Every driver experiences trials and tribulations during their rookie season racing on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. For Pro Stock standout Camrie Caruso, a third generation drag racer competing at the highest level in the door-slammer category, her first season has been challenging and eye-opening. This weekend the Denver, North Carolina, resident will bring the Sand Haulers of America Chevrolet Camaro powered by Titan Racing Engines to World Wide Technology Raceway looking for her first win and momentum to move up in the Pro Stock points. As a Countdown contender who has qualified for every race this season Caruso has already had a solid rookie debut.
Two races into her first Countdown experience Caruso has made quality runs and been strong behind the wheel off the starting line, but multiple race day win lights have eluded the front-runner for NHRA Rookie of the Year. A No. 8 qualifying effort at the Betway Carolina Nationals got the team pointed in the right direction and Caruso is excited to make her first appearance in St. Louis.
“I like back-to-back races,” said Caruso. “It keeps everyone on the team in the groove and focused. We don’t lose any speed or momentum because we are always in race mode. I am good with these races so close together and I know the guys are excited to get back to the track in a few days.”
St Louis’ World Wide Technology Raceway and the NHRA Midwest Nationals will be another brand new race track and experience for the racer who has won at a variety of levels including Top Alcohol Dragster before making the move to the professional ranks of Pro Stock. In Houston this season Caruso turned heads when she qualified No. 1 and raced to the final round in just her fifth professional race. That weekend launched her into a whirlwind of competition.
“We have qualified really well a lot this season and Houston was an amazing weekend,” said Caruso. “We need to get back to that and Charlotte was a move in that direction. The biggest thing I have learned this season is how competitive Pro Stock is on and off the track. You have to be focused every second you are on the track because if you take your eye off the prize, you are done out here. I have a great group of guys on my team and we are going to keep battling these last four races. I am not going anywhere.”
Caruso has been one of the most active drivers on the tour with her marketing partners rotating them into primary sponsorship roles for key races and national events. She is returning to her Sand Haulers of America livery for the next two races. This was the branding on Caruso’s Chevrolet Camaro when she raced to the SpringNationals final round at Houston Raceway Park and the young driver and team owner is hoping there is some more magic left under the vinyl.
“This Sand Haulers of America Camaro was awesome to drive in Houston and I am excited to get back into this design,” said Caruso. “Brandon Foster has been an amazing supporter and we want to get the word out to as many people as possible that there are some great employment opportunities with Sand Haulers of America. They are a great company and I am excited to go rounds with their race car in St. Louis and then Dallas.”
In addition to Sand Haulers of America Caruso has repped PowerBuilt Tools, Tequila Comisario, NGK/NTK, Kings of Vapors, GESi, Right Trailers, VP Racing Lubricants to name a few brands and marketing partners. Caruso has been actively promoting on track as well as off track throughout the season. The constant activity on the business side has also been an exciting element for the rookie driver.
“I am responsible for all our marketing partnerships and we need every one of them to run a top tier operation,” said Caruso. “I am working the phones and then at the track making sure they are having a good time. I am building a program so I can race for many seasons, not just my rookie year. I want to be out here winning races and championships for a long time. I have to thank my dad and papa for their support as well.”
The Sand Haulers of America Chevrolet Camaro will be on track for one qualifying session on Friday and then two more qualifying runs on Saturday. Final eliminations for the 200 mph Pro Stock class will get underway at 10:30 a.m. following Top Fuel and Funny Car eliminations at World Wide Technology Raceway.