Erica Enders targeting return to winner’s circle with Chevrolet

Erica Enders has finished 1st, 1st and 9th in the last three NHRA Pro Stock championship seasons. (Photo: Geiger Media Global)

There isn’t really a way to sugarcoat Erica Enders’ 2016 season, but the two-time champion still holds her head high knowing that 2016 was a “character-building year.”

Coming off of back-to-back championships, Elite Motorsports made the switch to Mopar power as the NHRA Pro Stock class underwent several regulation changes heading into the season.

The changes did not play into their favor, and Enders found herself 400 points back of the 2016 title winner Jason Line in ninth place, with her teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. in 10th, at the end of the year.

For 2017, however, Enders will be back behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Camaro, with which she took 15 wins overall during her championship seasons.

“We are so anxious to get back on track, to be at the races with a car and combination we know can put us in the winner’s circle,” said Enders. “It’s really all you ever want as a driver and as a race team; the chance to win. We have that again and we’re super excited to get started.

“[2016] was a challenging year but what we went through made us stronger. What we went through would have torn a lot of teams apart but it didn’t hurt us at all. Yeah, we were upset we weren’t performing well but we still joked around, still had fun, and we smiled through it all.

“It was a character-building year, and it showed me there is zero ego on this team. It’s easy to be all happy when you’re winning but the true measure of people comes when times are tough. We’re tough.”

To pick up her third title in four years, Enders will have to find a way to beat the KB Racing outfit. It won’t be an easy task, as KB Racing teammates Jason Line and Greg Anderson won 16 out of 24 races during the 2016 season.

However, even if she can’t get it done, Enders still knows that there will be a reason to smile after the the nitro has dissipated in November.

“This year is gonna be great because I already know what we’re capable of and so does everyone else,” adds Enders. “At the same time, I learned we don’t need win lights and trophies to be fulfilled. Being a family, having each other’s backs no matter what, being together through it all, that’s what matters.”