POMONA, Calif. — official release by John Hoven, National Dragster Associate Editor — NHRA photo —
Erica Enders-Stevens made history Sunday by becoming the first woman to win an NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock world championship. Raised in Texas and now living in Louisiana, she secured the title with a victory at the 50th anniversary of the Auto Club NHRA Finals over her championship rival, Jason Line.
“To get the shiny Wally [for the 50th anniversary] and the big one at the end of the year, we did it!” said Enders-Stevens. “I can’t thank my guys enough. They’re the ones that make this happen. I’m just the one who gets to hold the trophy and talk. They do it all. They work so hard, and I love them more than anything.
“I was just a little kid with a dream when I started racing at 8 years old,” she noted. “It’s awesome to be part of this female movement in NHRA. I think it goes to show what we’re capable of and what a great platform NHRA gives all of us girls to climb the ladder and to get to where we want to go. … To join two of my heroes, Shirley [Muldowney] and Angelle [Sampey] – I was a huge fan of theirs, and now we’re friends – they’ve both helped me tremendously with phone calls and text messages.”
Over the course of this year’s 24-race season, Enders-Stevens went to seven final rounds and came away with the trophy six times. Additionally, her Elite Performance Chevy Camaro qualified No. 1 a class-best six times, including at four of the six races contested during the playoffs. An early-season win in Las Vegas gave Enders-Stevens the points lead, a spot she held until sitting out two races during the summer. At the most recent national event, also in Las Vegas, she again won and took the points lead back from Jason Line.
In addition to her win this weekend over Line, Enders-Stevens visited the winner’s circle in Houston, Bristol, Norwalk, and Las Vegas (twice). Overall, she compiled a 45-16 win-loss record.
In her career, Enders-Stevens has collected 12 NHRA national event wins in 24 final-round appearances. She joins Muldowney (three-time Top Fuel champion) and Sampey (three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion) as the only women to claim a season title in one of the four Pro classes.