With an incredible performance on the starting line, Erica Enders ensured that history will have to wait for Greg Anderson.
Enders was a brilliant .005 on the starting line, holding off Anderson in the Pro Stock final round at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, with her run of 6.606-seconds at 205.44 mph enough to slip past Anderson’s 6.594 at 206.20.
Anderson was a solid .030 on the starting line, but Enders was tuned up for Sunday’s final as she prevented her longtime rival from tying Warren Johnson for the most wins in Pro Stock history (97).
In the process, Enders, the back-to-back defending champ, picked up her second victory this year and 31st in her standout career. After struggling through an up-and-down season, Enders and her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports team came to life when it counted.
“This is huge mojo. My team, they always step up to the plate,” Enders said. “After the semifinals, we knew we had to tune it up and we came back and made a bunch of changes. I’m just thrilled and I’m really proud of this team. I couldn’t be more excited and I couldn’t be more proud."
Sunday marked the second final for Enders in 2021 and 57th in her career. She got there thanks to victories against Cristian Cuadra, Elite Motorsports teammate Bruno Massel, and Kyle Koretsky.
Enders’ car wasn’t spectacular, but it was efficient, and then both the car and the driver raised their performance in the championship round that pitted a pair of four-time world champions.
Anderson made his fourth finals appearance in seven races on Sunday, picking up victories against Fernando Cuadra, Val Smeland and KB Racing teammate Matt Hartford, going 6.627 in the semifinals to advance to his 162nd career final round.
Anderson, who also qualified No. 1 for the sixth time in seven races in 2021 in his HendrickCars.com Camaro, was understandably crestfallen after the loss, especially after losing in the final round in Epping and putting together his best run of the weekend in the final on Sunday.
The veteran was solid on the starting line all day and vowed that his historic 97th career win is coming.
“I’m going to get it done, I guarantee it,” Anderson said. “These last few races I’ve been a little snakebitten. I’m so proud of this team and the job everyone has done, and I’m even proud of the job I did driving. She had a killer light in the final and she’s a great driver, and she came up with it when she needed it. It was just a great drag race, and I’ll move onto the next one. My future still looks bright.”
Anderson maintained his healthy points lead in the class, while Enders jumped all the way to second after her memorable victory.