Erica Enders has enjoyed plenty of memorable moments racing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, including a particularly incredible two-year string in 2014-2015 where she won four straight races at the facility.
Heading into the fourth race of the 2019 NHRA season, the two-time Pro Stock world champion is ready to add another Vegas highlight at this weekend’s Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and pick up the first win of the year in her Elite Motorsports/Melling Performance Chevrolet Camaro.
“Vegas is one of my favorite tracks. I’ve got more round wins there than anywhere else and it’s always been good to me,” Enders said. “I have a lot of super fond memories there, my crew chiefs have a good set-up there and when I roll in there, I always have a good feeling.”
After a forgettable weekend in Gainesville where Enders fell in the opening round, the good vibes of The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are a welcome sign for Enders, who currently sits fourth in Pro Stock points.
The Gainesville hiccup wasn’t a representation of Enders’ otherwise solid start to 2019, but she also doesn’t want it to become a trend.
After seeing Elite Motorsports teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. win in Phoenix, Enders is pushing for her own trip with the winner’s circle.
With Pro Stock’s new 18-race schedule this year, it means the class also has six weeks off following this weekend’s event in Vegas, putting an even bigger onus on doing well and taking momentum into the extended break.
“I’m ready for the pendulum to swing back in our direction and I’m ready to be back up on the upswing,” said Enders, who has 23 career Pro Stock wins. “We’re making good power, our teammates have been to the finals and won, and we’ve been to the semifinals (twice). But we’re ready to win and it would be good to end this first stretch of Pro Stock races on a good note.”
To do so, Enders will have to tackle the unique challenges of four-wide racing. She picked up her first win in the four-wide scenario a year ago in Charlotte, but this weekend’s stop in Vegas marks the only four-wide race for the Pro Stock class in 2019.
With Enders success in Vegas, which includes six final round appearances, it makes her one of the favorites for the weekend. Enders knows she has to execute when it matters, but she heads to the race confident in the job her team, led by crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones, have done thus far this year.
“All four lanes were super equal last spring and the track was in excellent condition,” Enders said. “You could have been in any lane and won. There was a ton of excitement last year and there was a huge showing from the fans. I anticipate it being the same this year. For me, it’s going up there and not overanalyzing. It’s definitely a crazy environment, but you have to go up there with a clear mind. I think we’ll be fine and we’ll definitely be prepared.”