ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 11) — As expected, the nearly identical cars of Elite Motorsports teammates Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr. ran a close race in Sunday’s first round of eliminations at the 48th annual NHRA Summernationals. This time, it was six-time champ Coughlin edging out two-time champ Enders by .02 seconds.
“We went up there without lane choice and faced a very hot and tricky racetrack,” Enders said. “My guys gave me the best possible racecar they could give me but we weren’t able to get (to the finish line) first unfortunately for this Elite Motorsports/Transportation Impact Chevrolet.
“I’m bummed, especially considering we came in here on such a high note after winning last weekend in Epping. I don’t feel like my driving was especially good all weekend and that is something that really bothers me. All we can do at this point is support Jeg and Vincent (Nobile, teammate) the rest of the day and move forward.”
Both noted for their starting line prowess, the Enders and Coughlin lived up to the hype with Coughlin cutting a .023-second light just in front of Enders’ .027-second launch. The two Chevrolet Camaros stayed door handle-to-door handle most of the way down the quarter-mile strip with Coughlin slowly pulling away to take the win with a 6.611 at 209.82 mph to Enders’ 6.635 at 210.67 mph.
“We both had respectable reaction times and made decent passes,” Enders said. “That’s something, I guess. Jeg ended up posting low ET of the entire session in what was a really weird first round. Like I said, we just didn’t get there first.”
The third of four consecutive races, the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, begin Friday at Bristol Dragway in eastern Tennessee. Enders won at the picturesque facility in both of her championship years of 2014 and 2015.
“I’m a southern girl so I’m happy to be heading back south after a nice two-week visit to the northeast,” Enders said. “It’s no secret Bristol is my favorite track, and I’m not just saying that because it’s the next track on the schedule. I love that place and having won there before I really am excited to get back there.
“I don’t think this weekend was indicative of what this team can do and there are a lot of reasons why, none of which we can control, but we’ll pack up and head south and start all over again in a few days.”