The glory days are almost back for Elite Motorsports drivers Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr.
While both are multi-time champions in the NHRA Pro Stock division, they endured a rough year in 2016 which saw the team switch to MOPAR power and struggle with the new regulations.
Elite Motorsports returned to Chevrolet power for the 2017 season and, just seven rounds in, the results are starting to show with both Coughlin and Enders already having made final-round appearances.
For Enders, her appearance in Sunday’s Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Atlanta was her first shot at a win in 32 races.
“It should have been three holeshot wins today but yes, this race was definitely a confidence booster,” said Enders, reports Geiger Media Global. Enders took two holeshot wins en route to Sunday’s final. “I wish we were holding the Wally right now but there are a lot races left this year and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for us. The coolest part is everyone knows we’re back and we’re back to being a force to be reckoned with again.”
Enders also got the Holeshot on Bo Butner in the final, but it was Butner who just made it first across the line.
Enders’ path to the final on Sunday didn’t come easy as her Elite Motorsport team had to change the engine in her car twice. However, the team got the job done and Enders says she is pleased with the results.
“I’m proud of my team and the performance we’ve found lately,” Enders continued. “Jake Harrison and Nick Ferri, who build our motors, along with all of the guys back at Elite Performance, have been working around the clock and the scoreboards are finally indicating the hard work that goes on to make us look good. I’m proud of them.
“I’m really glad I did my job, especially after red-lighting in Houston and getting timed out in Charlotte – two moments I would like to forget. I’m a better driver than what I’ve shown the last two weeks. Getting a little bit of redemption here, even if it was just for myself, is what I needed.”
For Enders’ teammate Coughlin, he made it through as far as the semi-finals on Sunday where he was also eliminated by Butner.
“Showed some good brass today winning the first couple of rounds but the car got a little bit out of control on me in the semifinals,” said Coughlin. “It was bleeding a little bit to the right and by the time I got to fourth gear it just wasn’t coming back for me. Instead it was pushing harder to the right and I had to push the clutch.
“All I could do at that point was watch Bo mosey on down through there ahead of me. It was shaping up to be a good drag race but I couldn’t keep her in the groove. We were damn-near neck-and-neck at the 330 but the car had different ideas.”
Enders and Coughlin will both get another shot to try and win again at the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka in two weeks’ time.