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Erica Enders Wins it All at PRO Superstar Shootout

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Erica Enders and Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage/Melling Performance/SCAG Power Equipment rallied to victory Saturday at the SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Their win at the inaugural event not only earns them bragging rights but a $125,000 pay day.

In the final round, Enders would race to the quarter-mile in a stout 6.531-seconds at 210.05 mph to take down rival Dave Connolly’s 6.577 at 208.11.

“We are so lucky to have partners like JHG and SCAG. They really dove into this event headfirst and supported this race, not just the race cars but the entire PRO Superstar Shootout. There’s such a sense of pride I feel having partners that believe in what we believe in. You can’t compare it to anything. So, it means a lot to be in that final round, to get that win. I would be lying if I told you my heart rate wasn’t a little higher than normal,” said Enders, who entered the day as the No. 1 qualifier and earned the $10,000 bonus from Lucas Oil. “As much as I try to keep it under control, as a female, there’s an emotional aspect that creeps into it. I called my dad before the final round, and he got me in the right headspace. I had to disregard the emotion because I just wanted to knock their teeth out. But I just have to go out there and do what we do best. I know I have the best guys in the business standing behind me and it’s a group that I can trust and I cannot emphasize enough how that means the world to me. Hearing them tell me how proud they are over the radio as I’m in the shutdown area, with who was in the other lane, and the pressure, I put it up against a world championship.”

En route to the final round of the SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout, Enders had to go through a slew of Elite Motorsports teammates, starting with No. 13 qualifier David Cuadra and the Cuadra/Corral Boots/Columbia Impex machine. Enders would have a 6.562-second pass at 209.59 mph to defeat D. Cuadra’s 6.592 at 209.56. In the second round, Enders would draw the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage/Melling Performance/Janac Brothers Racing hot rod of Aaron Stanfield.

Stanfield, who qualified No. 6 and defeated Camrie Caruso in the first round, would have engine issues for only a 10.932-second pass at 65.16 mph. Enders would have a clean pass at 6.570 and 210.24. With only one teammate left in the field, Enders would draw the same chip as veteran racer and fellow multi-time Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. The SCAG Power Equipment/Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer Pro Stocker driven by J Coughlin Jr. would fall short with a 6.579 at 209.65 to Enders’ 6.552 at 210.08.

“It was my first official week back in the car for the full season, and we did pretty well. I was driving really well in testing and the first couple rounds today. We just had a mishap against Erica, which was unfortunate on my side of the track. But we were able to prevail as a team and that’s what’s exciting,” J. Coughlin Jr. said. “When I look at this SCAG PRO Superstar Shootout, it’s been really neat to see the PRO organization put such an event together. Richard Freeman has been a big part of it, helping pull together the likes of Drag Illustrated, SCAG, JHG and many other sponsors. For an inaugural event, I think they did very, very well. I was proud to be part of it. I wanted to put my name on that first trophy but, good Lord willing, we’ll have to put it on the second annual PRO Superstar Shootout trophy.”

J. Coughlin Jr. had already gone through teammates Jerry Tucker in the Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer/SCAG car, and Cristian Cuadra in the Corral Boots/Cuadra/Columbia Impex car to reach the semifinals.

The entire Elite Motorsports team will be back in competition at the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season-opening NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway March 8-10.

This story was originally published on February 12, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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