After a three-week break, the good news for Erica Enders is that the next 11 races to finish out the 2019 NHRA season will all include Pro Stock.
What will make that even better is if the two-time world champion can start reeling off wins in that span.
She’ll get her first crack this weekend at Bandimere Speedway in Denver, as the NHRA kicks off the famed three-race Western Swing with the Mile-High NHRA Nationals. Racing at an altitude of nearly 6,000 feet poses one of the biggest challenges on the circuit, but Enders is eager to get back behind the wheel of her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Camaro, especially as the team tries to get back to its winning ways.
“There’s definitely a sense of urgency,” Enders said. “We have to make sure we have our ducks in a row and for us, we don’t want to be timid. We can’t change the way we race and we have to get our consistency back to where we’ve been before. We’ve worked hard and done a lot of testing in the time off, so we’re excited to head out West and see what we can do in Denver.”
Enders enters the eighth of 18 Pro Stock races sixth in points, but still looking for her first win of 2019. She advanced to the final round in Chicago, but fell in the opening round at the most recent race in Norwalk after a tumultuous weekend in her Pro Mod Camaro.
But her full focus in back on Pro Stock and the 23-time event winner is locked in on trying to win another championship. To do that, she knows she has to put in a complete weekend behind the wheel in a talent-filled class. But she’s also ready to pounce if she senses the slightest bit of momentum shifting her team’s way.
“We know where we want to be and what we want to do,” said Enders, who is also racing for her first victory in Denver. “We’ve got the brightest guys in the business and the nicest equipment, and we all have to work together and have fun. This stuff goes in cycles, and we’re trying to get the pendulum to swing back in our direction. Once it does, I think it’s going to be a game-changer.”
There’s work to do in Denver to get there, especially considering the difficult conditions. Everything is changed in the car on the mountain and Enders has to adjust her style to accommodate for the different shift points.
It’s a case of jumping right in the fire to open the Western Swing, which includes stops at Sonoma next weekend and Seattle in two weeks, but a good start on Thunder Mountain can go a long way when it comes to team morale during a rigorous three-race stretch.
“You have to be prepared and you definitely need to have everything in order for this race. It’s hard and it’s grueling,” Enders said. “It can be a crapshoot up here, but we’re as prepared as anybody and I think we have as good a shot as anyone to win. We just have to be on our toes.”
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. MT on Friday, July 19, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 20, at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 21 and will be broadcast on the FOX national broadcast network starting at 1 p.m. MT.