ERICA ENDERS-STEVENS: STRAIGHT TALK






Publication: National Dragster
Author: Enders-Stevens, Erica
Date published: March 22, 2013

Date of birth: Oct. 8, 1983

Place of birth: Houston

Hometown: Houston, living in New Orleans.

Family: husband, Richie Stevens Jr.; dad, Gregg; mom, Janet Lee; sister, Courtney; brother, Tom; dog, Gucci

Years in the sport: 21

Career highlight: Winning Chicago in 2012 and following it up with four more.

Hobbies: working out, bowling, shooting, shopping

Personal cars: Mercedes Coupe, GTO, '32 Deuce roadster, '57 Chevy, '51 Chevy pickup

I got my start in racing ... My dad drove his entire life, everything from sprint cars to drag racing, so my sister and I grew up around it. My dad built me a Jr. Dragster in 1991, and the rest is history. It has always been racing and always will.

What I love most about racing: the challenge

Most embarrassing moment at the races: In Pomona in 2005, my first race as a Pro, we had to stop at fuel check. I had never done this before. The tech guys handed me a small plastic cup, and my team told me that I had to pee in it. I was a little shocked but figured it was a random drug test. I looked around for a port-a-John but couldn't find one. They told me I had to pop a squat behind the tech trailer. I was a little puzzled but headed to the side of the trailer. Thank God the tech guy felt bad for me and stopped me just in time. My guys were rolling on the floor laughing.

Toughest thing about drag racing: Finding the funding to stay out here. Money is the most difficult and annoying part, but without it, we don't go racing. In racing, it's you against the world. There is no loyalty.

Best race car I ever had: My Pro Stock Chevy Cobalt and my Don Davis-built Corvette roadster that I raced in Super Gas - we won a lot together.

Toughest loss: Indy 2012, hands down; I think that one explains itself. The final in Bristol in 2011. We had fivehundredths in the bank on the starting line, and our car shook bad in 2nd gear. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. My guys and I took that loss very hard. Also, the final in Indy in 1994. I went -.486 red, and my opponent was dead late and broke out.

Favorite opponent: Allen Johnson, aka "Brutus", because we are good friends offthe track, but we definitely enjoy some crap talking when we have to race. He says he likes to see me whine when I lose, but I say that goes both ways.

Last person I'd want to race in a final: Richie Stevens. He's as good as there is, and that would make for an interesting night. Dave Connolly is no peach, either (e.g., Indy 2012).

The race I'll never forget: Chicago 2012. Everything lined up perfectly. It was such an amazing and emotional win for my entire team. To see my guys so excited meant the world to me because normally they are pretty chill. And then after the race, I got engaged. Talk about a dream day!

Person I most admire in racing: Shirley Muldowney. She is a true champion, and her stories are amazing. I can't imagine the things she went through in the '70s being the only girl.

Lifelong hero: My dad. He never quits. He is the most honorable man in the world with the biggest heart. He has taught me how to handle everything that is thrown my way, whether it's a right hook or sponsor troubles. He's not just my dad and business partner, he's my best friend.

If I wasn't a drag racer, I would ... be a lawyer.

I'm really good at ... sleeping late.

Favorite movies: Top Gun, Days of Thunder, and The Kingdom

Favorite entertainers: Eric Church and Kenny Chesney

Favorite actors: Jason Statham and Leslie Mann

Favorite TV shows: Castle, Friends, Chelsea Lately

Favorite foods: Lupe Tortilla or a great steak

Favorite sports team: Houston Texans and Texas A&M Aggies

My computer homepage: Google

My music: Country

Pet peeves: When people crowd the baggage claim, when people chew with their mouths open, and, most importantly, the faceless "keyboard crew chiefs." It blows my mind that people who have never owned a firesuit, let alone dropped a clutch in a PS car, can be so hateful.

Biggest regret: Teaming up with the wrong person when we started our own team, despite his reputation.

Modern convenience I can't live without: iPhone

Nobody knows that I ... visited troops at over 30 bases in Iraq during the war.

I wish I could stop ... overanalyzing.

I'd give anything to meet ... my expectations for myself.

Smartest thing I've done: Put God first in my life.

Dumbest thing I've done: Expect people to do what is right.

Best time of my life: Getting married to Richie and our honeymoon in Maui, Hawaii.

Worst time of my life: Going to the races and not racing.

Best advice I've received: Never quit.

Worst advice I've received: A fuel driver once told me that to make it in drag racing, I needed to give up on Pro Stock and just drive a Top Fuel dragster.

Advice to aspiring racers: Dream big! Make sure you know what you are getting into. The racing is awesome, the fans and friends are great, but the business of racing is nonstop work.

Future racing goal: Become the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock world champion.

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