NHRA Pro Stock’s Erica Enders Looking To Close Out Run At Home Track With SpringNationals Win

Story By: NHRA – BAYTOWN, TX – It’s where Erica Enders grew up racing and after building years of memories, the four-time Pro Stock world champion will now try to close out Houston Raceway Park with a NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series victory.

The 35th and final NHRA SpringNationals takes place this weekend at the legendary facility, giving Enders one last opportunity to add another great moment to her Houston legacy. Her first national event win came at her home track in 2004 in Super Gas, and she added Pro Stock wins at the facility in 2014 and 2015 en route to championships both years, and Enders has always loved putting on a show in front of family and friends.

Her career started at the track in the Jr. Dragster class and the fitting storyline in Enders’ mind would be grabbing a win in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro in the last NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series event at Houston Raceway Park.

“HRP has meant so much to me my entire life,” Enders said. “I have a ton of memories at this facility, and I literally fell in love with the sport watching my dad race here before I was old enough to drive. When they first announced the Jr. Dragster program, I couldn’t get down here fast enough to start racing myself. It’s always been my home track and a place where I want to win more than any other. I definitely want to win and take in every moment that we possibly can, being that it’s the last race (in Houston). Winning the last race here would be huge.”

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) picked up wins last year in Houston and this year’s race will again be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1). It is the fifth race of the 2022 season, and it is approaching sold-out status throughout the weekend. That would make a win even bigger for Enders, who has already enjoyed some memorable moments in Houston this week.

She threw out the first pitch at the Houston Astros game on Wednesday and will also be honored by the Houston Dash women’s professional soccer team on Thursday, leading into what she hopes will be an incredible weekend. Of course, nothing comes easy in Pro Stock, as Enders will have to tangle with the likes of points leader and teammate Aaron Stanfield, whose first Pro Stock win came at the track in 2020, reigning world champ Greg Anderson, Gainesville winner Dallas Glenn, Troy Coughlin Jr., and Kyle Koretsky. Enders, though, is motivated to perform well in what will be an emotional final weekend at Houston Raceway Park.

“It’s no secret that I bleed Houston, Texas,” Enders said. “I was born and raised here and no matter how much I travel and work, home is always where the heart is. To be asked by the Houston Astros organization to throw out the first pitch, in my hometown, for my favorite MLB team, is surreal. To say I’m honored is an understatement and this was definitely a huge pinch-me moment. This was a great way to kick off what will hopefully be a winning weekend.”

Pro Stock Motorcycle returns to the track for the first time since a record-breaking race in Gainesville that kicked off their 2022 season. There, Karen Stoffer put together an incredible weekend, winning the race and making several of the quickest runs in class history, including a record-breaking blast of 6.665-seconds at 200.71 mph on her Ray Skillman Auto Group/Big St. Charles/Suzuki Extended Protection bike.

It was a monumental weekend for Stoffer, and she has plenty of good vibes heading to Houston, where she has a pair of victories in her career. She’ll look to be the last winner in the class at Houston Raceway Park, but Stoffer will have to get past the likes of Gainesville runner-up Angie Smith, Angelle Sampey, defending world champ Matt Smith, Eddie Krawiec and Steve Johnson to grab the last Houston victory.

“It’s a fun track and we’ve had success there,” Stoffer said. “There’s a lot of good memories there and we’re just excited. I’m just going to stand true to how I race, focus on my job and that’s what motivates me. I think about making good passes. I love this bike. It’s so smooth and just the excitement around that and getting focused on making good passes is the fun part for me.”

Top Fuel’s four-time defending world champ Torrence, a Texas native, will look to grab the final victory in Houston and become the fifth different winner in the class this season. But it won’t be easy against top-tier talents including Brittany Force, Justin Ashley, Mike Salinas, Tony Schumacher, Doug Kalitta, Antron Brown, and Leah Pruett.

In Funny Car, Robert Hight will look to keep rolling in 2022 and pick up his third win this season and the final one in Houston. Standing in his way are standouts like points leader Matt Hagan, whose first Funny Car win came in Houston, John Force, Cruz Pedregon, defending world champ Ron Capps, J.R. Todd, and Alexis DeJoria.

The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which features some of the sport’s top drivers, and the NHRA Summit Racing Series. On Saturday, Toyota-sponsored drivers will be signing autographs at 11:30 a.m. at the Toyota Midway Display, while Dodge-sponsored drivers will have an autograph session at the Dodge Display at 12:30 p.m. Fans can attend Nitro School with Del Worsham to learn more about how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds.

Houston Raceway Park will host the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the final SealMaster Track Walk at the facility. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the final event winners of the NHRA SpringNationals.

As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Houston. This unique opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family. The new Pep Boys midway display will include tire change challenges, oil change challenges, a slot car track and much more, adding even more excitement to the midway.

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, April 22 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 23 at 1 and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on Sunday, April 24. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations action at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

error: Thanks For Visiting Race Pro Weekly ... Like what you see? Tell your friends to check us out!