NHRA: Pro Stock driver Erica Enders hitting on all cylinders heading into U.S. Nationals

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Just in time for the biggest yearly race in drag racing, the 61st annual NHRA U.S. Nationals next weekend (Sept. 2-7), Erica Enders is back where she wants to be: leading the NHRA Pro Stock point standings.

The defending Pro Stock champ, the first woman to ever capture that category’s top title, Enders will have double incentive to do well at the U.S. Nationals, in Brownsburg, Indiana.

First, she wants to win the race and head in to the subsequent Countdown to the Championship with a ton of momentum.

But there’s added incentive and a great honor to go with it:

“Chevrolet has asked me to be the grand marshal for the U.S. Nationals, which is going to be a huge honor for me,” Enders said in an NHRA media release. “We’ll do our best as a team to have an awesome weekend there.”

In addition, NHRA is adding incentive to pro drivers in next week’s marquee event by increasing the available points to be earned with a 50 percent bonus.

“It’s the first time it’s going to be worth a point and a half, so every round is going to be crucial,” Enders said.

Enders won last weekend’s race at Brainerd, Minn., her fifth triumph of the season, putting her back atop the Pro Stock standings.

“I had a really good feeling coming in (to Brainerd), even before the weekend started,” said Enders, who had struggled in the previous five races, winning just six total rounds since winning at Bristol. “I felt like it was our turn and the tables were about to turn.

The Brainerd triumph was Enders’ 17th career victory, putting her one win away from tying three-time Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney for No. 2 on the NHRA all-time win’s list by a female driver.

“I think we’re working our way back to having our awesome race car, and this is definitely a great step in the right direction, at the right point of the season,” Enders said. “We’re going to do our best to continue this momentum in Indy. It’s definitely going to be a dogfight in Indy.”

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Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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