After her dominant NHRA Pro Stock Allstar Callout victory in Chicago 2022 NHRA Rookie of the Year Camrie Caruso was looking to put her Tequila Comisario Pro Stock Camaro back in the winner’s circle at the Thunder Valley Nationals. Through two days of qualifying Caruso powered her KB Titan Racing Chevrolet Camaro into race day as the No. 6 qualifier. Her Saturday qualifying runs put the third-generation driver in a strong position to get her second career win and second win in the 2023 NHRA season.
In the first round Caruso pulled up beside Bo Butner and his Johnson Horsepower Garage Chevrolet Camaro in a KB Titan Racing versus Elite Motorsports match-up. The last time Caruso raced Butner was the second round of the Arizona Nationals when Caruso picked up the win and raced to the Pro Stock title. Today Caruso chased down Butner just before half-track and never trailed in the race as Butner shook the tires and had to click his power off. Her 6.653 second pass was consistent with her solid qualifying runs on Saturday.
“That was a big win in the first round,” said Caruso. “You always get amped up for the first round and when I saw that win light I was pretty excited. The last time I beat Bo was Arizona and we won that race. I can’t think my KB Titan Racing team for giving me such a great car. We really made some good runs on Saturday and that set us up for today.”
Shortly after the first round of the Camping World Drag Racing Series wrapped up rain moved into Thunder Valley and delayed the racing action for almost four hours. When racing resumed the teams had to battle slightly different weather conditions and completely different track conditions. Caruso and Cristian Cuadra were the first pair of Pro Stock race cars to make a quarter mile pass and each of the young drivers had their hands full at the top end of the track. Caruso’s Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro was pulling away for another win light when her tires began spinning and control was slipping away. She wisely lifted and dropped her parachutes to avoid an incident, but it cost her valuable time and speed opening the door for Cuadra to sneak around her.
“We had to wait for a rain delay after the first round,” said Caruso. “The Safety Safari did a great job of getting the track ready for the Top Fuel and Funny Cars, but I had my hands full when they ran us. My pair with Cristian was wild and then the next pair with my teammates Greg Anderson and Dallas Glenn had issues. After that they re-prepped the track for the last two pairs. It is disappointing because we were winning our race against Cristian and I had to lift for safety. None of us were able to keep it straight and it is just frustrating. This Tequila Comisario Chevrolet was running really well and I felt good about our chances today.”
Caruso will leave the Thunder Valley Nationals sitting in sixth place in the Pro Stock point standings with the Norwalk Nationals next up on the schedule in two weeks. The young driver is just two rounds of racing out of fifth place and with a string of races on the horizon a move up the point standings is within the second-year pro’s grasp.
“I have so much confidence in this Tequila Comisario team and I have to thank all our sponsors including Powerbuilt Tools, Denso, VP Racing and Big Jeff Audio for their support,” said Caruso. “I can’t wait to get to Norwalk because that is a great track and I love their ice cream. I want to win that race to get the winner’s ice cream scoop and keep our momentum going.”