NHRA Pro Stock Rookie Camrie Caruso Has A Scare Behind The Wheel

Freckles, pigtails, a fireproof suit and helmet, and a Chevrolet Camaro NHRA Pro Stock that clocked the quarter mile in 6.516 seconds, at 210.70 mph, as it qualified seventh out of 20 cars on a cold, slippery track at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s 24-year-old Camrie Caruso, an exceptionally tough Pro Stock class rookie, a third-generation dragster from outside Rochester, New York, currently living in Denver, North Carolina, because that’s where that the store for her Right Trailers Camaro is located.

And because running is all she ever wanted to do. She started at age 8 in NHRA Junior Dragsters and worked her way up the sporting ladder to one of the NHRA’s top three professional car classes. Nitro Funny Car and Top Fuel cars can go faster, but Pro Stock is perhaps considered the most difficult class to pass, as the performance of cars in the class are so close that the slightest mistake can prevent a driver from qualify for the field. of 16.

Twenty cars showed up for Sunday’s eliminations, and four were sent home Saturday night as the weather-delayed qualifying started late. One rider who knows how tough the class can be is Jim Yates, Caruso’s crew chief and two-time Pro Stock champion (1996, 1997) before retiring from riding.

Camrie Caruso won her first NHRA round in the Pro Stock class on just her second outing.

Richard H Shute

Caruso, in person, has nothing to do with her fierce driving personality, “has the heart of a champion,” Yates said.

The track temperature was in the 60’s and all cars awaiting qualifying after Pro Stock was shut down because the track was deemed too cold to race safely with the Pro Stock motorcycle class being defined by points instead of qualifications. Saturday night’s low was expected to be in the 20s, with freezing weather – by Florida standards – predicted for Sunday.

“Not many rookies can run a quarter mile in 6.5 seconds in conditions like we’re in now,” Yates said after qualifying. “I would have been happy with a time of 6.7 or 6.8 seconds, but she beat it by a considerable margin.”

None of this seemed to matter outwardly to Caruso, who put his head down and faced whatever track conditions were present. This is the third race of the season for the NHRA, and Caruso qualified well in Pomona and Phoenix, and won a round at the Phoenix race. This is especially impressive considering the fact that it took four-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders eight races to win her first run.

When asked what she would be doing now if she wasn’t drag racing, Caruso stopped and said, “I really have no idea. That’s what I always have. wanted to do.”

To help pay the bills, she does marketing for sponsor Right Trailers and Titan Racing Engines, which supplies the 1,400 horsepower V-8 engines for her race car. It’s something Caruso is comfortable doing — she has a degree in marketing and finance from SUNY Empire State College.

Caruso admits to having a fear when she is driving.

“Letting go of all the people who support me, my crew, my family,” she says. “I just want to do my best to make them proud.”

So far, so good.

NHRA Nationals

Qualifying results, Sunday elimination pairings

Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations at the 53rd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the third of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on qualifying results, which ended on Saturday. DNQs listed under pairings.

Top fuel — 1. Tripp Tatum, 3.674 seconds, 331.53 mph vs. 16. Lex Joon, 4.060, 295.66; 2. Force of Brittany, 3,684, 337.75 against 15. Clay Millican, 4,056, 248.52; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.697, 329.50 vs. 14. Tony Schumacher, 3.983, 266.32; 4. Mike Salinas, 3.709, 332.10 vs. 13. Krista Baldwin, 3.865, 297.55; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.718, 330.47 vs. 12. Alex Laughlin, 3.858, 319.98; 6. Justin Ashley, 3.722, 330.96 vs. 11. Josh Hart, 3.783, 306.88; 7. Spencer Massey, 3.735, 324.12 vs. 10. Doug Foley, 3.775, 313.44; 8. Austin Prock, 3.761, 326.71 vs. 9. Billy Torrence, 3.763, 328.78. Non qualified : 17. Anthony Brown, 5.056, 168.20; 18. Lea Pruett, 5.125, 227.34; 19.Ike Maier, 5.901, 202.67; 20. Arthur Allen, broke; 21. Shawn Langdon, broke.

funny car — 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.831, 333.41 vs. 16. John Smith, Dodge Charger, 9.754, 102.99; 2. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.891, 328.22 vs. 15. John Force, Camaro, 8.924, 75.58; 3. Cruz Pedregon, loader, 3.891, 327.35 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, loader, 8.903, 68.36; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.898, 320.13 vs. 13. Dave Richards, Mustang, 8.773, 85.61; 5. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Supra, 3.907, 326.40 vs. 12. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 8.436, 87.67; 6. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.918, 319.98 vs. 11. JR Todd, Supra, 8.381, 86.92; 7. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.057, 249.63 vs. 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 7.487, 90.36; 8. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.075, 313.66 vs. 9. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.495, 200.44.

Professional stock — 1. Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 6.468, 211.66 vs. 16. Stefan Emryd, Dodge Dart, 6.989, 188.86; 2. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.482, 212.06 vs. 15. Fernando Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.577, 210.24; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.510, 211.89 vs. 14. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.571, 209.92; 4. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.510, 210.31 vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.556, 210.11; 5. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.511, 211.63 vs. 12. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.549, 210.44; 6. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.511, 211.10 vs. 11. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.534, 210.31; 7. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.516, 210.70 vs. 10. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.528, 211.43; 8. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.524, 209.43 vs. 9. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.528, 211.93. Non qualified : 17. Val Smeland, 7.241, 202.88; 18. Chris McGaha, 9.387, 130.56; 19. Alan Prusiensky, 9.532, 99.36; 20. Larry Morgan, 12.341, 116.11.

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