The first woman to win in NHRA’s ultra-competitive Pro Stock class.

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Erica Enders Continues to Make History with yet Another Victor
The first woman to win in NHRA’s ultra-competitive Pro Stock class.
Pro Stock's Enders seeks elusive win
I should be so lucky
Erica Enders is comer in NHRA Pro Stock
Enders, Troxel make it Ladies' Day at Heartland
Enders in the History Books Now

Contact: (not connected)
Related Issue: Women Racers Directory, Women in Racing, Women Racers, More Women in Racing, Race Schedules, Notable Women

Erica Enders - Age: 21 Races: NHRA Pro Stock Series What’s so special: This former NHRA dragster champion started drag racing at nine and moved to Pro Stock for ’05. She is the youngest-ever National Event finalist, and Disney based its movie Right on Track on her life. Last year she became the first female to reach a Pro Stock final round when she advanced that far at the fall Joliet race.


Pro Stock's Enders seeks elusive win.

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Pomona Pro Stock Q1 Update: 13th Bob Glidden (6.666/207.34). 16th Larry Morgan (6.834/207.18) 20th Erica Enders

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Enders appears in 18 month Women in the Winner's Circle 2007 calendar along with 17 other women throughout the motorsports field.

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Erica Enders, the first woman to advance to a Pro Stock final, has parted ways with Victor Cagnazzi Racing and will drive a Dodge Stratus for Schumacher Racing next weekend in Denver. The plan then is to compete on her own while running under the DSR umbrella. Enders set for rebound in Brainerd


  • Nickname: "Wunderkid" and "Ricka" (like my name and the sound a car makes revving up)
  • Place of birth: Houston, TX
  • Date of birth: 10-8-83
  • Marital status: Single
  • Height/weight: 5´8´´, 125 lbs.
  • Hobbies: Racing, working out, shopping, bowling, traveling and watching football
  • Notable: Former NHRA Jr. Dragster racer; Most successful female Pro Stock driver in NHRA history; Has raced in Super Gas and Super Comp; Was the subject of a Disney Channel original movie, Right On Track
  • Has driven Pro Stock, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Super Comp, Super Gas and Jr. Dragsters.
  • Education: Will be a senior at Cypress Springs High School and plan to attend Texas A&M for business and sports marketing.
  • Family: Mom: Jane, Dad: Gregg, Sister: Courtney, Brother: Tom
  • Age when started racing: 9 years of age
  • Missed opportunities because of racing: Volleyball tournaments, dates, school dances, sports tourneys, football games and parties.
  • Regrets: None, I wouldn't trade my life for anything
  • Type of racing: Drag Racing
  • Type of car: Super Comp Dragster and Super Gas Corvette
  • Sponsor(s): MRO Software, Pennzoil, Champion, Gates Belts & Hoses
  • Fastest speed: 206.48 MPH
  • Awards: 2000 NHRA Rookie of the Year, 1995 Jr. Dragster Driver of the Year, National Team Member from 1994-2001
  • Records: Youngest ever National Event Finalist (age 16, Super Comp O'Reilly Nationals)
  • Best racing experience: Winning Rookie of the Year, Driver of the Year, and runner-up at first National event as a professional driver.
  • Worst racing incident: Red Lighting in the finals at the 1994 Nationals and almost wrecking in Dallas
  • Toughest track: Indy because the best of the best are there and weather conditions are very difficult.
  • Burning ambition: To become a Top Fuel driver and be a successful businesswoman
  • Favorite music: Everything…Country and Alternative
  • Dislikes: Being away from home for long periods of time
  • Hobbies: Volleyball (year round), golf, watching NASCAR and football on TV, shopping, spending time with friends
  • Favorite food: Mexican
  • Favorite fruit: Watermelon, blackberries and strawberries
  • Favorite movie: Gone in 60 seconds, Fast and Furious, Driven, Days of Thunder, and Top Gun
  • Favorite actor/actress: Ben Afleck, Nicolas Gage, and Tom Cruise
  • Dream car: 1967 Shelby GT 500
  • Most admired people: My Dad, Gregg, and my Brother, Tom
  • People who influenced you most: My dad, I want to be just like him. And I wanna party like Courtney!
  • Dreaded weekly chore: Laundry and cleaning my room
  • Important qualities to succeed in life: Work hard, practice, love pressure and trust in God
  • Community involvement: Women in sports, helping less fortunate and church activities.
  • Career Best ET: 6.603
  • Career Best Speed: 209.62

Enders, from Houston, drove her Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevy Cobalt to a runner-up effort at Chicago to become the first woman in NHRA history to advance to a final round in Pro Stock eliminations. Last weekend at Dallas she posted a semifinal finish. She is only the fifth female to ever compete in the 200 mph category. Having qualified for 11 races, she has recorded career-best performances of 6.670 seconds and 206.48 mph, with a top qualifying effort of fifth.

