Erica Enders caught the drag-racing bug as a little girl watching her dad, Gregg, race in the 1980s. Gregg bought her a Jr. Dragster when she was 8 years old, and she was determined to make racing her career even then. Being a female in a male-dominated sport brought plenty of obstacles, but Enders pushed through. Finally, on July 1, 2012, Enders became the first woman to win in the Pro Stock class when she won at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

DRO Editor Jeff Burk had a few questions for the history-maker.

:  What was your very first drag racing experience and what do you remember from that experience?

Erica Enders: I had to be four or five years old, and my dad was racing Super Gas. I was his little crew chief. I had this rag, and I would follow him around and "help" him. He would let me write his dial-in on the window with shoe polish. I even had my own little crew shirt embroidered with my name.

DRO:  When did you decide to make a career of drag racing? Was Pro Stock always the class you wanted to race in?

EE: I always wanted to be a racecar driver, from the time I was really little. Then, from the time I got in a Jr. Dragster, I was always very serious about it and worked really hard at it. I wanted to drive a Top Fuel car like Shirley Muldowney and Shelley Anderson, but my favorite class to watch was Pro Stock. From watching the in-car camera, I was obsessed with how challenging it was to drive. I always loved Pro Stock.

(Michael Fischbeck photo)