After changing original plans that included an NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster campaign in 2021, Camrie Caruso decided to switch gears. Caruso was approached with several options and when one of them was an opportunity to be mentored by Mountain Motor Pro Stock Champion Johnny Pluchino for a full assault on the NHRA six-race Mountain Motor Pro Stock schedule, she was ready and willing to shift gears into a door car – literally.
If things come to fruition for the 2021 season, Caruso will also become the first female to compete in NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock when she hits the track next season.
“Johnny is someone that I not only consider to be a great friend but also have a tremendous amount of respect for when it comes to driving a Mountain Motor Pro Stock car,” Caruso said. “It’s no secret that I’ve wanted to get behind the wheel of our Pro Mod car, but unfortunately I don’t see my father & grandfather allowing that anytime soon,” added the third-generation Caruso to be involved in drag racing.
Camrie’s father, Marc “the Rodfather” Caruso has been involved in drag racing for over 30 years and racing in PDRA, Pro Boost and NHRA Pro Mod since 2015.
As for Camrie’s grandfather, Joe Caruso aka Papa Joe, well he’s been a drag racer since he was 15. He decided to relinquish his driver duties and focus on being a team owner/manager when Marc raced his way behind the wheel of his Top Sportsman car in 2012.
Camrie started her drag racing career at 9 years old, competing in the NHRA Jr. Dragster league. She moved up to Super Comp after attending the legendary Frank Hawley Drag Racing School in Gainesville Florida at 16 years old. After three years of competing in the 8.90 index class, she went back to Frank Hawley and obtained her Top Dragster license, successfully competing in both PDRA & NHRA for three years en route to becoming a Drag Illustrated 30 under 30 member.
In 2019 Camrie landed a seat with the championship Top Alcohol Dragster team of Randy Meyer Racing and didn’t waste anytime proving that she could continue the dragster success. After earning her competition license just days before her first event, Camrie qualified No. 2 and advanced to the semifinals against teammate Megan Meyer at the NHRA Baby Gators in Gainesville. In her second start in Top Alcohol Dragster at the famed Summit Motorsports Park in Norwal, Camrie qualified second again and finished the job to hoist her very first Wally.
“Not only was that time with Randy and his entire team so special to me, it was also a very informative. I really learned a lot from not only Randy, but Megan, Rachel, & Julie, too,” Caruso said. “I do really miss stomping on that loud pedal and wish I could’ve continued with them but, between budget restraints after my dad’s crash and just unfortunate timing for planning 2021 it didn’t work out.”
But make no mistake about, Caruso said if Meyer called she’d be on the next plane.
As for 2021 and the exact details of Caruso’s debut in Mountain Motor Pro Stock competition, she’s staying tight lipped. When asked about her first race and what car and team she’ll be affiliated with she said, “You’re just going to have to wait and see. We are very close to finalizing all the details and as soon as they are final we will make an announcement. If there’s one thing I’m starting to learn is you can’t put the cart before the horse in these kind of things because it doesn’t always go the way you wished.”
The immediate plan, though, is for Caruso to be back down in Florida in a couple weeks with Pluchino and the Addeo family’s Pro Stock Cougar once owned by legendary Pro Stock competitor Carl Baker and campaigned in IHRA Pro Stock. This is the same car where Pluchino learned and the family won back-to-back Pro 632 championships in the PDRA.
“I’m so thankful to Johnny for putting this opportunity together with Dominic & Anthony Addeo. I am truly blessed to have this opportunity and hope I don’t let anyone down,” Caruso said.
Caruso Family Racing is a three-generation drag racing team out of Fairport, NY.For more information on Camrie Caruso, Marc “the Rodfather” Caruso or an opportunity to be a marketing partner, you can contact Marc Caruso at [email protected] or Camrie Caruso at [email protected].