By Briar Starr, NHRA Staff Writer
TOPEKA, Kan – Following a lengthy rain delay, which lasted a total of six hours and delayed the original start time of 10:00 a.m.CDT to 4:00 p.m. CDT, the five-time NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Champion Erica Enders was the last one standing after eliminating veteran and former champ Greg Anderson in a classic final round rematch.
The 2022 Pro Stock Champion has had quite the uncharacteristic season so far during her reign as champion. She has only seen one victory that came at Bristol following an E1 loss to teammate Aaron Stanfield the week prior in Chicago. After the win at Bristol, she went on a losing streak again with a quarterfinal loss in Norwalk and another loss to teammate Troy Coughlin Jr in Denver.
When the Pro Stock teams had the rest of the Western Swing off prior to Topeka, the Elite Motorsports team dedicated their time to testing at their local base in Oklahoma to gain knowledge and data in advance for the rest of the season.
The testing seemed to pay off as Enders entered Topeka with momentum as the No. 4 qualifier on race day with a pass of 6.660 at 207.05 mph. Being the No. 4 qualifier, she faced teammate Bo Butner in E1. The defending champion was victorious and eliminated Butner posting an E.T. of 6.700 at 205.91 mph moving her on to the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinals featured a rematch between her and teammate Aaron Stanfield from Chicago. This time around, the victory went to Enders as she won with a time of 6.655 at 206.83 mph over Stanfield’s 6.664 at 206.16 mph. Seeing the victory in the quarterfinals meant she would advance to her second consecutive E3 appearance in the past two races.
Unfortunately, as cars were under the tower getting ready to race, sprinkles returned to the area as well as winds forced another delay. Thankfully, the delay wasn’t too long, and Enders was ready to go in her car as they did their prestage burnout.
However, the matchup was going to be a tough one for Enders, as she squared off with current Pro Stock championship points leader, Dallas Glenn in E3. Glenn already had a victory entering Sunday, as he won the Mission Foods 2Fast2Tasty Challenge on Saturday.
Enders cut a monstrous light of 0.009 and never looked backed for yet another round win. The pass of 6.637 at 206.54 mph over Glenn’s 6.629 at 204.94 mph propelled her to the finals in a match against former Pro Stock champion, Greg Anderson.
Entering the final round of competition, Enders had a slight advantage over Anderson with a 26-24 overall record. Additionally, she had a 5-4 advantage in previous finals rounds to the Hendrick Cars Chevrolet team.
Knowing this was going to be a tough race, the two drivers had to be great off the starting line. Enders was the first off the line with a 0.023, while Anderson was a 0.033, meaning she left first. Down the track, the advantage was Enders, who ultimately grabbed the victory after her competitor’s car began dancing around at the top end.
She would win with a pass of 6.617 at 206.13 mph over Anderson’s 6.636 at 198.41 mph. The victory marked the 45th of her career in just 344 starts.
“This is twenty years strong,” Enders stated, just moments after receiving her trophy at the top end. “My mom, my dad and my sister are always in my corner making me mentally tough. They believe in me when I don’t believe in myself. But, let me tell you something about my team. When the rest of Elite Motorsports was eliminated today, they were all over helping on my car. Everybody rallied.”
While she may have been the No. 4 qualifier and race winner, Enders reinstated that the car struggled throughout the weekend.
“Today was just a great day,” Enders said. “Coming in, we felt like we struggled – yeah, we were No. 4 qualifier, but my car wasn’t running as great as some of my teammates, and we certainly weren’t running as good as the other guys. We knew we had our work cut out for us today. Looked up the ladder first thing this morning and it was stout. It was pretty cool that I had to battle everybody from a different team this time except for Aaron.”
Official NHRA Pro Stock Results Following Topeka
- Erica Enders
- Greg Anderson
- Dallas Glenn
- Deric Kramer
- Troy Coughlin Jr
- Camrie Caruso
- Aaron Stanfield
- Matt Hartford
- Cristian Cuadra
- Kyle Koretsky
- Jerry Tucker
- Bo Butner
- Chris McGaha
- David Cuadra
- Fernando Cuadra
- Fernando Cuadra Sr
Official NHRA Pro Stock Championship Points Standings
- Dallas Glenn, 914 points
- Matt Hartford, -248
- Troy Coughlin Jr, -254
- Deric Kramer, -276
- Erica Enders, -300
- Greg Anderson, -331
- Aaron Stanfield, -348
- Camrie Caruso, -389
- Cristian Cuadra, -465
- Kyle Koretsky, -478
Up Next: The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will head to Brainerd, Minnesota for the 41st running of the Lucas Oil Nationals.