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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Q&A: The world of drag racing

Drag+racer+and+former+student+Erica+Enders-Stevens+was+the+inspiration+for+a+Disney+Channel+original+movie.
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Drag racer and former student Erica Enders-Stevens was the inspiration for a Disney Channel original movie.

Drag racer, Texas A&M grad, first female winner of the Pro Stock World Championship — Erica Enders-Stevens has spent time turning dreams into reality. Enders-Stevens, who was the inspiration behind the Disney Channel original movie “Right On Track,” stopped in College Station before her race in Houston this coming weekend to throw out the first pitch at the Texas A&M vs. UT-Arlington baseball game. The Battalion Life & Arts reporter Mary Reyes spoke to Enders-Stevens about being an Aggie and pursuing a career in drag racing.
 
THE BATTALION: What got you into the world of racing?
Enders-Stevens: My dad drove his whole life and my sister and I grew up around it. We actually started racing at the age of eight in “Junior Dragster,” which is a class for kids from eight to 17 — kind of just a way to get your feet wet in the sport. So I drove “Junior Dragster” for nine years and then once I turned 16 I moved up to a class called “Super Comp” and there’s another class called “Super Gas.” Those are the sportsmen ranked. I raced those for five years and then “Pro Stock.” I’m in my 11th year of Pro Stock now. 
THE BATTALION: How did the world of drag racing react to you being the first female winner of the Pro Stock Championship?
Enders-Stevens: It’s been really positive for the most part. There have only been two other female world champions in our entire sport’s history. I was the first one in my class at Pro Stock. So it was a pretty positive reception. It’s been pretty surreal for me because it’s been my dream since I was a kid to become a world champ. For the most part everybody has been supportive. There is just a handful of people out there left with a chauvinistic mentality so you have to just take that with a grain of salt.
THE BATTALION: What was your Aggie experience like?
Enders-Stevens: I had a blast. I wish I could go back. I was actually just taking to my PR guy about it and I can’t believe it’s been nine years since I’ve been there. I don’t feel that old and it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I had a really good time. I was there for four years and my sister was a freshman when I was a senior so I got to spend one year there with her and we had a good time. We lived over there in a townhouse by Sorority Row and we were always up to something: drag racing on the weekends but College Station during the week.
THE BATTALION: How has being an Aggie impacted your career?
Enders-Stevens: It has actually been awesome. No matter where I go, it’s still neat to see how the Aggie network works. I mean, from being on airplanes and just random hotels across the country, the Aggie Ring is always a way to start a conversation. Anybody that is familiar with me and drag racing knows that I was an Aggie so it’s always something that fans bring up. It’s really neat to talk about. I had a blast when I was there and certainly wish that I could go back.
THE BATTALION: What was it like having a movie based on your life?
Enders-Stevens: That was pretty surreal. I was actually at A&M when the movie was released so it was a little bit chaotic and a lot of fun. When I say surreal, it blows my mind because I’m just a normal goofball kid. I’m 31 now and it’s crazy. I have been really blessed to been able to follow my dream and have a lot of really inspirational people work with me along the way and it has been super fun. To have a movie based about my sister’s and my life story is pretty neat. We had a huge impact on our sport and [the movie] still does to this day since it still airs on Disney Channel. Even though it was released in ’03 when I was at A&M, it’s still playing. The kids who saw it initially have grown up with me and then there’s a whole new generation of kids who are seeing it now that are getting involved in drag racing because of it. It’s pretty cool.
THE BATTALION: What is next for you?
Enders-Stevens: I just want to keep going. Everybody else asks if I plan on moving to Top Fuel or “Funny Cars” because those two classes are faster than Pro Stock, but I don’t see it as upward movement at all. My heart’s in Pro Stock. So I plan on racing Pro Stock as long as I possibly can. I’m with a really great team now for the first time of my life, I’ve got a tremendous group of guys around me. 
THE BATTALION: Do you have any advice for any A&M graduation seniors?
Enders-Stevens: Just follow your dreams. I mean, it sounds cheesy, but you know, my dad told me when I was a kid, “Love what you do for a living and never work a day in your life.” It’s so true. I spend 300 days a year on the road so my race team is my family. I don’t get a lot of time at home but as hard as we work it doesn’t feel like work because I love it.

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