Story By: NHRA – EPPING, NH – It may be Camrie Caruso’s rookie season in Pro Stock and the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, but the rising star is no stranger to New England Dragway.
She’s raced there plenty growing up and with her family, taking plenty of good memories and a strong comfort level at the facility heading into this weekend’s NHRA New England Nationals.
Caruso also goes into the event with plenty of momentum, picking up steam with each start in her Sand Haulers of America Chevrolet Camaro. At Pro Stock’s most recent event in Houston, Caruso earned her first career No. 1 qualifier and advanced to the final round, making up one half of the first all-female final round in Pro Stock history. Caruso fell to four-time world champ Erica Enders in the championship round and Pro Stock heads to Epping after nearly six weeks off, but Caruso feels plenty of momentum heading into the weekend.
“I’ve raced at Epping quite a bit in Super Comp and I’m super excited to be headed there in a pro category,” Caruso said. “It’s such a cool track and it’s going to be a lot of fun to go back there. We’re ready to get back out there and compete again and show it wasn’t a coincidence we made it to the final in Houston. We’re out there to prove we’re going to keep running up front and we’re going to continue to be a strong competitor. I’m definitely enjoying going to all these different tracks and seeing all the fans, and I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) all won the 2021 event, and this year’s race will again be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1). It is the sixth race during the 2022 Pro Stock campaign and Caruso enjoyed a surge in points thanks to her first career final round appearance. She jumped to seventh in the loaded class and appears to be getting better at each race.
The event was a huge stepping-stone, as Caruso also advanced out of the second round for the first time in her Pro Stock career. She was impressed with what the team showed in testing during the layoff, but Caruso knows the team will have to continue to make strides throughout the year. That’s a nod to the loaded Pro Stock category, which starts with Enders, who has three wins this year and is the current points leader. Other standouts include defending event winner Stanfield, who has two wins this year, reigning world champ Greg Anderson, who is seeking his 100th career win, Gainesville winner Dallas Glenn, Kyle Koretsky 2018 event winner Chris McGaha, Mason McGaha, Troy Coughlin Jr., and Matt Hartford.
But Caruso has proven more than capable of competing with the best and that success has only continued to push her.
“We’ve worked our butts off and to say that we’ve accomplished what we have with a team less than a year old is pretty awesome,” Caruso said. “I’m very lucky to have this team and I trust them to give me a great car every time I go down the track. We tried a few things in testing, and I think we made some improvements, so I think we’ll be good to go (in Epping). When it’s time to race, I know I can trust my guys and I’m trying to be the best version of myself out there.”
Top Fuel’s Brittany Force is after her fourth win of what has already been a standout season, but the points leader won’t have it easy in Epping. The former world champ will face off with the likes of four-time defending world champ Steve Torrence, Antron Brown, Pomona winner Justin Ashley, Tony Schumacher, Mike Salinas, who has a pair of victories in 2022, veteran Doug Kalitta and Leah Pruett.
In Funny Car, Bob Tasca III is trying to win for the first time at his home track in the category, but it won’t be easy. Points leader Matt Hagan and Robert Hight have combined for five victories this year, while John Force and defending world champ Ron Capps also have wins. Others to watch include J.R. Todd, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, Alexis DeJoria, and Blake Alexander.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which features some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as exciting exhibition racing in the snowmobile category throughout the weekend. After nitro qualifying, fans can enjoy the big thrills of jet cars, as the jet car team Douthit Motorsports will make runs. The Zona Motorsports’ nostalgia cars will also be doing exhibition runs and cacklefests throughout the weekend. On Saturday, fans can also attend Nitro School with Tasca to learn more about how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds.
Fans at New England Dragway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan-favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the NHRA New England Nationals event winners.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Epping. This unique opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family. The new Pep Boys midway display will include tire change challenges, oil change challenges, a slot car track and much more, adding even more excitement to the midway.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, June 3 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 4 at 1 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 5. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, 7 p.m. on Saturday, and then eliminations action at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.