Change of plans
Women of Power 2022 • Camrie Caruso
Driver - ready only thing missing was a reliable engine program , and once again , it was Latino on the other end of the line with a solution .
“ Eric made us aware of four engines that had belonged to Gray Motorsports that [ Elite Motorsports owner ] Richard Freeman had bought ,” explains Marc . “ Richard wasn ’ t running them because they were a different combination than his , so we started negotiating with him about purchasing those . Richard was interested in our Pro Mod operation , so we struck a deal .”
In addition to the Pro Stock engines for Camrie ’ s Chevrolet , Titan Racing Engines [ TRE ] builds bullets for Stock Eliminator , European Pro Stock entries , an Australian Comp Eliminator racer , dirt late model customers , and some asphalt late model competitors .
“ There is a lot of talk about Camrie Caruso and Jim Yates , but the fact that we ’ re doing our own engine program with TRE gets swept under the rug ,” says Marc .
“ We ’ re not [ leasing engines from ] KB Racing or Elite Motorsports . We legitimately have our own engine program , and TRE maintains and services them . We ’ ve been able to come out and be as successful as we have as only a single-car operation with all our own stuff , and I think that ’ s just as cool as what Camrie is accomplishing .”
The engines that could
THE EXPERIENCE AND productivity in the TRE race shop anchors the program that aided Camrie in qualifying in the top half at four of the first five races , including the No . 1 in Houston .
Smith , who operates the dyno and does the EFI tuning , came into Pro Stock working with Mark Pawuk in 2003 , spent five years working alongside iconic Pro Stock engine builder Warren Johnson , and was an integral part of Tanner
“ DAD WAS LIKE , IF YOU SUCK , DON ’ T BE CONCERNED ,” CAMRIE SAID TO THE AUDIENCE FROM THE NHRA STAGE AT THE PRI SHOW IN 2021 . “ I TOLD HIM , WE AREN ’ T LEAVING UNTIL I CAN DO THIS .”
A place in history
Gray ’ s 2018 championship season .
Master machinist Johns learned the ropes from Bill “ Grumpy ” Jenkins and was with the Pro Stock legend for many years . He has worked with team owner and multi-class racer Victor Cagnazzi , Team JEGS , and Gray through multiple championship seasons , and he was the 1992 Competition Eliminator champion as a driver . He ’ s also driven Pro Stock and continues to race Stock Eliminator at select national events .
“ We complement each other ,” says Smith . “ Steve is an excellent machinist , and we both pick up where the other lacks . We talked about it before we went to Pomona . KB Racing has six cars , Elite has six cars – that ’ s 12 good cars . So realistically , we agreed that we ’ d be happy to qualify mid-pack , and that we would consider that a success . I don ’ t know if you ’ re ever happy , but we ’ re pointed in the right direction .”
Latino explains that the engines that power Camrie ’ s Chevrolet Camaro are basically the same as they were when they were run in Gray ’ s winning Chevy , aside from small changes .
“ You know you can never leave anything alone ,” says Latino . “ You learn as you go along , engine technology changes , and Mike and Steve have a program that ’ s proven to be pretty strong . We ’ re right there with the best of the best , and that ’ s pretty exciting .”
CARUSO HAS RACED WITH A ROTATING LIST OF PRIMARY SPONSORS ON HER CAMARO , INCLUDING POWERBUILT TOOLS , RIGHT TRAILERS , PROCAR , AND SAND HAULERS OF AMERICA .
94 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 176