EMP Stewart Components racer Erica Enders (left) made history when she became the first woman to reach the Pro Stock finals of a National Hot Rod Association event Sunday at Route 66 Speedway in Joliet, IL.

Unfortunately, Enders, who had engine problems in her semi-final win over fellow EMP Stewart Components racer Warren Johnson, fell to Jason Line in the finals.

Enders piloted her Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevrolet Cobalt to wins over Ron Krisher and Mike Edwards earlier in the day to make the final. With rain on the horizon, Line waited at the starting line for Enders to arrive after her team did a full engine swap prior to the final match up.

"There was no way I was going to win with a single," Line said after the show of sportsmanship. "I was going to wait for her no matter what. There was never a doubt about waiting for her and we all agreed on that while we were up there. She's great and she deserved to race, so we waited.”

Line then took the meet title when Enders red lighted at the tree. He closed out the event with a solid 6.719-second, 205.88 miles per hour pass while Enders turned a 6,772, 203.77 effort.


Erica Enders Continues to Make History with yet Another Victory – Fan’s View
Heading into this summer, Erica Enders was still without a win in her eighth season of professional NHRA drag racing. The Pro Stock driver along with her team including crew chief Dave Connolly and owner/engine builder Victor Cagnazzi had shown signs they could win. But up until seven weeks ago, Enders and team had nothing to show for it. Times, they are a changin'.

In Chicago, Enders made history, becoming the first female driver to win a Pro Stock event. Then a couple weeks ago in Seattle, she won and when combined with a victory by rookie Courtney Force in Funny Car, it marked the first time two women had won at the same meet in two professional classes (see related articles). But Enders wasn't done.

She backed that win up with another victory at Brainerd, Minnesota, giving the lady that hadn't won in eight long years, three wins inside of two months (source - USA Today). With the win, she moved into fifth in the point standings and also qualified for the playoffs (Countdown). Enders is the first female to win a pro class at Brainerd since Shirley Muldowney did it 30 years ago.


And she did it dominating at all phases. First, they qualified number one (her first of the year), knocking off the Dodge of Allen Johnson who had six number ones in-a-row. Then during eliminations, she had an almost impossible .001 reaction time in the first round and then came back with a lightning quick .012 in the quarterfinals. This was against two-time and defending Pro Stock champion Jason Line, who she had to drive around with his quicker reaction time of .007.

In the semis, Enders had a problem with her launch but the car was fast enough to catch veteran driver Larry Morgan by less than two-hundredths of a second. For the final, she was matched up against Johnson who has dominated the class of late. Enders had another .012 reaction versus Johnson's very good .022 but he had tire shake, while her Cagnazzi powered Chevrolet Cobalt hit the lights with yet another strong run.

In the other pro categories, Morgan Lucas won Top Fuel, defeating points leader Antron Brown. Ron Capps beat John Force to solidify his spot atop the Funny Car standings. And in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec once again was victorious with his Harley, beating Hector Arana Jr. who red-lit.


But Erica Enders is the story right now in drag racing and there doesn't seem to be anything that can stop her.

Greg Anderson, a four-time Pro Stock champion, may have put it best when he said (to ESPN) of her first win, beating Anderson in the final back at Chicago: "I'm in the history book now for the wrong reason. But the bottom line is this has been a long time coming for Erica. You knew she was going to win soon. I didn't want to be the guy on the other end, but I am now and it's probably going to open the floodgates for her."

Anderson was prophetic, I would say.
Sources - NHRA, Cagnazzi Racing

The first woman to win in NHRA’s ultra-competitive Pro Stock class. (7/26/12)

KLR Group driver Erica Enders has already made history as the first woman to win in NHRA’s ultra-competitive Pro Stock class.

This weekend at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sears Point Raceway, Enders would like to make some more history by becoming only the second woman to win an NHRA national event in Sonoma, joining Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Angelle Sampey.

“It would be awesome,” Enders said. “It’d be one tick away from being as cool as being the first.”

