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May 17, 2014 - 11:19 AM
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2014 NHRA: Enders-Stevens Charges To Provisional No 1 In Atlanta
Posted by: newsla on May 17, 2014 - 11:18 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Enders-Stevens Charges To Provisional No 1 In Atlanta


Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens took the first step to scoring the 100th NHRA national event victory by a woman by speeding to the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot in Pro Stock on Friday during the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

 

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Enders-Stevens earned the top spot in the ultra-competitive class with a pass of 6.506 seconds at 202.91 mph that was an astounding .024-second ahead of the field.

"I'm really excited," Enders-Stevens said. "The guys have been working really hard back at the engine shop, and we've certainly got some stout horsepower right now. We're showing that on the scoreboard. That's very exciting.

"It's a very fun, positive environment to work and I'm having a blast."

Enders-Stevens, who leads the Pro Stock points standings and has two victories and one runner-up finish in six races, set the track record for elapsed time with her pass in the second qualifying session, but her car could have gone even faster.

"That last run was a little bit interesting," Enders-Stevens said. "I had to get the chutes out and clutch it early because it was very loose down there, so that's why the mile per hour was down, but we were able to hang on to the pole."

Enders-Stevens' Camaro was on pace to make one of the quickest passes in Pro Stock history, but she was forced to slow before the finish line.

"The run completer said 6.47," Enders-Stevens said. "We were on a better pass than when we ran the 6.48 in Gainesville at 214, so number-wise we were on a better run. Shoulda, coulda, woulda ... we would've had to have run it to prove it, but that's what the computer said."

Still, Enders-Stevens is not complaining. The eight-time Pro Stock winner is enjoying the best season of her 10-year career, thanks to the Elite team owned by Richard Freeman with crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones.

"It's a surreal position to be in," Enders-Stevens said. "I've been trying to make this Pro Stock deal work for 10 years, and to be with a team of this caliber and have a car that's got that awesome of a performance is stellar. I've watched people like Greg Anderson, Mike Edwards, Jason Line, and Jeg Coughlin Jr. dominate like they did.

"We've got a lot of racing left but to be in this position is a true blessing, and we'll ride the wave as long as it'll go."

The wave could sweep Enders-Stevens to an historic victory Sunday. Women have claimed 99 national event victories in NHRA's history, and Enders-Stevens would love to score No. 100, but she won't change her approach.

"I'm not going to treat it any differently," Enders-Stevens said. "I'm going to go in with the same mental preparation and treat it as if it's just a normal deal. No matter what, we always try to do the best we can and let God do the rest. We'll see how it unfolds."

Pro Stock qualifying continues at 12:30 and 3:15 p.m. ET, Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry qualifying highlights at 6 p.m., Saturday, and elimination action at 9 p.m., Sunday.


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