NHRA Pro Stock: Enders and Johnson steal show on first day of Pro Stock qualifying
NHRA Pro Stock driver Erica Enders is on her way to a second win in a row as she notched the top spot in qualifying after the first two rounds Friday in the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
Enders ran a speed of 210.50 mph to set the track record in round one of qualifying. She then followed that up with a track record elapsed time of 6.550 seconds in taking the number one spot from Allen Johnson.
“This afternoon we just wanted to get down the track and collect the information and see where we stood,” Enders said. “Tonight we just wanted to come out and swing for the fences and it worked.”
Ironically for Johnson, he set the low track elapsed time of 6.566 seconds, which stood for about two hours before Enders broke it. Johnson then took the track top speed record back from Enders with a speed of 210.87 mph on his second run.
Enders gave credit to her team for the work in getting the car ready to be in a position to break the records.
“The guys back at the shop have been doing a lot of hard work on research and development and it is showing on the scoreboard,” she said. “I am really proud of them and it is starting to pay off.
Enders does not have a number one qualifying spot yet this year, but she and her team are gaining confidence after a first place finish in Seattle.
“My guys are awesome and they gave me the best hot rod I have ever had last weekend, and we were able to take it right to the winners circle and it is carrying right over to here,” she said. “I am hoping that we can carry that momentum right through the rest of the season.”
Johnson is the points leader coming into Brainerd, and he had two wins at Denver and Sonoma before Enders’ win at Seattle. Johnson has also been dominant in top qualifiers as he has six in a row coming into the weekend.
Minnesota’s Jason Line sat in second place, 78 points behind Johnson, but he had a disappointing run in the first round that left him in 14th place. Line recovered in the second round with an elapsed time of 6.590 seconds and a speed of 209.07 mph which put him in ninth place.
His teammate, Greg Anderson, another native Minnesotan, was in fifth place after the second run.
Shane Gray, who currently sits in seventh position in the points chase, did not help his cause as he is close to being on the bump in 15th place while Larry Morgan is off the bump heading into Saturday in 17th position.
Enders knows that Johnson and the rest of the field will be chasing her on Saturday, but she is comfortable with the spot she is in.
“There is certainly no lack of confidence in the sense of my guys,” she said. “We run early tomorrow so it will probably be a little cooler. We do have room for improvement so we will set up tomorrow and see if we can stay on top.”