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Camrie Caruso makes her mark as a rookie in NHRA Pro Stock class

 By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Camrie Caruso grew up around drag racing, with her father, Marc, and grandfather, Papa Joe, both veteran racers.

But Caruso's family didn't pressure her into the sport. They didn't have to. 

"They never pushed it, it was always my choice,'' Caruso said.

CamrieCaruso2Camrie Caruso has turned in a solid rookie season in the Pro Stock Car division, ranking eighth in points entering this weekend's Menards NHRA Nationals. [Photo by Auto Imagery]

The 24-year-old Caruso competed in the Jr. Dragster, Super Comp, Top Alcohol Dragster and Mountain Motor Pro Stock ranks before making the jump to Pro Stock Car this season, becoming just the second woman to run a full season in the class.

"I've always wanted to do it, so it was always kind of the plan, in my head at least, to probably run either Pro Mod or Pro Stock,'' Caruso said in a phone interview. "I wasn't really too picky.''

CamrieCaruso4Two-time Pro Stock world champ Jim Yates (left) is serving as crew chief for Camrie Caruso, helping Caruso reach a final round and earn a No. 1 qualiier position in her rookie season. [Photo by Auto Imagery]

Two-time world Pro Stock champ Jim Yates joined the family-run team over the winter as crew chief and Caruso has made an immediate impact, racing to a final round and earning a No. 1 qualifier in her rookie season while ranking in the top 10 in the extremely-competitive Pro Stock division all season.

"I feel like it's gone good,'' said Caruso, eighth in points entering the Menards NHRA Nationals Friday through Sunday at Heartland Motorsports Park. "We started really, really awesome. The first five races, six races were great. We kind of hit a struggle in the Western Swing and then at Seattle we started to come back from that.

"So honestly I think the team's doing really great together. It is a whole new team, so it does take some time to get used to each other and the way each other works and everything else, so I think we're pretty good. I think we're going to stay here for quite a long time.''

CamrieCaruso3Pro Stock Rookie Camrie Caruso will make her racing debut at Heartland Motorsports Park this weekend in the Menards NHRA Nationals. [Photo by Auto Imagery]

Caruso's goal now is to strengthen her points position over the next three races before the start of the Countdown to the Championship Sept.15-18 in Reading, Pa. 

Caruso, who will drive the Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camro this weekend, is currently just 32 points out of seventh place, 33 out of sixth and 75 out of fifth in the Pro Stock standings.

"We're going to finish out the regular season really strong and hopefully we'll be in fifth, sixth or seventh by the time we hit the first race of the Countdown,'' Caruso said. "From ninth and 10th it's really kind of less likely for you to win it, but anywhere eight and up you have a good chance of still winning the championship.

"We're going to continue to work hard and hopefully we'll move up a few spots and that will make it a little easier going into the Countdown.''

Caruso, who earned a business administration degree from SUNY Empire State College, will race in Topeka for the first time, checking off another new track in her rookie campaign.

"I think it's fun,'' she said. "I've been to a few this year so far. Sonoma was new, Seattle was new, Houston was new and I enjoy the new tracks. We'll go there and me and my crew chief (Yates) will walk the track and talk about what to expect because he's raced every track there is.''

The first round of Pro Stock qualifying is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a pair of qualifying sessions at 2 and 5 o'clock on Saturday.

Pro Stock Car eliminations will begin at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, following the first round of Top Fuel and Funny Car eliminations at 10:30 a.m.

MENARDS NHRA NATIONALS PRESENTED BY PETARMOR

At Heartland Motorsports Park

EVENT SCHEDULE

FRIDAY - AUGUST 12, 2022

Full Racing Schedule
ALL TIMES ARE LOCAL

Sportsman Qualifying 8:00 AM
Midway Open/Suggested Time of Arrival 12:30 PM
Top Alcohol Qualifying Session 1:30 PM
Pro Mod Qualifying Session 2:30 PM
Sportsman Qualifying 3:00 PM
Top Alcohol Qualifying Session 4:30 PM
Pro Mod Qualifying Session

5:30 PM

Pro Stock Qualifying Session 6:30 PM
Street Legal Exhibition 7:15 PM

Nitro Qualifying Session

7:30 PM

"Walking Tall" PT Cruiser Wheelstander Exhibition Driven by "NitroMike"  8:30 PM
"Miss Elle" Jet Funny Car Exhibition Driven by Mickey McCormick 8:35 PM
   

SATURDAY - AUGUST 13, 2022

 

Sportsman Eliminations 8:00 AM
Midway Open/Suggested Time of Arrival 11:00 AM
Top Alcohol Qualifying Session 12:15 PM
Pro Mod Qualifying Session 1:15 PM
Nitro School with Kurt Johnson at the Tony Stewart Racing Pit 1:00 PM
Pro Stock Car Qualifying Session 2:00 PM
Nitro Qualifying Session 3:00 PM
Top Alcohol Dragster Eliminations - Round 1 4:00 PM

Pro Mod Eliminations- Round 1 

4:30 PM

Pro Stock Car Qualifying Session

5:00 PM

Nitro Qualifying Session 6:00 PM
"Miss Elle" Jet Funny Car Exhibition Driven by Mickey McCormick 7:00 PM
"Walking Tall" PT Cruiser Wheelstander Exhibition Driven by "NitroMike"  7:05 PM
Top Alcohol Funny Car Eliminations - Round 1 7:10 PM
Sportsman Eliminations 7:30 PM
   

SUNDAY - AUGUST 14, 2022

 

Sportsman Eliminations 8:00 AM
Midway Open/Suggested Time of Arrival 8:30 AM

Top Alcohol Eliminations - Round 2

8:45 AM

SealMaster Track Walk and Driver Introductions at the Starting Line 9:30 AM

Nitro Eliminations - Round 1 

10:30 AM

Pro Stock Car Eliminations - Round 1

11:30 AM

Pro Mod Eliminations- Round 2

12:10 PM

Nitro Eliminations - Round 2 

12:30 PM

Pro Stock  Eliminations - Round 2 1:00 PM
Pro Mod Eliminations- Semi Finals 1:20 PM

Top Alcohol Eliminations- Semi Finals

1:25 PM

Sportsman Eliminations- Semi-Finals 1:40 PM

Nitro Eliminations - Semi-Finals 

2:15 PM

Pro Stock Car Eliminations - Semi-Finals

2:30 PM

Sportsman Eliminations- Finals 2:40 PM

Top Alcohol Eliminations - Finals

2:50 PM

Pro Mod Eliminations- Finals 3:00 PM
Pro Stock Car Eliminations- Finals 3:40 PM

Nitro Eliminations - Finals 

3:50 PM

Winner's Circle on the Starting Line 4:00 PM
* Schedule subject to change