In a final round battle that featured two of NHRA’s brightest young stars, Camrie Caruso prevailed to win the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout on Saturday afternoon during the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by Peak Performance.
Caruso, the 2022 NHRA Rookie of the Year, won her first NHRA national event earlier this season in Phoenix. She added a second title in her first event at Route 66 Raceway when she drove her Tequila Comisario Camaro past Aaron Stanfield in the Callout final that is typical of the close competition in today’s Pro Stock class. Caruso got off the starting line first and finished just .004-second ahead of Stanfied’s Janac Bros. Camaro at the finish line strips, 6.524 to 6.525.
“Honestly, it was super awesome,” said Caruso “I told the guys at the beginning of the year I want to win all the specialty races. They're really cool; they gave us another chance to bring home a trophy from a race I've never been to before, so it was a whole bunch of firsts for us this weekend. We managed to get it done and I couldn't be more thankful.
“After the first round win, we had to change engines. We hurt the engine pretty good and couldn't continue with it. Everybody on the team, and even guys from the other [KB Titan] cars came over and helped us get ready for the second round. We didn't have a whole lot of time but the guys made it happen and gave me a great car and it all worked out in the end.
I've said it before and I'll say it a million times, there's no easy round in the regular race or the specialty races,” Caruso said. “The class is so tight and full of great drivers. I thought it was really cool how it played out Elite vs. KB in the first round, and I thought that was really awesome.”
The NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout featured eight of the best racers in the class as determined by qualifying at events held earlier this season. As the No. 8 seed, Caruso did not have the luxury of choosing her round one opponent. Instead, she raced No. 6 seed Cristian Cuadra in the opening round and cruised to an easy win when Cuadra’s Corral Boots entry had troubles.
Caruso was then called out by Troy Coughlin Jr. in the semifinals, and she responded to the challenge with a 6.540 for the win after Coughlin’s JEGS.com entry slowed. Caruso also finished as the No. 5 qualifier in the tough Pro Stock field for Sunday's final eliminations.
The event began with four drivers each from the rival Elite and KB Titan teams, but after round one, Caruso was the only KB Titan driver left. No. 1 seed Dallas Glenn made a bold move when he called out five-time and reigning world champion Erica Enders, but that plan went awry when Glenn fouled out by two-hundredths. The foul also cost Glenn $2,500 as there was a reported side wager brokered by Enders’ sponsors, Johnson’s Horsepowerd Garage.
Stanfield, who enjoyed one of the best days of his career at Route 66 Raceway in 2017 when he raced (and defeated) his father, Greg, in the Super Stock final, topped Kyle Koretsky in round one and then defeated his teammate Enders, 6.527 to 6.574.