HOUSTON (April 24) – GK Motorsports driver Erica Enders carries some confidence and momentum into this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway.
Enders is coming off a runner-up finish in the 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway, a result that prompted a phone call from Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden, a 10-time world champion.
“Bob Glidden actually called me on Monday after the race,” Enders said. “We talked a couple weeks ago, too, when I called him after Grumpy (Bill Jenkins) died. He called me on Monday, and the conversation starts out as, ‘Gosh darn it, I thought you were going to win.’”
Enders worked with Glidden on another team a few years ago, and Glidden continues to be a mentor to the 28-year-old driver.
“He told me that he was proud of me and that I’m doing a really good job,” Enders said. “He said he’s been doing this a long time and that the luck will turn. I believe him. Who better to believe than Bob Glidden?”
Glidden won 85 races in his Hall of Fame career, while Enders continues to gun for her elusive first victory in Pro Stock. She’s raced to four final rounds in the last 19 races dating back to last year and has been driving like a champion recently.
Reaction time is crucial to success in Pro Stock, and no one has been better than Enders. She’s had an average launch time of .029 seconds over the last two races, including lights of .017 and .016 in the semifinals and finals, respectively, in Charlotte.
Enders advanced to the semifinals in Las Vegas, and then qualified fourth and reached the finals in Charlotte.
“I am a believer in momentum,” Enders said. “We’ve just got to keep plugging away at it. I’m blessed to have guys who want it as bad as I do. They work their butts off at the shop all week long and they give me a great race car. We know what happened in the finals in Charlotte, and we stayed after and tested to figure some more things out. If I can keep driving the way I’m driving and we keep having a good car, we will keep momentum going.”
Enders will feel at home in Houston as she’s raced at Seth Angel’s facility for more than 20 years. Plus, as a Houston native, Enders will be surrounded by family and friends all weekend.
“I’ve been going there for a really long time, so it’s always fun and exciting to come home and reconnect with family and friends,” Enders said. “I get to see people I haven’t seen forever, and that’s always nice. We’re gone most of the year, so it’s good to have some familiarity.”
Enders scored her first NHRA national event title there in 2004, winning in Super Gas.
“That was really cool because I grew up at that race track,” Enders said. “I won my first Junior Dragster race there when I was 8. That track’s got a lot of memories, and I’m really close to Seth.”
Enders beat her college roommate, Jonathan Johnson, in the finals that day.
“He and I had grown up racing Jr. Dragsters, so it was one of those Cinderella stories,” Enders said. “It’s something I’ll never forget.
“I’ve had all my first wins there, from Jr. Dragsters to Super Comp to Super Gas to Top Dragster. It’d be cool to have my first Pro Stock win there, too, but we have to go out and earn it.”