NHRA: Pennzoil's Enders Sisters Eye Division 4 Title
17 September 1998KENNEDALE, Texas - Team Pennzoil, long regarded as a major force in auto racing, will be represented by two of its most successful drivers Sunday when the Sixth annual National Hot Rod Association Division 4 Junior Dragster Championships roar into Texas Raceway. Former Division 4 champion Erica Enders, the 14-year-old pilot of the Pennzoil Junior Dragster, will join recently-crowned Lonestar Raceway track champion Courtney Enders, her 11-year-old sister who drives the Gumout Junior Dragster, in a battle to put Pennzoil on top of the Division 4 bracket.
The racing promises to be exciting, as over 300 of the best dragsters from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Tennessee and Mexico will be competing for only seven age-bracket titles (ages 8-9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15-17). Emerging from the weekend with a coveted Division 4 title gains the winner a national-level NHRA event trophy, a college savings bond, an unlimited pass to all NHRA events for the 1999 season and bragging rights for the next year.
"To win this race would be awesome," said Erica, who has two wins and two runner-up finishes at Texas Raceway. "Since I was 9-years-old, I've always loved racing there. The track owners go out of their way to treat us like real pros. I've raced in a lot of events across the country and Texas Raceway's events are always the best. I don't really know why, but I've always run well there. I'd really like to take home another Oscar (trophy) this weekend."
Junior Dragsters compete on an eighth-mile drag strip and reach speeds of 75-80 mph. Elapsed times are usually in the 8.9-9.0 second range. There are over 6,000 registered Junior Dragsters in the United States and drivers compete in seven different regional divisions. In addition to the age bracket titles up for grabs in Kennedale, there will also be a Race of Champions event pitting the track champions (regardless of age) from each of the division's participating tracks to decide on an Overall Division 4 Champion.
As the 1998 Lonestar Raceway track champion, Courtney has her sites set on a Pennzoil three-way sweep. "Our plan is to win three Oscars this weekend," Courtney said. "I want Erica to win the 14-year-old trophy and I want to win the 11-year-old trophy and the Race of Champions. It's my dad's birthday and I want to win it for him. I know the best drivers in our division will be there and that makes me want to win it even more. We've been lucky at big races. We usually take home a trophy. I hope this weekend is no different."