Heading into the inaugural Scag Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage, one Pro Stock driver will have a slight confidence advantage as the “reigning” specialty race champion. In May, during the Gerber Collision & Glass Rt. 66 NHRA Nationals Camrie Caruso outlasted seven of her toughest Pro Stock competitors to take the first Pro Stock Allstar Callout title. The KB Titan Racing backed driver drove her Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro to wins over Cristian Cuadra, Troy Coughlin Jr., and Aaron Stanfield to take the win. Looking ahead to the PRO Superstar Shootout, Caruso is eager to try and win another big money race for her team.
“Getting another big money win would really cool,” said Caruso. “This race will be so different. It’s a different vibe. It’s different payouts. It’ll be cool to kind of experience something like that in Pro Stock The money that they’re putting up is wild.”
Last season, in addition to the Pro Stock Allstar Callout win, Caruso became just the second female to win a Pro Stock NHRA national event. She captured the NHRA Arizona Nationals title in just her 21st professional start. In her rookie season she raced to her first final round in her fifth start and secured her first career No. 1 qualifier at the same event, the final SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park. The pressure to win has been lifted and now looking ahead to 2024 Caruso is focused on continuing to establish herself as a championship contender and superstar in Pro Stock.
“Racing in the PRO Superstar Shootout to start the season will be a great momentum builder for our team,” said Caruso, who plans on doing testing sessions in January as well. “The best way to get better is seat time and going into the NHRA season and the Gatornationals this race will be a perfect chance to figure some things out and get back into that competitive mindset. We won a specialty race last year and I think that will definitely help us going into this big money race.”
The unique style of the PRO Superstar Shootout has Caruso intrigued and excited. The qualifying rounds will provide the teams data but going into the first round opponents will be selected by a random chip draw format. The sixteen-car field will be a who’s who of door-slammer superstars and Caruso is looking forward to matching up with the best of the best.
“I didn’t get to call anyone out during the Chicago race so maybe this race we will get to have some fun,” said Caruso. “The chip draw will make it interesting. You won’t know who you are running when you are making qualifying runs. I don’t care who I match up with. I just want to get the season started and make some good runs in testing.”
Over the past two seasons, Caruso has built a passionate fan following. During national events and regional races, she spends time on the ropes signing autographs and posing for photos. She can also be found in the sportsman pit areas supporting fellow drivers in the dragster ranks. The planned open atmosphere of the PRO Superstar Shootout has Caruso ready to go through a fair number of Sharpies.
“I think that they’re really giving us an opportunity to grow our brand, grow the class, grow the interest, and really bring a lot of excitement with the extra access,” said Caruso. “I know they’re doing a lot of VIP stuff for the fans that come and VIP passes and experiences for the sponsors. They are involving the teams in that and give us that opportunity to enhance our program which is really cool.”
Throughout the event, FloRacing will be broadcasting both on-track and behind the scenes. The added exposure is something Caruso is looking forward to sharing with fans. She is tempering expectations that the content might not be earth-shatteringly interesting.
“They probably made fun of us for how much we snack and nap, but yeah, it will be cool for fans to see even more behind-the-scenes content. They will be able to see us mess with the guys and how they torture us all day long. But it’s all good. We know what we’re getting into, and I just hope the fans enjoy watching.”