Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 98

Women of Power 2022 Camrie Caruso
CAMRIE GREW UP WATCHING HER FATHER , MARC , RACE HIS WAY UP THROUGH THE SPORTSMAN RANKS TO PRO MOD . NOW , HE ’ S STEPPING ASIDE TO HELP CAMRIE ACHIEVE HER GOALS IN NHRA PRO STOCK .
“ HONESTLY , WHETHER IT ’ S A GIRL NEXT TO ME OR A GUY NEXT TO ME , IT REALLY DOESN ’ T MATTER ,” SAYS CAMRIE . “ I WANT TO BEAT THEM EITHER WAY . I WANT TO WIN , AND I COULDN ’ T CARE LESS IF IT ’ S GREG ANDERSON OR ERICA ENDERS .”
the beginning , and I think Toni , Jim ’ s wife , really helped the gears of that relationship fall into place . From day one , Jim has been very dedicated to making this program work ; you couldn ’ t ask for any more dedication from a person .”

Jim ’ s son , Jamie , has also played a role in Camrie ’ s development Change

, but not so much as a driver .

“ I told my dad from the beginning , I ’ m not just going to be a driver , and if that ’ s what he wanted me of to do , plans

then he better find someone else ,” Camrie states adamantly . She works at the TRE shop and handles billing and marketing , and she is also learning to build Pro Stock transmissions at the races with the help of Jamie . Camrie ’ s education in Pro Stock transmissions actually began in early 2020 , when she started the year The working engines

on Erica Enders ’ car before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down .

Camrie ’ s dedication to learning the ropes in Pro Stock that from both could

inside and outside the car extends to getting as much practice as she possibly can . Her dad explained that , back at the race shop , she ’ s committed to continuing her driving education .
“ The fact that we ’ re even out here and able to
compete is just wild ,” says Marc . “ Camrie has so much determination when it comes to driving a race car , and I know how badly she wants this and how hard she works . We have a simulator at the shop , and she ’ s on it three times a day . She ’ s sending reports to Jim and reading the books Jim has told her to read . She can be very hard on herself , but I couldn ’ t be more proud . It ’ s absolutely surreal to see her do this successfully .”

Driver - ready

A place in history

WHEN CAMRIE MADE her debut at the 2022 NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona , she became just the seventh female driver in the 52-year history of Pro Stock . In Phoenix , she claimed a round-win over Cristian Cuadra to become only the third woman to win a round of racing in the class . Lucinda McFarlin ,
who raced in the 1990s , was the first .
Caruso and four-time Pro Stock champion Enders are the only two females currently competing in Pro Stock , and in Houston , they raced in the final for another notation in the history books as the first female Pro Stock drivers to race one another in an elimination round .
“ Honestly , whether it ’ s a girl next to me or a guy next to me , it really doesn ’ t matter ,” says Camrie . “ I want to beat them either way . I want to win , and I couldn ’ t care less if it ’ s Greg Anderson [ the most winning driver in the history of the category ] or Erica Enders . I want to beat them both . We all have the same goals out here , and being a girl doesn ’ t mean you can ’ t or won ’ t accomplish them .”
Camrie grew up without concern over how being a female could hinder her progress . All she knew was that she wanted to follow in her father ’ s footsteps , as he had followed his own father ’ s path . Papa Joe started racing when he was 15 years old , getting towed to the racetrack because he wasn ’ t old enough to drive there , and he and Marc have been racing partners for many years .
“ We ’ ve always done this as a family , and Camrie has always wanted to be involved ,” says Marc . “ If she could , she would spend every single day at a racetrack . She wanted to miss her own graduation because I was racing at Norwalk , and she wanted to watch .
“ God willing , this is just the beginning of a long , long journey in Pro Stock . My father always loved Pro Stock , and growing up , my own dream was to drive Pro Stock . We never thought it was obtainable until the right people and the right pieces fell into place .”
A third of the way through her first season , Camrie is sold on the class .
“ The goal for me was Pro Mod , but it turns out that I really love the Pro Stock class , and I love my team ,” she says . “ I think we ’ re going to stay here quite a while . I hope it lasts forever .” DI
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