NHRA Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens took a hometown victory last weekend at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals in Houston.
In the NHRA, the fact that she's a female just doesn’t seem like a big deal.
But it’s worth talking about, because her win makes 99 pro victories for women drivers in the NHRA. That’s especially impressive since the wins only began in 1976, with Top Fuel driver Shirley Muldowney, a pioneer not only in drag racing but in motorsports in general. Muldowney is responsible for 18 of those 99 wins. Enders-Stevens now has eight victories.
Here are the top 10 women drivers per number of victories:
The 100th victory could easily come at the next race, the Summit NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta on May 16-18. So far, Brittany Force and Leah Pritchett are entered in Top Fuel; Alexis DeJoria and Courtney Force are entered in Funny Car; Enders-Stevens is entered in Pro Stock, and in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Angie Smith, Elvira Karlsson and Katie Sullivan are on the list. That’s a lot, for two reasons—everybody wants a shot at being number 100, and the Pro Stock Motorcycles only race at select events.
So where does this leave NASCAR? Still looking for its first female winner in one of the three top touring series. And is this a good place to mention that the last and only IndyCar victory for Danica Patrick was six years ago this month? She’s now in NASCAR, of course, and doesn’t appear to be close to a victory there.
In fairness, drag racing has long attracted women as competitors in a way that no other motorsports series has. Bottom line, the NHRA is one win away from proving not only that women can get the job done behind the wheel not once, but 100 times.
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