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Caruso vs. Caruso Pro Mod/Top Dragster Grudge Race Brings Added Excitement To Woostock

It’s Marc Caruso’s first time driving in nearly a year, and Camrie Caruso’s first time driving in 2020 – and first driving a brand new combination.

And if that’s not enough for both of them, they decided to do a head-to-head grudge race — with a little money on the line as well.

Both Marc and Camrie will take part in this weekend’s Woostock event at Darlington Dragway, with them matching up for a special grudge race during the fourth round of qualifying on Friday. For both, it adds a little dose of excitement to what’s already going to be a memorable weekend.

“I’m very, very anxious and excited, and a little bit nervous,” Marc Caruso said. “I’m sure there will probably be a lot of jitters, but I’m sure once it fires up it’s going to be like, ‘Mama, I’m home.’ I can’t wait.”

Said Camrie Caruso: “I love to drive, I love to be at the track, so I’m super excited. It’s cool to see (her father) back in the car, but I’m not taking it easy on him.”

Dad wouldn’t expect anything less, as he’ll be racing his Caruso Family Racing “Rodfather” Pro Mod Camaro this weekend, while Camrie will be in her Top Dragster. That class isn’t actually racing at Woostock, meaning she will test with the no-time cars before facing off with her father during Friday’s final qualifier.

For Marc, it’s the first time behind the wheel since his major crash last June in Bristol. The car was totaled, as was his body, as Caruso broke his back during the incident.

It’s been a long road — and a lot of physical therapy — to return, and Caruso is glad to be back. The good news is his car is running as well as ever. With Tommy D’Aprile driving in January, the car advanced to the final round at the U.S. Street Nationals and Alex Laughlin won the $50,000 prize in the car at the Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals.

“That’s definitely given me a shot of confidence,” Marc Caruso said. “I feel very good about our chance this weekend. As well as we ran in NHRA legal trim, the fact that we can pull a ton of weight out makes me feel good. It’s a great testing ground for PDRA.

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“It’s just great to get back to the racetrack. It’s been a long couple months, and I’m extremely excited to get to go racing.”

Photo by Tara Bowker

Caruso and his daughter have kept busy with their daily “Quarantining with the Carusos” show on Facebook – which has taken off — but they’re both ready to race.

With their race operation located in nearby Spartanburg, SC, it made perfect sense to race in Darlington this weekend. A bevy of star Pro Mod drivers are expected to compete, which only added to Caruso’s desire to return, while Camrie will get the chance to test out a new Vortech supercharger that tuner Lee White put together.

It’s a combination that hasn’t been down the track yet, but the potential is immense. Dad said there’s 3.50s potential in it and that’s enough to spark Camrie’s interest.

“I’m really excited for the potential. It’s capable of a lot, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes,” said Camrie, who will race Top Dragster in the PDRA this year.

Photo by Tara Bowker

Marc will also race PDRA this year in Pro Boost, but before that is a marquee father/daughter matchup this weekend in Darlington.

Promoter Keith Berry put $1,000 on Camrie for anyone who wants it, while more money will likely come flying in Friday evening. As for how it goes, well, there won’t be any sandbagging from either.

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“It’s going to be a riot,” Marc said. “We’ve never lined up against each other, and the fact that it’s going to be heads-up, that makes it a lot more fun. I’ll pull in ready to win, but I believe her dragster is every bit as fast as my Pro Mod car. As long as both cars go A to B, I think it’s going to come down to reaction time. Both cars are fast and I already told her I’m not going in first.”

Camrie promises to be ready for that, too. She hopes to make some passes in the Pro Mod Camaro this year to “convince my dad to make the transition,” but for now, she’ll just worry about beating him on the track on Friday.

“Dad says he’s not going in first and I told him it could be a really long burndown,” Camrie said. “I’ve never been to Woostock, so it’s going to be a really fun experience. I’m hyped up about it. I’m going to have the only dragster there, so that will be really cool.”

Photo by Tara Bowker

This story was originally published on May 14, 2020. Drag Illustrated

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