Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 96

Women of Power 2022 Camrie Caruso

Driver - ready

ALTHOUGH CAMRIE CAME to the Pro Stock table with a fair amount of experience for someone who was just 23 years old , she admits that there was a learning A curve place

that stretched back to finding her way in the Pro Outlaw 632 car .
“ Dad was like , if you suck , don ’ t be concerned ,”

in history

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 .”
That first test session in a car that was previously raced in Mountain Motor Pro Stock took place a mere six weeks before the first race of the 2021 PDRA season . Learning the Lenco transmission gave her experience that would later be translated to an NHRA Pro Stock Liberty , and Camrie did burnout after burnout that first day as she found her comfort zone dropping the clutch in a naturally aspirated car .
Fast forward to 2022 , and after getting all of the mechanical pieces in place for her NHRA
Pro Stock debut , Camrie and her newly formed team made upwards of 50 test runs before joining the seasoned Pro Stock teams in Phoenix for pre-season testing .
“ My 632 car was a clutch car , and I shifted it , so I kind of understood the concept ,” she says . “ But this car was a new experience . It was similar , but it was also different . Thankfully , I had great teachers , or I don ’ t think I would have progressed the way that I did .”
Camrie is surrounded by individuals who have either raced or worked in Pro Stock for many years , and her crew chief has very much been part of that . Initially , Marc had been in contact with longtime friend Dave Connolly , but he was in solid with KB Racing as a crew chief .
Esteemed Pro Stock car builder Jerry Haas was the one who put Yates on their radar . Yates had previously been working with Fernando Cuadra and his Pro Stock racing sons , Fernando Jr . and Cristian , but the Cuadra family was making a move to Elite Motorsports and would be utilizing their team of crew chiefs . Yates had also worked with Gray Motorsports for multiple seasons .
“ I reached out to Jim and gave him the lowdown on what we have and what we wanted to do , and he flew down to see what we had ,” says Marc . “ My father and I had lunch with him , talked about it , and a week later we offered him the job .
“ Jim and Camrie , there was a little bit of butting heads in the beginning – but it was almost comical ,” Marc continues . “ Camrie didn ’ t really know how to take Jim , and Jim didn ’ t really know how to take Camrie . It was kind of funny in
CARUSO ’ S NO . 1 QUALIFYING EFFORT AT HOUSTON TIED HER WITH 2021 ROOKIE
OF THE YEAR DALLAS GLENN AS THE QUICKEST DRIVER TO EARN THEIR FIRST CAREER NO . 1 QUALIFIER IN PRO STOCK .
96 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 176