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Camrie Caruso Hoping To Continue Success At ‘Last’ Topeka

Camrie Caruso and the Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stock entry and have been gearing up for the NHRA Topeka Nationals for over three weeks since they were last on track at the NHRA Mile High Nationals in Denver. The Pro Stock category didn’t compete in Seattle or Sonoma, but they will get back into high gear this weekend at Heartland Park Topeka for the final Topeka Nationals before the NHRA tour moves to the Flying H Drag Strip for the 2024 season. Caruso has only one Topeka Nationals under her belt, but the 2022 Rookie of the Year is eager to get back to Kansas.

“Last year was a blur to be honest,” said Caruso. “This was the part of the season when we really started to battle to finish the season as a rookie team. We had a solid rookie season, but I feel like this year we have taken a major step forward on so many levels from being a part of KB Titan Racing to my driving getting better. Everyone said it would take time and they were right. I can’t wait to get back into my Tequila Comisario Camaro this weekend. I hated the layoff.”
In her young career Caruso Caruso has competed at three “last” races and has a strong success rate. There have been seven last races in recent memory and no one has a better winning percentage than Caruso.  She was runner-up at the last Houston race (2022), won the last Phoenix race (2023) and went to the semifinals of the last Denver race (2023).  She didn’t run the other four — Memphis in 2009, Englishtown in 2017, Atlanta in 2021 and Richmond in 2022 which didn’t run Pro Stock. Her 9-2 winning record (81.8%) has her just ahead of Funny Car’s Matt Hagan (16-5, 80.0%, seven races), Pro Stock’s Greg Anderson (14.4, 77.7%, six races), Top Fuel’s Brittany Force (13-4, 76.4%, five races) and Top Fuel’s Steve Torrence (18-6, 75%, seven races). 
“I don’t think there is anything special about doing well at last races other than you want to leave your mark,” said Caruso. “I didn’t even know about this, but I think it is pretty cool. I want to win every race but getting the last Wally from Topeka would be great. I hate to see Topeka go away but I also am excited to see the track in Kansas City come online in 2024.”

Last year at Heartland Park Topeka Caruso qualified No. 13 and lost a close first round race to Pro Stock standout Aaron Stanfield. The highlight of the weekend for Caruso was clinching her spot in the NHRA Countdown. This season with a win at the Arizona Nationals and a victory in the inaugural Pro Stock Stock Allstar Callout Caruso is a lock for the Countdown and will be one of the championship contending Pro Stock drivers when the six-race playoffs start in September. Before that challenge begins Caruso has her attention on Topeka, Brainerd, and the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
“This weekend is the start of a very important three race stretch for our Tequila Comisario Chevrolet team,” said Caruso. “We raced to the semifinals in Denver and we want to keep that momentum going this weekend and beyond. This is the time to get hot and start winning rounds. I know we have a team that can win races and I just want to get back into my car and starting hitting the tree.”
Caruso will be competing for the second time this season in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge thanks to her semifinal finish at the Mile High Nationals in Denver. She will face a rematch with KB Titan Racing teammate Dallas Glenn and then hopefully a final round race with either Troy Coughlin Jr. or Erica Enders. The Mission event will be contested on Saturday during qualifying and there will be championship points and $5,000 for the winner on the line.
“I love the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge and can’t wait to get my rematch with Dallas,” said Caruso. “The first time we competed I was able to pick up a championship point but this weekend I would love to get the three points for winning and that $5,000 check. This race adds a whole new dynamic to Saturday and I know the fans love it. We’ll be signing autographs at the Mission Food tent on Saturday morning and I can’t wait to see the fans.”
This season Caruso has come into her own picking up her first career win at the Arizona Nationals and then following that up with her second career No. 1 qualifier the next race at the Winternationals where she raced to the semifinals. Her strong qualifying efforts in 2023 earned her a spot in the first Pro Stock Allstar Callout race in Chicago and the second-year driver took out Cristian Cuadra, Troy Coughlin Jr and Aaron Stanfield to take the title. She has been solidly positioned in the Pro Stock Top Ten and with the playoffs looming she is a serious championship contender.
“This season has been very exciting and satisfying but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Caruso, who was also a winner in the Top Alcohol Dragster ranks. “This team has a lot of potential and we are just getting started. I love being a part of KB Titan Racing and we have a lot of strong teams over here so that just makes everyone better. Topeka will be a great test for us to get ready for the lats few races of the regular season and then we will look at the Countdown.”
The Pro Stock class will get one qualifying run on Friday and two more on Saturday before final eliminations get underway Sunday, August 13 at 11 a.m. The race will be broadcast on Sunday afternoon from 3 p.m.  – 6 p.m. ET on FS1.

This story was originally published on August 9, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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