Erica Enders won her second-straight Camping World NHRA Pro Stock championship and fourth overall on Sunday at the Dodge NHRA Finals in Las Vegas. Enders came into the event as the championship leader but struggled during qualifying and landed No. 12 on the grid. On Sunday, she did her part by winning her round one match against teammate Alex Laughlin.
Enders then watched while rivals Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Jason Line were both upset in round one via holeshot losses. Coughlin lost his match to Houston winner Aaron Stanfield and a few moments later, Line fell to Cristian Cuadra, officially locking up the title in Enders’ favor. It was a bitter ending for Line and Coughlin who have both announced that this is their final season in Pro Stock.
"It's no secret that I've struggled this year, the last couple of years honestly," said Enders. "It's been an uphill battle. I speak so highly of my team from the bottom of my heart. Richard Freeman organzied the most amazing group of people. All of these guys, they give their lives to this. I could not be more proud. I'm so happy. Ive never been in a situation like that where I've depended on other people to handle it for us. I love this life I get to live."
After winning her third title last season, Enders kicked off her title defense by driving her Melling/Elite Motorsports Camaro to a win in Phoenix. She was ranked as low as third during the summer months but came back to win at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals. That victory helped revive her championship drive. A third win at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis and a semifinal in Dallas gave Enders a sizable lead heading into the season finale in Las Vegas. Counting her round one win over Laughlin in Las Vegas, Enders has a 22-6 record in elimination rounds this season.
With a fourth championship, Enders joins Bob Glidden (10 championships), Warren Johnson (6), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (5), Greg Anderson (4), and the late Lee Shepherd (4). Enders also has 28 wins in 54 final rounds during her professional career.
Enders and her Elite team will now turn their focus on winning a fourth title this season. She will race rookie Troy Coughlin Jr. in the quarterfinals.