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ON THE THROTTLE WITH … ERICA ENDERS
The defending NHRA Pro Stock champ opens up about which of her two crowns was sweetest, the time she almost called it a career, radical changes in the doorslammer class, coming home to Mopar® and her at-track superstitions.
MOPAR® MAGAZINE: Two championships are better than one; how do they compare?
Erica Enders: I’m so thankful for a second championship, but the way the fi rst one happened (in 2014), that feeling will never be replaced. Having it come down to the fi nal round at the fi nal race for all the marbles — that was pretty cool.
MM: You’re second for most wins by a female racer, with more victories than the legendary Shirley Muldowney. Is that hard to comprehend?
EE: It’s crazy. Shirley, growing up, she was my hero. And she’s become a mentor and friend. It was really neat to put my name on a list with her and Angelle (Sampey, leader in wins by a female driver) for the club of female champions.
MM: You paid your dues and had your share of challenges. What was your low point, and how does it feel to be on top?
EE: It’s been a long road. It just goes to show if you work hard and surround yourself with the right people, all the perseverance pays off. At the end of 2013, I was over it and ready to hang it up. You kind of lose faith and wonder if your dream is really worth it. If that wasn’t a lesson from God, I don’t know what was, because I was put with the right people and was able to succeed. Together, we’re amazing.
MM: New sponsor, electronic fuel injection, no hood scoops, shorter wheelie bars — are you ready for the changes coming to Pro Stock?
EE: There are a lot of changes, especially for our team. Switching to Mopar, we had to build two new race cars, develop the engines, switch everything to fuel injection. It’s going to be a challenge, but I believe we can do it. The support Mopar offers from the engineering side, the wind tunnel, it’s insane. Adding Mopar to our Elite Motorsports group is a recipe for success. We might not start out setting the world on fi re, but give us a minute and I guarantee we will be great.
MM: What Mopar car do you wish you had in your garage?
EE: I want that Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT®. I saw one during my visit to Auburn Hills, and I was like “Dang, I’ve got to get one of those!”
“As far as superstitions, my guys and I are goofy: we all wear red underwear on Sunday.”
SALUTING THEIR SERVICE
“I’m a huge supporter of our troops. I grew up in a military house, and I had the opportunity to visit the troops in Kuwait and Iraq for 17 days in 2009, and it was hands-down the coolest experience of my life.”
“I do everything the same every time, that’s my ritual. That way I don’t forget a step. I put my gear on in the same order, I do the same stretches and breathing, the same visualizations back in the pit.”