Erica Enders and Chris McGaha are no strangers to facing off against one another in Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Pro Stock competition, but their second-round battle at the NHRA Arizona Nationals came with an unexpected twist.
A slight delay preceded Enders bumping in her Melling Performance Chevy Camaro, following a much longer delay by McGaha. The Harlow-Sammons Chevy Camaro driver flicked the bottom bulb of the staging light but did not come fully staged, timing out and turning on the win light for Enders. See it all in the video below.
Competitors have 7 seconds to fully stage after one racer turns on the bottom bulb of their stage light. Enders brought the RPMs up on her Camaro after seeing the bottom bulb flicker on McGaha's side of the Christmas Tree, but brought them back down after glancing back over and seeing the bulb turned off.
Enders' Tree activated once McGaha fouled out. That caught the defending Pro Stock world champion by surprise and indicates why her Reaction Time was so late. She wasn't thrilled about that while setting up her Camaro in the Elite Motorsports pit alongside team owner Richard Freeman, but it didn't affect her elapsed time.
"I looked over at his light and saw his bottom bulb turn on and then I was focused on my side of the Tree," said Enders. "I was waiting and waiting and it never turned on, so I looked back over and saw his bottom bulb wasn't turned on anymore. I dropped the RPMs back down and that's when my lights dropped."
She made a 6.526-second pass to book a matchup against 2017 world champion Bo Butner in a bid for her first victory of the 2020 season.
UPDATE: Here's what McGaha said Monday following the NHRA Arizona Nationals.