CONCORD, N.C. – Alexis DeJoria and Erica Enders-Stevens raced to No. 1 qualifying positions in their categories Saturday at the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, extending the most successful season for females in NHRA history into the playoffs.
J.R. Todd (Top Fuel) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also claimed No. 1 qualifying positions at the first of six playoff races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
It is the fourth time this season and the seventh time overall that two female drivers have earned No. 1 qualifying positions at the same race. DeJoria and Enders-Stevens, who are both among the favorites to win world championship titles in their classes, also shared the No. 1 qualifying stage earlier this year at Atlanta Dragway.
DeJoria claimed her second No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car and continued her recent momentum following her Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory Sept. 1 in Indianapolis. She posted a qualifying best of 4.090 at 300.53 in her Patron XO Café Toyota Camry to take the top spot. She will seek her fourth win of the season and second in a row when she meets Dave Richards in Sunday’s noon eliminations.
“It’s only our second No. 1 so it’s really exciting for our team,” DeJoria said. “(Crew chief) Tommy (DeLago) and the guys have got a real good handle on the race car and they’ve managed to get us down the track more often than not. The consistency has helped us get round wins and get better. I am really excited about our chances at this race.”
Enders-Stevens raced to her third No. 1 qualifying position of the season by improving on her Friday effort with a Saturday-best of 6.568 at 210.37 in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro. She will go for her fifth victory of the season when she lines up against John Gaydosh tomorrow.
“We picked up 10 points on Jason (Line, points leader) which is so crucial with only 24 rounds of racing left,” Enders-Stevens said. “Hat’s off to my team for giving me such a consistent race car. The track was pretty tricky this afternoon being as hot as it was and they nailed the tune-up. I’m really excited going into Sunday.”
DeJoria was followed by Robert Hight in the final Funny Car qualifying order with a 4.108 at 308.14 in the Auto Club Ford Mustang, while Friday top qualifier Matt Hagan dropped to third overall with his 4.114 at 304.25 in his Rocky Boots/Mopar Dodge Charger. Funny Car playoff top seed John Force, who is riding a six-race final round streak, qualified ninth with a 4.141 at 287.66 in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang and will face daughter Courtney Force in the opening round.