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Erica Enders Looking to Continue Hot Start to 2024

It’s safe to say it’s been a good start to 2024 for six-time world champion Erica Enders and her Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage/Melling Performance/SCAG Power Equipment team. They enter this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip off the heels of Enders’ first victory at Gainesville Raceway’s Gatornationals.

Her win just two weeks ago was her 49th NHRA career national event victory, 48th in Pro Stock and already her second overall win of the year. Before the start of the Mission Foods NHRA Series, Enders’ year kicked-off with a $125,000 win at the SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout in Bradenton, Florida.

“Being undefeated with two races under our belts, this JHG/Melling/SCAG team is definitely looking forward to heading to Pomona for the Winternationals,” said Enders. “We debuted a new car this year and usually with that comes some growing pains, so we’re excited that we’re starting off on the right foot with our new Rick Jones Camaro. The weather forecast looks conducive for some fast runs so I’m hopeful we’ll have nothing but win lights again this weekend.”

Enders, who already claims the title of winningest female in motorsports history, will be looking to hit a milestone of 50 NHRA national event wins when she begins eliminations on Sunday.

“When I first stepped on the scene in Pro Stock, there was a lot of talk about how many wins females have. I never thought I could ever catch Shirley Muldowney with her 18 let alone Angelle Sampey with 47,” Enders said. “So, it’s definitely meaningful to me to be approaching that 50th win. It’s substantial and I’m looking forward to it.”

Enders has two victories at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip. Her first came in 2014 at the fall contested NHRA Finals when she also set the track ET record at 6.480 seconds. Her second and most recent victory at the facility was at the Winternationals in 2022 where she also picked up the No. 1 qualifying position, her third at the track.

Some of Erica’s most formidable opponents this weekend will be her teammates from the Elite Motorsports camp.

Driving the SCAG Power Equipment / Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer entry, veteran racer Jeg Coughlin Jr. has an impressive 15 final rounds at the facility with wins at the Winternationals in 2020, 2000 1999 and at the Finals in 2019, 2007, 2005, 2001 and 1999. After taking three years off, he’ll be looking to add to his tally this weekend.

Aaron Stanfield and the JHG/Melling/Janac Brothers team return to In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip after winning the 2023 NHRA Finals at the facility. They also have a win from the 2021 Winternationals.

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Cristian Cuadra in his Corral Boots/Cuadra/Columbia Impex hot rod is coming off a runner-up finish to Enders at the Gatornationals and looking for his first career win. His brothers, Fernando Cuadra Jr. and David Cuadra, will be looking to replicate their brother’s recent success.

Troy Coughlin Jr. in the JEGs.com / White Castle car is coming away from Gainesville with a No. 5 qualifying position sitting ninth in points after a first-round exit that he’ll be eager to put behind him.

In his sophomore season, Jerry Tucker and the Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer/SCAG team most recently left Pomona Dragstrip and the Finals at the end of 2023 with the top speed of the event. Driving Enders 2023 car, he’s chasing his first Pro Stock win.

In addition to regular competition in the NHRA Winternationals, both Enders and Cristian Cuadra will participate in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. In its second year, the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge brings competitive racing to Saturday qualifying at regular-season events pitting semifinalists from the previous race against each other in a rematch for a cash prize and championship points. C. Cuadra will take on Dallas Glenn while Enders will faceoff with Greg Anderson.

Competition at the 64th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals will begin with three rounds of qualifying Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Eliminations are slated to begin Sunday at 11 a.m. with first round of Pro Stock at noon. Television coverage of the event will be on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with two qualifying shows Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Eliminations will air Sunday at 7:00 p.m. ET on FS1.

This story was originally published on March 20, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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