Erica Enders first female Pro Stock winner
In this photo provided by NHRA, Pro Stock winner Erica Enders, from Houston, celebrates after racing to victory Sunday July 1, 2012, at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. / Theresa Long,AP Photo/NHRA
(AP) JOLIET, Ill. - Erica Enders became to the first female driver to win an NHRA Pro Stock race, beating four-time series champion Greg Anderson on Sunday in the final of the Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
Enders, one of only six women to ever compete in the 200-mph category, drove her Chevy Cobalt to a pass of 6.627 seconds at 207.40 mph, while Anderson had a 6.641 at 208.36 in a Chevy Camaro.
The 28-year-old Houston driver raced past Kurt Johnson, Vincent Nobile and V. Gaines in the first three rounds to advance to her seventh career final round.
"It's awesome," said Enders, the 12th female winner in an NHRA pro category race. "I think that if I could have planned it, I would have asked to run Greg in the final. You know that he made it very clear that he didn't want to lose to me. He's a very competitive guy and I love him to death, but I couldn't wait to beat him. I'm glad (the win) came here in Chicago. I had my first final in Pro Stock here in 2005, and so it was nice to circle back around and get it done here.
Week in sports: June 29-July 6
"Pro Stock is tough. It will humble you in an instant. When you think you've got it figured out, you go to Bristol and blow all your (engines) up. I can't say enough about my guys (crew). They're amazing and I love them."
Antron Brown won the Top Fuel division, Jeff Arend topped the Funny Car field, and Andrew Hines won the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
Brown raced to his second victory of the season when final-round opponent Steve Torrence fouled at the start. It was Brown's 33rd career victory and his third at the track.
Arend claimed his first Funny Car win of the season and fourth of his career, beating rookie Courtney Force in the final round. Arend had a 4.131 at 309.20, and Force finished in 4.454 at 272.67.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, three-time world champ Hines claimed his second win of the season on a Harley-Davidson when LE Tonglet turned on the red light at the start. Hines has 27 career victories.
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