutch back in, running a 6.810 after grabbing a three-hundredths of a second advantage at the starting line.
Marty Robertson made his first career start in Pro Stock but was unable to get around No. 1 qualifier, and Elite Motorsports teammate, Coughlin in his Cure Kids Cancer Chevy Camaro. Robertson left late and ran a 6.634.
The next event on the Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series tour is the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. You can get tickets here.