Elite Motorsports driver and current NHRA Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders just misses 4th consecutive victory with a runner-up finish at the 4th Annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals on Sunday at Gateway Motorsports Park.
After qualifying in the No. 3 spot, Enders continues to prove unstoppable at the tree, with another stellar driving display in St. Louis. Last week, she became the first driver in NHRA history to win three consecutive finals on holeshots when she won in Charlotte, and looked to be on track to extend that historic marker this weekend, leaving first on all her opponents, including reaction times of .002, .002, and .003 in her last three rounds.
“I’m super comfortable in the car,” Enders said. “I know what I’m capable of, I know what my guys are capable of, and that gives me peace of mind. I’m able to go out there and do my job. We’re going to leave with our heads held high, go to Reading, and try to continue to spread the points on those KB boys.”
Enders began her day by blitzing Alex Laughlin with a pass of 6.586 seconds at 210.87 mph, to his losing 6.819 second at 200.23 mph run. Crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones and Mark Ingersoll made improvements on her Transportation Impact Camaro for her second round matchup against Elite teammate Vincent Nobile. Enders left with a .002 light advantage and made a pass of 6.620 seconds at 211.66 mph to get the win over Nobile, who ran a 6.561 second at 210.31 mph E.T.
Another incredible .002 light gave Enders a holeshot on semifinal opponent Bo Butner, who made the quicker pass, a 6.520 at 212.43 mph, but Enders’ 6.524-second pass at 212.06 mph was enough to hold him off and put her in the final round.
Enders just misses 4th consecutive victory
In the final, Enders again had an unbelieveable .003 light, but her car went into uncharacteristic tire shake. All she could do was abort the run and watch teammate Drew Skillman get his first career victory with a pass of 6.529 at 211.63 mph.
“Of course we want to win, but today was Drew’s day,” Enders said. “It was just meant to be for him. If I have to lose, I’m glad it’s to my teammate, so we’re still able to share the winner’s circle under the Elite Motorsports banner.”
By racing to the final round, Enders extended her points lead to 113 over KB Racing driver Greg Anderson, who lost in the second round.
“It was a great points day,” Enders said. “The competitor side of us allows us to be frustrated when we don’t win, but we’ll go back and go through our notes, and one of us will stay and test tomorrow. It’s a great day. A.J. helped us a lot by beating Greg second round, and I was able to put another 40-point spread on him. That’s all that matters. We’ve got to keep pace. I really wanted to win four in a row and have eight for the season and have those records, but God has a bigger plan, and I’m OK with that. We’ve got our eye on the big prize.”