As Women’s History Month comes to an end on March 31, second year pro Camrie Caruso etched her name into the NHRA record books as just the second female to win a Pro Stock national event and just the 19th woman to win an NHRA professional national event last weekend. In just her 21st professional start Caruso raced to the winner’s circle at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park outside of Phoenix, three days ago. The No. 8 qualifier outran Deric Kramer, Cristian Cuadra, Matt Hartford and finally Bo Butner to secure the win behind the wheel of her Powerbuilt Tools Chevrolet Camaro out of the KB Titan Racing stable.
“Getting my first win was a huge goal and to have it come during Women’s History Month is really cool,” said Caruso, who has won NHRA events at a variety of levels. “NHRA has a great history of successful women racers and crew chiefs so to add my name to that list by winning the Arizona Nationals is really special.”
This was Caruso’s second final round appearance. During her rookie season she raced to the finals at the SpringNationals in Houston as the No. 1 qualifier and lost a close race to eventual Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders in the first all-female Pro Stock final round.
“The Pro Stock category has had a number of women racers over the past 50 years and to be one of only two women to have won a Wally is amazing,” said Caruso. “I hope other young racers in junior dragster or the sportsman classes see the success I have had or that Erica (Enders) has had and it motivates them to keep racing or to give racing a shot.”
“There have been so many successful women in NHRA that it doesn’t seem weird or out of place to stand in the winner’s circle. I have won in other categories racing men my whole life so Sunday winning my first professional Pro Stock race was more about my racing ability and my Powerbuilt Tools Chevrolet Camaro’s performance than who I was racing against. It was a team effort all around and I am just proud we got a win in the second race of the season,” added Caruso.
This weekend Caruso will return to In-N-Out Pomona Drag Strip for the NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals. It was a little over a year ago that Caruso qualified for her first NHRA national event at the historic track located 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. The successful first outing included qualifying in the top half of the field and gaining valuable experience that would carry her through her rookie campaign.
“I am excited that we will get this Powerbuilt Tools Chevrolet Camaro back on the track this weekend at the Winternationals,” said Caruso. “The win in Phoenix was great but I think this team has a lot of confidence right now and we want to keep the momentum going. Being able to see the success of this KB Titan Racing team so early shows what we are all capable of heading into this season. I know we have a lot more races to go but doing well in Pomona will only keep us focused.”
Over the off-season Caruso joined the newly formed KB Titan Racing joining a four driver team composed of five-time Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson, 2021 NHRA Rookie of the Year Dallas Glenn and second generation Pro Stock standout Kyle Koretsky. The mix of veteran leadership, youthful enthusiasm and superior racing talent has Caruso feeling right at home and also eager to continue her development as a driver.
“Getting to work with Greg, Dallas and Kyle has been so great,” said Caruso. “They are really supportive and I am so comfortable in my Powerbuilt Camaro thanks to all their input. Seeing my whole team in the winner’s circle in Phoenix was great. I have to thank my mom, dad and Papa for all their support too. I am looking forward to racing in the #2Fast2Tasty race on Saturday and then chasing that second Pro Stock win on Sunday.”
The race weekend will be busy for Caruso with the #2Fast2Tasty race on Saturday pitting the Arizona Nationals Pro Stock semifinalist in rematch races for cash and championship points. The reigning Rookie of the Year will also return to the NHRA Nitro Stage with host Jason Galvin for her “Just the Basics with Camrie Caruso” fam experience. Powerbuilt Tools will be on her Chevrolet Camaro again this weekend and Caruso will not just be promoting the outstanding tool brand but also promoting CAWA, a non-profit trade association, representing automotive parts manufacturers, jobbers, warehouse distributors, retailers and program groups. The Association was formed in 1955 and serves as the voice of the aftermarket parts industry in the West, i.e., Arizona, California and Nevada. CAWA prides itself on quality customer service to its members and the industry.
“Powerbuilt Tools is a great company to be associated with and our relationship is about more than selling tools,” said Caruso, who made multiple appearances for Powerbuilt Tools in the off-season. “Through their relationship with CAWA we are helping provide scholarships and career opportunities for people all over Arizona, Nevada and California. They are doing great things to encourage women to get involved in motorsports at all levels. There are so many opportunities beyond driving and working on race cars and CAWA is doing great things to promote this with the support of Powerbuilt Tools.”
Caruso and the rest of the Pro Stock field currently sitting at 19 entries for 16 spots will get their first qualifying run Friday afternoon. Two more sessions are scheduled for Saturday with the quickest 16 Pro Stock entries vying for the Winternationals title on Sunday. The race will be nationally televised on FS1 throughout the weekend.