Camrie Caruso packed a lot of success into her rookie season last year. The reigning NHRA rookie of the year took another huge step forward over the first five races of the 2023 season picking up her first Pro Stock win, her second No. 1 qualifier and qualifying for the first ever NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout this weekend during the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals. Caruso will have a new look for this race and the next ten this season as the team switches to the Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro. The combination of a specialty race and an NHRA national event will make for a busy weekend, but thankfully not a new experience for the young NHRA rising star.
“I am glad we raced in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge during the Winternationals because that was like a warm-up for this Pro Stock All-Star Callout,” said Caruso, who has never competed in a big money Pro Stock race before. “This Saturday race will be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see who gets called out on Friday. If I get called out I will be ready to take on any of these drivers. I am glad I have three KB Titan Racing teammates in this race with me. This will be a jam-packed weekend for the fans for sure.”
Caruso has never competed at Route 66 Raceway so the wrap around stadium look will be a new visual for the second-year professional. Last year Caruso took on over a dozen new tracks as she cut her teeth in one of the most competitive classes while also figuring out facility and track layouts. As a new member of KB Titan Racing Caruso has more time to focus on her driving and sponsors.
“Last year we were figuring out so many things every time we went to a new track,” said Caruso, who also managed most of the team responsibilities last season. “I have heard a lot about Chicago and I can’t wait to start making passes there. The NHRA hasn’t raced there in a few years, so I hope the fans turn out. We have heard they are expecting big crowds.”
The Pro Stock All-Star Callout festivities will begin on Friday for Caruso and the other seven competitors with a made for TV callout event in the pits followed by an autograph session. Saturday the drivers will be paired up for the first qualifying run of the day and following that run the winning driver with the quickest elapsed time will get to pick his or her second round opponent. The last qualifying session will set up an end of the day final round race that will not count towards qualifying but will hand the winner $28,000.
“It would be so great to win the first Pro Stock All-Star Callout race,” said Caruso. “These are some of the toughest drivers in the category so whoever wins will have some good bragging rights for the rest of the season. I like my chances in the Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro.”
Three weeks ago, Caruso clinched her spot in the specialty race behind the wheel of the Big Jeff Audio Chevrolet Camaro and she picked up her first win driving the Powerbuilt Chevrolet Camaro. The marketing relationships Caruso has established this season have given her the stability and promotional support to focus on driving and fan interaction. Throughout the season she has participated in the “Just the Basics” Q&A with NHRA announcer Jason Galvin and that stage show will pick up again in Bristol at the Thunder Valley Nationals, June 9-11.
“I have enjoyed talking with the fans at events about when the best times to get autographs are or where they can get the best concession food,” said Caruso. “The whole idea with Just the Basics is to give fans some inside info on how the races work and how they can have the best time at the track. Jason and I have had a good time getting to know each other as well.”
Once qualifying wraps up and the quickest 16 cars are set Caruso will be looking to pick up her second win of the season. Currently sitting No. 5 in the point standings the young driver knows that every point is valuable even this early in the season.
“Our goal every race is to get qualified and then win the race,” said Caruso. “With the Mission Challenge there is a positive return if you can at least get to the semifinals because at the next race we could win some extra money and possibly those championship points. This Tequila Comisario Camaro will be ready to go and I have been working to stay focused on the driving.”
Qualifying for Caruso and the Pro Stock class will begin with one session on Friday followed by two more sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will begin with Top Fuel and Funny Car at 11 a.m. followed by Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle. The race will be televised nationally on FS1.