HOUSTON (April 29) – KLR Group driver Erica Enders’ return to her home track ended almost as soon as her race started.
Enders’ Chevrolet Cobalt bogged on the starting line in her first-round matchup Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway, and she fell to good friend Larry Morgan.
“When I let the clutch out, the car just stuck the tire and bogged,” Enders said. “It’s like I left in third gear, which I didn’t do. The car just bogged. Finally it caught back up and went through low gear. Down the rest of the track, it was pulling fine. I closed an eight-car gap to three or four, but dadgum, it wasn’t even close.”
Enders’ pass was 6.723 seconds at 208.84, the slowest run she made all weekend. Enders qualified No. 6 with a 6.575 at 210.64, and her three other qualifying passes were with .023 seconds of that number.
Morgan advanced to the quarterfinals with a run of 6.655 seconds at 208.55 mph.
Enders and her Cagnazzi Racing team were looking to advance to their second consecutive final round, as Enders turned that trick in Charlotte. She also was hoping to score her first Pro Stock victory at the track where she got her initial national-event win in Super Gas in 2004.
Enders and her GK Motorsports team also hosted numerous guests this weekend, so she was doubly disappointed at the early exit.
“It’s unfortunate because we’re at home, and we’ve got a bunch of guests out here,” Enders said. “To make the four, awesome, consistent runs that we made in qualifying, and then to go out first round and have something as stupid as that happen, it disgusts me. I’m upset about it, but it is what it is. We’ve got to figure out what happened, fix it and go on to the next one.”
The next one happens quickly, as Atlanta Dragway hosts the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals next weekend.
“That’ll be helpful,” Enders said. “My teammate Dave Connolly is still in here, and he’s got a really great car today. He’s got a good shot at winning this deal. I wish it was me, but I’ll be standing behind him and trying to bring one home for Cagnazzi Racing, GK Motorsports and the KLR Group.
“The good news for us is we get to go to Atlanta in three days and try again.”