Anyone who has seen the Disney Original Movie Right On Track knows about Erica Enders. In fact, anyone who recognizes a fantastic drag racer when they see one knows Erica Enders, too. So, what is it about this female driver that has earned her worldwide recognition? It probably has to do with her multiple championships, dating back to 1992, when she was just eight years old. Once Erica hit the gas all those years ago, she never let up.
As of the publication of this article, Enders is sitting in first place in the Pro Stock class of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. If she continues to dominate the way she has been in 2022, she'll earn her fifth Pro Stock championship. All in a year's work for Houston, Texas native who's been making waves in the sport of drag racing for 30 years.
Eight Year Olds Are Into Drag Racing?
Heck yeah they are, and in the case of Erica Enders, they're good at it, too.
The 38-year-old Enders first took to the track in Division 4 Junior Dragster competitions. In 1993, she won the division championship, and in 1995, she was named Junior Dragster Driver of the Year. She continued racing in the Juniors until 2000, when she made the move to NHRA national events. Not only was she the youngest NHRA national event finalist at age 16, but she was also named NHRA Sportsman Rookie of the Year.
Being a Female Driver in the NHRA
As it turns out, there are not many women competing in NHRA Pro Stock races. In fact, Erica Enders holds a lot of records that start with the phrase "the first woman."
In 2005, she was the first woman to compete in the Pro Stock category since 1993, which she then followed up with a number of milestones, such as becoming the first woman qualifying in the top half of her field and the first woman to reach a final round. By the end of 2005, she had collected more round wins than all of the previous Pro Stock female drivers in NHRA history. She was even nominated to be the season's top rookie. She started off 2006 right, becoming the first woman to qualify No. 1, which she followed up with a runner-up finish at the Gatornationals in Gainesville.
In 2011, she began driving for Cagnazzi Racing, and not only broke the Pro Stock speed record at Gainesville that year, but also blew NASCAR driver Kurt Busch away in the first round.
How to Become a Pro Stock World Champion
Erica Enders got her first Pro Stock win in 2012 in the final round at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. With a winning time of 6.627 seconds, she beat four-time champion Greg Anderson to become the first woman to win a Pro Stock race. That's a lot of firsts for a single 1,320-foot run!
Following a solid 2013 season that included two wins and a sixth-place finish in the standings, Enders really kicked things into gear in 2014 behind the wheel of the Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, winning the NHRA Pro Stock World Championship while racking up with six total event wins throughout the season.
Enders capped off 2015 with several more firsts and beat two NHRA records thanks to her nine-win season. Not only did she beat the record for most national events career wins by a female driver, but she also won more races in a single season than Angelle Sampey, the previous record holder. Oh yeah, and she was NHRA world champ again that year, too.
What's Erica Enders Doing Today?
Oh, you know. The usual.
In 2020, Erica won four events in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro on the way to her fourth Pro Stock world championship, which she solidified with her victory at the Dodge NHRA Finals in Las Vegas. She continued to crush the competition in 2021 by winning another four events, including her third NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Raceway
Erica clearly never gets tired of dominating, because she's been doing it once again in 2022. She's won five of the nine Pro Stock events that have been run so far this season, and she still has 12 events to go, putting her on pace to break the record of nine wins that she set back in 2015. Something tells me that Erica is bound to make history this year. But, that's nothing new for her.
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