Sampey, who has 41 career victories, won at Sonoma in 2004, and no other female has won a national event in the four pro categories here.

“I was a big fan of hers growing up,” Enders said. “We’re friends now, and I went to her wedding and her baby shower. She lives an hour away from me. She’s a cool Cajun chick and a super-talented racer. She’s the most successful female driver in history, so I look up to her a lot.

“I know what she’s been through and have a lot of respect for her. To put my name on the list with hers would be awesome.”

Enders put her name on the list of Pro Stock winners July 1 at Route 66 Raceway, and she remains the lone female to win in the class. Enders is now looking to get back to her winning ways this weekend.

“I’m excited to go back to Sonoma,” Enders said. “I say it all the time, but it’s one of my favorite tracks in the whole country. I love the area, I love the wine country and I love the facility.

“We went to the semis there last year, where we had a stupid malfunction and didn’t get down the race track against Greg (Anderson), so I’m looking to come back swinging and hopefully do well there. It’ll be nice to be back at sea level also.”

A victory would also be a birthday present for Brita Cagnazzi, the wife of Enders’ car owner, Victor Cagnazzi.

“It’d be great to score a win for her,” Enders said. “My GK Motorsports guys will work their butts off this weekend, and my confidence in them doesn’t change. We’re going there to win the race, and we’ll do all we can do get there.”

Pro Stock's Enders seeks elusive win - 9/2/11

Looking at the big picture, Erica Enders has already achieved a breakthrough by qualifying for her first Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship. But she enters this weekend's 57th Mac Tools U.S. Nationals seeking something more tangible: her first Pro Stock victory. After she came close three times this season, finally grasping it would not only bring her huge personal satisfaction but also historical significance as the NHRA's first woman to do so.

Not that winning on drag racing's biggest stage wouldn't be great.

"There's no better place than (Indianapolis) to do it," said Enders, who stands 241 points behind leader Greg Anderson in fifth place but 12 behind fourth place Vincent Nobile. "And not getting (to victory lane) before Indy makes it more important to win it there."

The Victor Cagnazzi Racing driver hasn't missed by much in her two recent final-round losses to Anderson, dropping both by less than one-tenth of a second. In Joliet, IL, in July, she actually had the better elapsed time but Anderson closed faster.

After six-plus seasons, including the last three running a limited schedule, Enders says victory will come when it's meant to. As it is, she'll post her career-best points finish and has already qualified No. 1 twice.

The Houston native enters with the consistency needed to sustain her through the Countdown to the Championship. Enders has reached the semifinals in four of her last five starts (including two finales) and her ZaZa Energy-sponsored Chevrolet Cobalt has qualified in the top half of the bracket the last eight meets. "I believe it is a matter to time, but that doesn't dismiss the fact that it hasn't happened," she said. "The cards just haven't fallen yet. But we've been there, so it wouldn't surprise me when we do it."

Forty-two women have competed in the Full Throttle Dray Racing Series, with a large number competing in the three other pro classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock Motorcycle.) Angelle Sampey (Motorcycle) and Shirley Muldowney (Top Fuel) each won three titles, and recent seasons have seen women become more visible in those classes.

Enders is the fifth female to compete in Pro Stock, although she's noticing more women becoming interested. Her rise from the NHRA Junior Dragster League through the Lucas Oil Series got attention from Disney Channel, which profiled her in the 2003 movie Right On Track.

"Every school or racetrack I show up at, we get people with stories saying they saw the movie and (their) daughter or son wanted them to buy them a car," said Enders, 27. "And it's really cool to hear. It was an awesome experience."

Enders has achieved several footnotes since, becoming the first women to reach a Pro Stock final in 2005 in Joliet and the division's first female Countdown qualified.

"I'm very blessed to be in the position I'm in," Enders said. "Being seven years in Pro Stock, I thought things wouldn't been a little different. But everything that's happened has happened for a reason."
Source: USA Today, 9/2/11 (Editor's note: Karen Stoffer is only 51 points behind leader Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.)

I should be so lucky - 7/5/2006

I hope that when my 4-year-old daughter Sara (pictured) is 22 that she wants to spend time with me, work with me, and look up to me the way Erica Enders does with her dad Gregg. Isn't this the ultimate dream? To get along with your kids so well they end up wanting to be best friends with you when they're adults?

