2-TIME NHRA CHAMP ERICA ENDERS MAKING RUNS IN NEW PRO MOD ENTRY
While two-time champion Erica Enders prepares for another season in Pro Stock, her and her Elite Motorsports team have another title in sight: The J&A Service NHRA Pro Mod Series title.
Elite Motorsports tested a turbocharged Chevrolet Camaro Pro Mod car this week at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, with Enders behind the wheel. And Richard Freeman's Elite team would love to race the car in NHRA's Pro Mod Series, with Enders driving, as well as other non-NHRA Pro Mod events, with Clint Hairston driving.
"We built this car and have every intention of running it in the 12 NHRA Pro Mod races and competing for a world championship," Enders said. "We did this under the impression we would be able to race because I'm a former pro world champion – as the rulebook states. You don't have to have the grade points.
"We were informed this past week while we were down in Bradenton that we were going to have to sponsor a race at a fee of $35,000 to be able to compete in Pro Mod. Our plans are contingent on that."
The "our" also includes Jake Hairston, Clint's brother and engine builder at Elite Performance, and their father, Jim. Clint Hairston has driven a family-owned Pro Mod car in the past, so the partnership with Elite Motorsports makes sense.
"Elite Performance is the engine-building part of our business, and we build motors for Sportsman racers," Enders said. "We obviously can build great horsepower, so we want to start dabbling in Pro Mod. We've put this turbo motor together, and we built a brand new Rick Jones Camaro. It's awesome.
"We have the car, and we've got a great crew to work on it. I'm learning to drive it, and I think good things are to come. We've just got to figure out what the process is to get entered for these races."
The first NHRA Pro Mod race is the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals on March 16-18 at Gainesville Raceway. Enders hopes the process for entering the Pro Mod Series will be agreed upon for Elite and NHRA before then.
So why a Pro Mod car? In addition to being a good way to promote Elite Performance's engine capabilities, it's another way for Enders to get behind the wheel. The Pro Stock star has dabbled in Super Gas the last couple of seasons for Elite, and it's clear she loves to drive.
"I've always wanted to do it," Enders said. "Just for fun. I'll race anything. It's fast, it's exciting. The procedure is actually quite simple compared to a Pro Stock car."
Enders has driven a Pro Mod car in the last, getting behind the wheel of Keith Haney's nitrous car a few years ago when she was between Pro Stock rides.
"Haney's car was an automatic also, but his was a nitrous car, so there's a slightly different staging procedure," Enders said. "And there's a slightly different feel going down the track. Same concept, really."
There's another reason for racing a Pro Mod for Enders and Elite. Depending on who you talk to, the Pro Stock class is in trouble. Enders and the Elite team don't subscribe to that line of thinking, but they don't want to go down with the ship, so to speak.
But if something happens to the Pro Stock class, you still will see Enders driving a red Chevrolet Camaro – just in the Pro Mod series.
"And with the state NHRA says Pro Stock is in – which I don't believe – we just thought, 'Let's add something else to the our resume, just in case,'" Enders said.