In a season with multiple high points, second rear Pro Stock driver Camrie Caruso is looking to the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals, August 31-September 4, as her chance to once again rise to the occasion. The 2022 NHRA Rookie of the Year has won at the highest level, picking up her first Pro Stock win at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, and she followed that up in May with a victory at the first Pro Stock Allstar Callout race in Chicago. Racing the Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro with power by KB Titan Racing the third-generation drag racer is ready for a return visit to the biggest race of the year in Indianapolis.
“The U.S. Nationals is the biggest race of the year, and it leads right into the Countdown, so you want to build some positive momentum,” said Caruso, who has also won in Top Alcohol Dragster. “The competition has been so tough this year we really want to make some good runs in qualifying so we can give ourselves the best chance on race day. I am excited about getting five qualifying sessions because I think we can get a lot of good data for this Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro team.”
Last year Caruso raced in her first U.S. Nationals and the young driver was not overwhelmed even though she did not have a tremendous qualifying effort. After multiple runs she entered race day as the No. 11 qualifier but she stepped up her performance game winning her first round match-up with veteran Aaron Stanfield before dropping a close race to multi-time world champion Erica Enders in the quarterfinals. The experience of racing in Indy left an impression on Caruso.
“You try and think of every race as being the same, but Indy definitely has a different feel,” said Caruso. “Last year during my rookie year we had a lot going on and honestly Indy was a long race. I feel a lot more confident this year. I am with KB Titan Racing which has been great. I have a better idea of what to expect from a longer race weekend. I really feel good about our chances. We had a good race in Brainerd and just lost a close race to Kyle (Koretsky) in the second round.
This season Caruso has seen her driving and reaction times improve and her Tequila Comisario Camaro is consistently a top-half qualifier. The margin for error in the Pro Stock category is razor thin. There will be over 16 Pro Stock teams vying for spots in the field so a strong start on Friday in qualifying is the first goal for Caruso and her team that also gets support from DENSO, Powerbuilt Tools, Big Jeff Audio and VP Racing Lubricants.
“There will be a lot going on at Indy for sure. I am doing some fan events leading up to the race and I am looking forward to spending some time with sponsors and their guests,” said Caruso, who handles almost all her sponsorship relations herself. “You want to make sure all your marketing partners have a great weekend especially at Indy when we are on FS1 and FOX a lot. This is a great opportunity to get some positive momentum heading into the Countdown.”
The Tequila Comisario team is a lock to qualify for the Countdown for the second year in a row. They are sitting No. 8 in the Pro Stock points. They are less than 100 points behind the driver in sixth place and with 30 points per round a strong showing on Monday could move Caruso up to the middle of the pack when points are reset for the playoffs.
“After Indy when the points are reset, we would love to be just a few rounds out of first place,” said Caruso. “We’ll have six races in the playoffs to get some more wins and race for our first championship. I don’t want to think about that too much because really getting the win at the U.S. Nationals is my focus right now. I feel very comfortable in my race car and I can’t wait to get to the track.”
Qualifying for Pro Stock will begin with one session on Friday night at 5:45 p.m. They will be back on track on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. with the final two qualifying sessions scheduled for Sunday at 12:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. to set the field of 16. The race will begin on Monday, September 4 with Top Fuel and Funny Car eliminations at 11 a.m. followed by the first round of Pro Stock at approximately noon ET. The race will be televised nationally on FS1 and FOX.