Now let me preface this column entry with a disclaimer: I do have a personal relationship with Erica and Gregg. I once did her PR when she was a Junior Dragster racer. We all live in Houston and I see them quite a bit. At the same time, I would admit to having a personal relationship with a majority of the Pros on tour. It's pretty hard not to when we live, eat, and work together 24/7/365.

Back to the Enders story; I laugh out loud when I hear people say that Gregg is a soccer dad. In fact, I kid him about that all the time. The truth is, and this is gonna hurt the curmudgeons out there, Gregg has gone a long way to make sure that both of his daughters are totally independent. And they are. If anything, Gregg is a bit neurotic and he's constantly worried about dying young and leaving his girls unprepared for the big, bad world out there. Believe me, he's made sure that isn't going to happen.

Both of his girls attend Texas A&M University and are happy to get away from dear ol' dad on occasion. But they never go a day without calling him (not the other way around.) I sure hope I'm burdened like that once I release Sara into the great unknown.

Here's another stinger some people are going to hate to hear -- Gregg isn't loaded and he didn't bring any money at all to buy Erica the seat in Victor Cagnazzi's car or the one she's moving to at Don Schumacher Racing. Zero dollars. Gregg has bought and sold a few companies in the 10-plus years I've known him and he's certainly not poor, but I can tell you it would take less than one season on the NHRA tour to deplete his bank account. He loves to race, especially with his daughters, but he likes to eat too and he's not dumb. Darn, there goes that theory.

I went out to eat with Gregg and Erica in St. Louis and they each paid for their portion of the bill by themselves. Did Gregg leave the silver spoon in his pocket for my benefit?

Here's a novel concept that is really going to ruin some people's already miserable day -- Like any other business, if Gregg and Erica can't fund their program, they won't be racing for long at DSR. Oh the horror! They're just like the other teams out there.

If the parting with Cagnazzi Racing was so terrible, why did Victor get choked up when I talked to him about it? If the sponsor is somehow getting shafted by the move, why are they still with Cagnazzi and Enders? Bottom line, some times things don't work out and no one can really put their finger on a reason why. It's like many divorces, there isn't one big reason why it happens, as much as it's 1,000 little things that add up and finally break the union.

In my opinion, Victor and his team will survive and prosper and Erica and her dad will too. I sure hope that's the case because you'd be hard pressed to find a better guy than Victor Cagnazzi, and for that matter Gregg Enders…just ask his daughter

Enders in the History Books Now

Pro Stock rookie Erica Enders became just the fourth woman in NHRA history to qualify for a 16- car elimination round today at Firebird International Raceway.

The 21-year-old Houston resident drove her Cagnazzi Racing Chevy Cavalier to a 6.789-second pass at 203.40 mph to qualify in the No. 16 spot. It is her second professional race and first qualifying effort.

Enders will face Richie Stevens in the first round. Enders and Stevens are the first two former Jr. Dragster drivers in NHRA history to graduate to Pro Stock.

"We may have qualified 16th, but we're still racing on Sunday and that's what matters most," Enders said. "We have Richie in the first round and that's going to make it even better because we used to race together for a long time."

Career Stats 2000-Present – NHRA Championship Drag Racing

(Super Comp Dragster and Super Gas Corvette)

  • 2007: Raced to a semifinal finish in a limited season of racing
  • 2006: Became first woman to qualify No. 1 in Pro Stock (Topeka); Recorded runner-up finish at Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.; Fulfilled her dream to become an independent team owner when she and father Gregg bought her ride from Don Schumacher
  • 2005: Became first woman to compete in NHRA's Pro Stock Category since 1993; First woman in NHRA history to qualify in the top-half of a Pro Stock field; Became first woman to reach a final round in Pro Stock (Chicago 2); Nominee for “Road to the Future” Award for the season’s top rookie.
  • 2004: Became the 35th woman in NHRA history to earn a national event victory (Super Gas, Houston)
  • 2003: Had her life story made into the Disney Original Movie Right On Track
  • 6th in Division 4 Super Comp Points (As of September 1, 2003)
  • 6 NHRA Championship wins
  • NHRA Sportsman Rookie of the Year 2000
  • NHRA Division 4 Rookie of the Year 2000
  • “Quick 32” Champion 2001
  • Youngest NHRA National Event Finalist 2000
  • Sunoco Super Shootout Winner 2000, 2001
  • NHRA 50th Anniversary Super Pro Race Champion 2002
  • Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing graduate 2000
  • Best Engineered Car Award 2000, 2002
  • Best Appearing Car Award 2001, 2002
  • Best Appearing Crew Award 2002
  • Best E.T. 6.670 seconds and 206.48 mph

