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Route 66 Raceway Holds a Special Place in Erica Enders’ History

Six-time NHRA Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders will be returning to the site of her first Pro Stock victory when she and her Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage / Melling Performance / SCAG Power Equipment Camaro head into this weekend’s Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago.

Enders’ first professional victory came on July 1, 2012 when she battled her way through Kurt Johnson, Vincent Nobile and V. Gaines before beating Greg Anderson in the finals. She’d finish that season with four victories and pick up two more in 2013 before joining the Elite Motorsports camp later that year. Now, Enders is on the heels of her 50th career victory, 49th in the professional class of Pro Stock

“It was one of the better days of my life. It took seven years and seven final rounds to make it happen. I had six wins prior to joining Elite Motorsports, now, we’re chasing 50 wins and we have six world championships. We’ve packed a lot of success into these past 10 or 11 years and it’s something that we’re really proud of,” Enders said. “I always like those storybook weekends. We had our first win in Chicago it would be really meaningful to get our 50th there as well. It’s a tall order, there’s going to be a lot of fun racing and we’re going to work.”

Before picking up her first win at Route 66 Raceway, Enders also had her first final round at the facility in the fall of 2005 and again made it to the final in 2011. Since her win, she has finished runner up in 2017 and 2019.

Enders, who is second in the points standings by only 25 points, started the 2024 season with a pre-session big-money victory at the PRO Superstar Shootout in Bradenton, Florida. She carried over that momentum for a victory at the season opening NHRA Gatornationals, her first at the event. She then had a runner-up finish at the Winternationals in Pomona, California before winning the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge in Phoenix. She’s coming off semifinal and quarterfinal finishes at the two Four-Wide events in Las Vegas and Charlotte, respectively.

“We started off swinging with the win in Bradenton then getting the win at the Gators after it eluded us for so long,” said Enders. “We’re just looking to continue the positive track for Elite Motorsports.”

In lieu of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, the top eight qualifiers from the past year of racing will compete in the Gettrx Pro Stock All Star Callout during qualifying on Saturday. Enders is the top seed and will have the opportunity to pick who to race in the first round. She’ll have her choice between teammates Troy Coughlin Jr., Aaron Stanfield and Cristian Cuadra as well as rival team KB Racing’s Greg Anderson, Dallas Glenn, Matt Hartford and Deric Kramer.

Competition at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway begins with qualifying Friday at 2:30 and 5 p.m. Saturday the third qualifying session at 11:30 a.m. will also serve as the first round of the Gettrx All Star Callout with the semifinals at 1:45 p.m. and the fourth qualifying session at 2:30 p.m. which will also be the All-Star Finals. Sunday race day eliminations begin at 11 a.m. with Pro Stock first round at noon.

Television coverage of the event will be on FOX Sport 1 (FS1) beginning with a qualifying shoe Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. A special broadcast of the Gettrx All-Star Callout is slated for Saturday at 7 p.m. Qualifying coverage continues Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Eliminations will feature two shows Sunday at 4 and 10 p.m. ET.

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This story was originally published on May 16, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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