Looking to get her 2019 NHRA Pro Stock season on a winning track, Erica Enders is ready to pounce when the opportunity presents itself.
Racing at the site of her career Pro Stock win might also provide the perfect setting for it all to happen.
Enders became the first female in Pro Stock history to win a race when she broke through at Chicago in 2012, and the 23-time event winner will return there for this weekend’s 22nd Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway looking for her first victory in 2019.
“Chicago has been home to some great moments,” Enders said. “It’s been really good to us and I’m excited to head back there. We’ll only be racing Pro Stock, so I’m excited to just focus on that deal as well. It’s a great track and I love racing there. It definitely helps going to places where you’ve done well.”
The race is the sixth of 18 races during the 2019 NHRA Pro Stock season and Enders, who is currently seventh in points, is ready to make a charge. After back-to-back semifinals to open the year, the last three races haven’t gone as planned. But Enders knows there is too much talent on the Elite Motorsports team – herself included – for victories not to come in her Melling Performance Chevrolet Camaro.
It’s that confidence that has kept Enders pushing forward, knowing full well things will start to move in her favor if the two-time world champion keeps working hard.
“It goes in cycles. We’re ready for the pendulum to swing in our favor, but it’s a matter of being able to stick it out when things get down,” Enders said. “It’s just a matter of getting right mentally. We have the best people in the world on this team, so we’ll be okay.”
The race week started with a special appearance at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Hollywood Casino in Joliet. From there, Enders plans on putting a full weekend together at one of her favorite tracks.
With a total of 19 cars slated to compete in Pro Stock, it won’t be easy, but if there’s a winning opportunity on Sunday, Enders knows she has to take advantage.
“When it does cycle in your favor, you have to take advantage,” Enders said. “Once you get it, it’s also hard to keep it. You have to be as prepared as possible, the tune-up has to be spot on and you have to be driving well. There’s no room for error, but that’s what attracts me to Pro Stock, and I think we have a team that’s capable. But you have to capitalize when the chances are there. You have to grab it and try not to let it go, and treat every round like a final round.”
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 31 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 1, at 2:45 and 5:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 2.