Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 10

LETTER from the EDITOR
Wes Buck Chief Executive Officer / Founder & Editorial Director 660.988.2313 wes @ dragillustrated . com
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Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief 440.986.1480 nate @ dragillustrated . com

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’ ll admit that I was more than a little surprised to see Camrie Caruso ’ s breakout weekend in NHRA Pro Stock come so soon in her rookie season . That ’ s no knock on Camrie or her team , led by championship-proven crew chief Jim Yates and similarly successful engine builders at the fledgling Titan Racing Engines shop in Denver , North Carolina . It ’ s just that NHRA Pro Stock is so competitive right now . After all , five-time and defending world champion Greg Anderson – a living legend of the sport – has yet to make it to a final round this season as of this printing .
That competition level is what makes Camrie ’ s big weekend at Houston – she earned her first No . 1 qualifier spot and raced Houston favorite and four-time world champion Erica Enders in the final round – somewhat unexpected , though it really shouldn ’ t have been a surprise to anyone who ’ s been following along . Camrie has tasted success in numerous high-level classes , including a win each in PDRA Elite Top Dragster and NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster . She ’ s always shown up with capable equipment , and she ’ s proven she has what it takes to grow and evolve as a driver .
This new Pro Stock endeavor is the latest example of that . Through Titan Racing Engines , Camrie and her team have the same engines and the same engine builders that powered Tanner Gray to the 2018 world championship when the facility was owned and operated by Gray Motorsports . Camrie paired that horsepower with solid reaction times late in eliminations at Houston to send Anderson home on a holeshot in the semis before leaving on Enders in the final round . If Caruso and company keep trending in this direction , she will score a Wally this season , and don ’ t be surprised when she does .
Kelly Wade dives deeper into Camrie ’ s success
Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief
story in the cover feature , where she spoke to not just Camrie , but also her dad , Marc , engine builder Mike Smith , and Titan co-owner Eric Latino . Together , they explain how the group has found success in such a short period of time .
Like past Women of Power issues , this edition features numerous other women who are making an impact on this sport . We ’ ve included veterans like NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle standout Karen Stoffer and longtime team exec Kelly Antonelli , as well as racers who are in the early stages of their careers , like best-friend duo Amber Franklin and Lexi Tanner in PDRA Pro 632 .
There ’ s also a roundtable interview with just a handful of the women who are currently excelling in NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster . Though the sport has prided itself on men and women competing together across the board , I ’ m not sure there ’ s a single high-level class where this is more evident than Top Alcohol Dragster . Just over 30 years ago , Amy Faulk became the first woman to win an NHRA national event in Top Alcohol Dragster . Women have been gracing the winner ’ s circle in the class ever since , claiming dozens of wins as well as the three most recent world championships [ sisters Megan ( 2019-2020 ) and Rachel ( 2021 ) Meyer ].
I ’ ll close on a somber note , as this issue also includes our tribute to the late , great Pro Mod driver and owner Scott Oksas , known by many as “ Scotty O .” He was a big man with an even bigger personality , one that really came out when he won our World Series of Pro Mod at Bandimere Speedway in 2019 . He quickly became a friend of this group , and we ’ ll really miss him . We offer our sincere condolences to the Oksas family , as well as to the family of our longtime colleague in the drag racing magazine business , John DiBartolomeo , who passed away after a courageous cancer battle just days before we sent this issue to print . DI
Feel free to email me at nate @ dragillustrated . com and follow me at facebook . com / nitronate1320 and nitronate1320 on Instagram and Twitter .
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