Two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens. 32, has given up her seat behind the wheel of Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to drive a Dodge Dart GT for Mopar when she returns to defend her championship for the 2016 season.
“We’re entering a new era of Pro Stock and it’s going to be awesome to take a new Mopar-powered Dodge Dart into 2016 and beyond,” Enders-Stevens stated. “We won the last two championships with carburetors and now the goal is to win the first one with fuel injection. The Dart Pro Stock cars look awesome and I’m already very familiar with Mopar because I’ve driven for them in the past (2006-2007)”.
Not only did Enders-Stevens win the NHRA titles back-to-back, she also broke 2 records for female NHRA drivers during 2015, beginning in September when at Charlotte’s zMax Dragway, where she claimed her 19th career win, surpassing Shirley Muldowney in Top Fuel for the most NHRA national event wins by a female driver. Then, the following month, Erica won her 8th race of the year competing at Texas Motorplex, where she broke Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Angelle Sampey’s single-season record of 7- wins in 2001.
Breaking records seems to have become a way of life for Enders, who began racing at the age of 8 in 1992. The following year she won the the Division 4 Jr. Dragster championship in the 8 to 9 year old class, and in 1995 she was named Junior Dragster Driver of the Year. After winning 37 races during her years in junior dragster, she advanced to her first national event final (Houston) to become the youngest NHRA national event finalist at the age of 16, and was named NHRA Sportsman Rookie of the Year in 2000.
In 2004, Enders-Stevens became the 35th woman in NHRA history to earn a national event victory, in Super Gas class at Houston. In 2005, she became the first woman to compete in the NHRA’s Pro Stock Category since 1993, the first woman in NHRA history to qualify in the top-half of a Pro Stock field, as well as the first woman to reach a final round in Pro Stock (at Chicago). Enders-Stevens achieved more round wins in 2005 than all other female drivers in NHRA Pro Stock history combined, and was a finalist for the “Road to the Future” award for the season’s top rookie.
In 2006, Enders-Stevens became the first woman to qualify No. 1 in Pro Stock at Heartland Park, Topeka, Kansas, and recorded another runner-up finish at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. 5-years later she broke the national speed record in Pro Stock at 213.57 mph (343.71 km/h) at the Gainesville round, and defeated 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch in Round One of that meet. Then became the 1st woman to win in NHRA Pro Stock, beating four-time champion Greg Anderson in the finals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Il on July 2, 2012, while driving for Cagnazzi Racing. Her winning time was 6.627 seconds for the 1,320-foot run. She ended the year with a career best 4th in the points in the Countdown to the Championship in NHRA Pro Stock and followed that up with a 6th place finish in 2013.
In 2014, Enders-Stevens became the first woman to win the NHRA Pro Stock World Championship, taking 6- races for the year (an NHRA event win requires winning 4 consecutive wins over competitors drawn from the 16 fastest cars at that event), including the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals to clinch the title. She currently holds both sides of the NHRA National Record for Pro Stock, 6.464 seconds and 215.55 mph set at Englishtown, NJ in 2014.