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Pro Stock Rookie Camrie Caruso Qualifies No. 7 in Debut at NHRA Winternationals

In her debut NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series national event rookie Pro Stock driver Camrie Caruso showed she will be a serious contender for not just NHRA Rookie of the Year honors but also inclusion in the Countdown to the Championship.

Driving the Powerbuilt Tools Chevrolet Camaro, the racer from Denver, North Carolina, made three solid passes in the 6.55-6.56 second range to qualify No. 7 at the 62nd  NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Her best run came in the final session on Saturday and lit up the scoreboard in 6.553 seconds at 207.43 mph. Caruso will have lane choice against veteran driver Rodger Brogdon in the first round.

“This weekend has been crazy and fun,” said Caruso, a third generation drag racer. “We have learned a ton just in those three passes. This Powerbuilt Tools Chevrolet Camaro has been consistent and so smooth. I have to thank my family and my team including crew chief Jim Yates for giving me a great race car. I am excited to get to the race tomorrow.”

Caruso was in the first pair of Pro Stock racers to hit the track on Friday when she laid down the eighth quickest pass of the session. It was a monumental moment for the young driver who has raced her way up the ladder in NHRA competition. Her qualifying time of 6.563 seconds at 209.69 mph was nearly duplicated on Saturday morning when she ran 6.566 seconds. Her 210.90 mph run this morning was the fastest speed recorded in qualifying over Friday and Saturday.

Gary Nastase/Auto Imagery photo

Going into the last session Caruso was holding onto her position in the top half of the field and her Powerbuilt Tools team was looking to keep lane choice. As the sun was setting on the historic Winternationals racetrack Caruso stepped up with her Jim Yates tuned Camaro and posted her quickest run of the weekend and moved her up to the No. 7 spot.

“We spent a lot of time testing, so I am happy all those efforts paid off,” said Caruso. “This season will have its ups and downs, but this is definitely a very positive start.”

The first round of eliminations will begin with Top Fuel and Funny Car at 11 a.m. followed by Pro Stock. The race will be televised on FS1 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

This story was originally published on February 20, 2022. Drag Illustrated

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