Erica Enders completed a magical weekend with a win in the Pro Stock final in the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
Enders ran to the finish line with an elapsed time of 6.569 and speed of 210.05 mph to defeat Allen Johnson, who had to shut down with engine problems. Enders moved into fifth place in the Countdown Chase with one qualifying event left at Indianapolis.
“It ranks pretty high,” Enders said about her win at BIR. “I don’t know if it was more important then any other one. The Chicago one (her first) was the highlight of my life, but they keep coming and I love it. We are going to ride this wave as long as it lasts.
“My guys are working so hard and we have a great car that makes Sunday a whole lot more fun.”
The driver who had her life story made into a Disney movie, “Right on Track”, Enders captured her second win in a row after placing first at Seattle two weeks ago. She also became just the second female driver in the last seven years to win back to back events.
“It’s already surreal for me and I am blessed to be in this position,” Enders said. “I know that and I know how quickly it can disappear. It’s a dream come true and it’s great to have a chance to chase the championship.”
Enders started the day as the number one qualifier, the first time she had been there in the 2012 season. She defeated Jason Line in round two and then dispatched Morgan to earn her spot in the final pairing.
“There is a lot of really big tough names out there, and the fact that were able to run against Jason Line and Johnson today, I think it goes to show that our hard work is paying off,” Enders said. “I couldn’t be more proud and honored to be their driver. It is exciting and Alan is a good friend of mine so we had fun with it.”
Enders is also part of a new generation of women drivers that includes Courtney Force, who won in the Funny Car event in Seattle to make it one of the rare times that two women have collected trophies on the same weekend.
“That is really special,” Enders said of the accomplishment. “To do what we did last weekend with Courtney and myself, and to make that history and to come here with back to back wins is unbelievable.”
Johnson started in the number two spot and ran a time of 6.542 to defeat Chris McGaha in round one. Jeg Coughlin fell victim to him in the second round, and Johnson defeated Ron Krisher in the semi-finals to earn his spot in the final.
The Summit team, which included native Minnesotan’s Greg Anderson and Jason Line along with Anderson’s brother in-law Ronnie Humphrey, had a tough day as Line was the only driver to advance out of the first round.
Mark Martino upset Anderson in the first round, and then appeared to defeat Larry Morgan in the second, but his car came in low on weight in technical inspection and Morgan was given the win.
Morgan had one of the better stories of the weekend as he went from being on the bump after qualifying to gaining a spot in the semi-finals, and worked his way into the top ten in the Countdown.
Enders will now head to Indianapolis in two weeks and aim for three in a row. There will also be extra incentive as she will be racing against her fiance, Richie Stevens, who will be driving a Pro Stock car at Indianapolis.
“I am really proud of him. He is going to be my competitor,” she said. “It will be some cutthroat competition, that’s for sure. We have been going back and forth already. He told me, ‘Go ahead and win Brainerd but I am coming after you in Indy.’ I told him to pack a lunch and let’s go.”