Rookie Pro Stock driver Camrie Caruso continued to add experience just six races into her young career during the NHRA New England Nationals from New England Dragway. The 24-year-old driver from Denver, North Carolina, returned to racing action after a six-week layoff driving the Sand Haulers of America Chevrolet Camaro for the second race in a row. In her last appearance at the SpringNationals the third-generation driver raced to her first career final round following her first career No. 1 qualifying effort.
Caruso continued to show that Houston was not a fluke when it comes to the performance of her Titan Racing Engine powered Camaro Pro Stock race car. In qualifying the rookie powered to the No. 4 spot right off the hauler and kept her performance numbers at the top of the field throughout the weekend. Her run during the second qualifying session was the third quickest of the class and earned her an important qualifying bonus point.
While Caruso was making consistent runs in a surprising turn of events five-time Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson was struggling in qualifying and headed into eliminations as the No. 12 qualifier as Caruso’s first round opponent. The opening round match-up would be the second time the rookie and winningest driver in Pro Stock history squared off. In Houston Caruso defeated Anderson in the semifinals on a holeshot to start her career 1-0 against the 99-time Pro Stock winner.
In the first round Caruso had lane choice and was eager to move her career record to 2-0 against Anderson. Unfortunately, Anderson was ready for Caruso and took a starting line reaction time advantage and was able to hold off the hard-charging rookie at the finish line. The margin of victory was just over four hundredths of a second with Anderson’s 6.535 nosing out Caruso’s 6.537 second pass.
“It was good to get back on the track after the long break,” said Caruso. “The guys on the team are still on top of their game. It was good to get back in this Sand Haulers of America Camaro and get back into a rhythm. We were in the simulator a whole bunch and I need to spend more time there. We did some testing last week. We did what we could to stay on top of things.”
The support Caruso receives from associate sponsors GESI, Right Trailers, Powerbuilt Tools, NGK Spark Plugs and VP Racing Lubricants motivates Caruso to continue to improve. The first year Pro Stock driver has not taken her early success lightly and continues to work on every level of her craft.
“I don’t have to worry about my car ever,” said Caruso. “The guys give me a race car that I can be 100% confident in every run. Now we just need to fine tune everything together. We gave it our all today. I like to be in the car a whole bunch and not have breaks. I am excited for the seven races in ten weeks.”
In two weeks Caruso will join her Pro Stock competitors at the famed Bristol Dragway for the Thunder Valley Nationals. The rookie driver sits seventh in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Pro Stock point standings.
Q1: 6.547 sec, 209.59 mph; Qual. 4
Q2: 6.552 sec, 209.69 mph; Qual. 6
Q3: 9.986 sec, 90.57 mph; Qual 6
Bonus Points: +1 (3rd Quickest of Q2)
Greg Anderson, Mooresville, NC, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro, 6.535, 210.37 mphdef. Camrie Caruso, Denver, NC, Sand Haulers of America Chevrolet Camaro, 6.537, 211.06 mph
Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Ten – Pro Stock
1. Erica Enders 592
2. Aaron Stanfield 484
3. Kyle Koretsky 405
4. Dallas Glenn 366
5. Mason McGaha 352
6. Greg Anderson 343
7. Camrie Caruso 307
8. Bo Butner 274
9. Deric Kramer 270
10. Troy Coughlin Jr 255
Elon Werner PR