For the first time in her young career 2022 NHRA Rookie of the Year Camrie Caruso took on Brainerd International Raceway. After two days of qualifying the Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro powered by KB Titan Racing made four quality runs. On Friday her quickest elapsed time of 6.631 second at 206.13 mph held up to put Caruso into the show as the No. 9 qualifier.
In the first round Caruso faced fellow KB Titan Racing teammate Kyle Koretsky and his Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro. This was the first time the two young drivers have faced each other in 2023 and Caruso was looking for her first win over Koretsky. Off the starting line Koretsky grabbed a slight lead but Caruso was right with him as they accelerated down the track. At the finish line Caruso’s Tequila Comisario had the nose of her Camaro closing in on Koretsky but she came up a few feet short. Caruso made her quickest and fastest run of the weekend in the losing effort.
“It was a good race,” said Caruso, who won the NHRA Arizona Nationals earlier this season. “We made our best pass of the weekend. It wasn’t enough which is tough. We are just coming up on the wrong side of these close races. We are going to go back to the shop and get ready for Indy. We’ll have points and a half and I really want to get ready for the Countdown.”
As the penultimate NHRA national event wrapped up for Caruso the tricky conditions which affected all the teams and played into the outcome this weekend. On Friday and Saturday temperatures hovered in the mid-90s and on race day following the arrival of a cold front had temperatures in the mid-70s during the first round. For crew chiefs and teams, the temperature swing created a handful of challenges.
“When the weather changes like it did here in Brainerd there’s a lot of uncertainty and especially being naturally aspirated race cars,” said Caruso. “The weather is everything. So going from yesterday, when it was so hot to today being cool was a big swing. We have a team that can handle it because with the good weather you get good air. We just had to swing for the fences and hope it made a solid run. We made a good run right beside another car that made a good run. That’s the tough part of professional drag racing.”
Heading to the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals Caruso is sitting No. 8 in the Pro Stock point standings and is a lock to clinch a spot in the NHRA Countdown, the six race playoffs. Caruso will be campaigning the Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro with backing from Big Jeff Audio, DENSO, Powerbuilt Tools and VP Lubricants. The final race of the regular season in Indianapolis will feature points and a half so Caruso could easily make a move up the point standings before the points reset for the playoffs.
Qualifying will begin on Friday night September 1 with one run followed by two runs each day on Saturday and Sunday before the quickest 16 Pro Stock cars will race on Labor Day Monday for the iconic Wally. The race will be televised throughout the weekend on FS1 and FOX.