By Anthony Caruso III
Posted: September 12th, 2014 at 8:04 pm EST
Erica Enders-Stevens is the provisional No. 1 qualifier following her 6.591 at 210.11 mph in Pro Stock at the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway. Jeg Coughlin Jr., the 2013 Pro Stock Champion, is second with a 6.602 run at 209.33 mph.
“It’s just a really good start,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m proud of my team. We struggled the last couple of weeks in Brainerd and Indy, and in our test session in St. Louis. It’s very refreshing to see that Ol’ Red is back to herself.”
Enders-Stevens comes into the Countdown to the Championship in the second position. She trailed Jason Line, who qualified fourth today with a 6.607 at 209.59. Dave Connolly, Enders-Stevens’ former crew chief for the past several seasons, is third with a 6.603 at 209.23.
“We just have to do our job day in and day out, and make every little point count,” Enders-Stevens said. “We had a team meeting this morning, where we discussed our goals for the Countdown… It’s the small steps on the way to the big goal. We’re just going to keep our heads down and stay focused. This is not a bad way to start though.”
Allen Johnson, the 2012 Pro Stock Champion, qualified fifth with a 6.609 run at 208.94. Vincent Nobile is sixth following his 6.609 at 208.49, while Richie Stevens, Enders-Stevens husband, is seventh at 6.610 at 209.23.
Shane Gray, who won his first career U.S. Nationals two weeks ago, went 6.615 at 209.52 for the 8th spot. Greg Anderson, who missed the Countdown to the Championship to Gray’s brother Jonathan, went 6.618 at 209.85.
Chris McGaha is the 10th qualifier at 6.637 at 209.66.
Rodger Brogdon, Larry Morgan, John Gaydosh Jr. and Shane Tucker failed to qualify on Friday. These drivers will have to make the show tomorrow in their two runs, or they’ll be going home.
Brogdon is 13th at 6.64 at 207.28, while veteran Larry Morgan is 14th at 6.701 at 206.67. Gaydosh Jr. is 15th 6.703 at 20724, while part-time Australian Shane Tucker is 7.038 at 159.25.