The bulk of the hundreds of congratulatory texts sent to Erica Enders’ phone after her U.S. Nationals win on Sunday had already come in.
But by Monday evening, the reigning Pro Stock world champion’s phone again started to go wild, this time with a whole new round of congratulations.
They came in droves and in response to Enders getting a personal shout out from President Donald Trump on Twitter. It was on top of a tweet from his son, Eric, who attended the U.S. Nationals on Friday and praised Enders on her thrilling victory.
The President followed with a message of, “Congratulations Erica. Fantastic WIN,” leaving the three-time world champ blown away by the personal message from the President of the United States of America.
“It’s still kind of surreal,” Enders said. “My phone started blowing up and my sister (Courtney) sent me a screenshot, and I didn’t know what to think.
“We’ve accomplished an awful lot as a team and we’ve got a lot more to accomplish, but being recognized by the most powerful man in the world is pretty incredible. And not just us, but our team and our sport. Look at the number of people who could now watch because it was put in front of them by our President.”
It was an unbelievable and unprecedented way to cap off one of the biggest weekends in Enders’ standout career. With 86 million followers on Twitter, Donald Trump’s message to Enders gave the sport remarkable reach, with it drawing nearly 20,000 retweets between Trump and his son, as well as nearly 100,000 likes.
It put Enders in rarified air as far as receiving acknowledgement from the President, a fact not lost on Elite Motorsports team owner Richard Freeman.
“For the President to tweet directly to Erica and what she’s done, it speaks volumes for them and it speaks volumes for the sport,” Freeman said. “There’s no doubt it’s good for the sport.”
Enders entered the weekend intent on redemption after her crushing loss in the final to teammate Alex Laughlin. She got that — and then so much more as the weekend was a rousing success at every turn.
In addition to Eric Trump being in attendance on Friday, Mark Melling was in attendance on Saturday, as Melling Performance officially extended its partnership with Enders and Elite Motorsports through 2022.
“We have some of the best partners in the sport and there’s a lot of big things happening,” Freeman said.
That means Enders will continue to sport Melling Performance on the side of her red Chevrolet Camaro for years to come, and it looked impressive throughout eliminations on Sunday at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
After not finding their mark during the first two Pro Stock races of the NHRA restart in Indy, things came together when it mattered at the U.S. Nationals.
Enders was .009 on the starting line and ran 6.606-seconds at 208.55 mph in the final round to wrap up the win, making up for last year in a major way.
“Last year, when it happened, it was a hard pill to swallow,” Enders said, referencing losing in the final round in heartbreaking fashion in 2019. “To be in the moment when you get it done after all the things that happened, this team rose to the occasion.
“My guys are amazing and they continue to give me a great car. It’s all about teamwork and we’re there for each other.
Said Freeman: “She came to the finals and did what she does. It was amazing.”
With that impressive final round performance, Enders and her team celebrated the victory and a return to the points lead as she tries to seek a fourth world championship with five races remaining.
The congratulatory message from the President soon followed, making Enders’ 27th career win one she will always treasure.
“It was an epic event and it showed how amazing our sport is,” Enders said. “To end up on top is just unbelievable. You’re grateful for every win you have and you try to soak it in and enjoy the moment, and Sunday was so spectacular. The emotion, the nerves, the whole storyline from last year and then what happened after the win, it was amazing. I would put it right up there with winning the final round in Pomona to lock up the championship (in 2014).”