"Before the race, I have to meet a minimum driver-car weight combination, which is 2,350 pounds. If you're a pound light, you don't compete," she says. Enders then hops into her car and gets pulled into the staging lane for her run, a head-to-head competition against one other driver. Once she's fully suited up, she tries to stay loose. "I stretch my calves and quads because of the clutch pedal," she says.
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On race days, Enders visits her pit area's data center, which is housed in a truck that travels with her. There, she can see how the weather might affect her driving. "We try to predict what it will be when we run and make the changes to the race car accordingly," she says. After a run, Enders heads back to the data center to analyze how she did. "We record the run from different angles. My crew chief and I will go over everything."
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Keeping the Door Open for More Female Drivers
After Enders completes a run — she could drive as many as eight in a weekend of competition — she detaches and carries the driver's side door as the car heads back to her pit area. Enders also keeps the proverbial door open for more women to get behind the wheel. "I was the only girl when I started out at my home track," recalls Enders, who looked up to three-time top fuel champion Shirley Muldowney as a kid. Now, Enders estimates that more than 50% of drivers in the junior drag racing league are female. "That's so awesome," she says.
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All Hands on Deck
Enders doesn't just drive the car. She helps service it after each run as well. "I'll get the jack set so we can raise the car. I'll plug in the fans and water pump to cool the motor down from a run," she says. But she doesn't do everything by herself. For Enders, Pro Stock racing is a team sport — especially when the unexpected happens. "[Last year] in Houston was crazy for us. We won the second round of the NHRA spring nationals. We were warming up for the third round, and we hurt the motor," Enders remembers. "We were being called up to make the run. My crew chief asked, 'What do you want to do?' I said, 'We have to try.' Everyone jumped in. We had to change an engine in 11 minutes. We won the entire race." Teamwork will play a key role this season, since Enders has switched to a new car. "Change is always challenging. I've got a big learning curve associated with our new engine," she says. "But I've got some of the brightest guys working with me."
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Fuel From Fans
In between races, fans stop by Enders's pit for autographs and a chance to see her blinged-out championship ring up close. "It's insane the amount of fan support we get," she says. "The support has been a key to my success."
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