Career Stats 1992-1999 – NHRA Junior Drag Racing League

  • 1992: Began drag racing at the age of 8; Original Jr. Dragster car is on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum; Earned 37 career Jr. Dragster wins in eight years of competition
  • 37 Junior Dragster wins
  • National Team Champion
  • Division 4 Champion
  • 2X Spring Nationals Champion
  • Summer Nationals Champion
  • Winter Nationals Champion
  • Race of Champions Winner
  • Multiple Track Championships
  • Driver of the Year
  • Pennzoil Jubilee Nationals Champion
  • Best Engineered Car Award (many)
  • Best Appearing Car Award (many)
  • Best Appearing Crew Award (many)


  • Born October 8, 1983 – Houston, Texas
  • Subject of 2003 Disney Channel Original Movie, “Right On Track”,
  • The Erica Enders Life Story
  • Began racing NHRA Junior Dragsters at age 8
  • JR Dragster Driver of the year 1995
  • Graduated to full-size NHRA dragsters at age 16
  • Youngest NHRA National Event Finalist, age 16 years 5 months
  • NHRA Rookie of the Year 2000 (As a Super Comp Driver)
  • Original Junior Dragster inducted into the NHRA Museum
  • Graduate – Frank Hawley Drag Racing School (October 99)
  • Currently attending Texas A&M University Business School


Erica Enders is comer in NHRA Pro Stock

Q: I was really happy to see that Erica Enders, who had a Disney Channel movie made about her drag-racing abilities, is now running in Pro Stock in NHRA. Can she win? — Samantha P., e-mail from California

A: You bet she can, Samantha. In her first professional race, she just missed qualifying in the toughest division in NHRA racing: Pro Stock. With only 16 spots to fill at each race, the list of non-qualifiers often numbers 15 or more pro racers who pack up and go home. Specifically, Erica drove her Cagnazzi Racing Chevy Cavalier at the season-opening 2005 Winternationals to a

6.786-second run at 202.67 mph and finished 18th best, just missing the 6.671 qualifying bump spot.

If she wins, and I believe eventually she will, she’ll become the first female to win in the Pro Stock division.

Only four other women have ever competed in the class since its inception back in the early ’70s: Shirley Shahan, Judy Lilly, Lucinda McFarland and Shay Nichols. Of those four women, only Lilly and Shahan earned a win at the national level, but they did so in the lower Super Stock and Stock classes, respectively.

No female racer has won or qualified No. 1 in Pro Stock’s 31-year history, with McFarland posting the category’s lone female round win before losing in round two. Earlier this season, Enders, who was born in Houston, Texas, claimed the Super Gas crown at the NHRA national event in — you guessed it — Houston.

The Walt Disney made-forTV movie entitled "Right on Track" was based loosely on Erica and sister Courtney’s life story as Junior Drag Racers up to Erica’s rookie season in 2000. Beverley Mitchell, noted for her role on "7th Heaven," played Erica in the movie, and was at Erica’s pro debut as a team member to cheer her on.

Following her graduation from Cy Springs High School, where she lettered in both volleyball and golf while racing and maintaining a straight "A" average, Erica was accepted and is now a full-time student at Texas A&M University. She plans to graduate as a Business and Sports Marketing major in 2006. Erica is only 21, and has lots of great years ahead of her.

Q: Greg, I just watched the Budweiser Shootout on a high-definition television and was thrilled with the picture. Why did it take so long for racing to come to HDTV? — Lisa P., e-mail from Pennsylvania

A: Lisa, I also enjoyed the Budweiser Shootout and all of the FOX/NBC/TNT racing events in high definition, and can only say hold on for a great racing season! I did notice that not all of the cameras used were high-definition capable, but the main cameras were, and it looked just like it would if you were at the track.

I feel the main reason it took so long for auto racing to move to high definition for the full season was costs, as many more cameras are used in auto racing than in other sports.

Mark Cuban’s HDTV Net presented the very first high-definition broadcast, a CART race on a road course a few years ago, if my recall is correct. NBC/TNT did a few HD NASCAR races in 2004 to whet fans’ appetites, but with NBC/TNT/FOX all onboard for the complete 2005 season in high definition, all I can say is sit back and enjoy.

I expect many high-definition television sets to be sold based solely on racing’s popularity in America.

Source: Greg Zyla, or News/2005/0303/Sports

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