Caruso Wins NHRA “Callout”

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 21 2023

Pro Stock driver Camrie Caruso.

Following consecutive back-to-back forays into Four-Wide national events, the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series has returned to the normalcy of its two-lane roots at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. 

On cue, second-year pro Camrie Caruso drove to victory Saturday during the first NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout, defeating Aaron Stanfield as part of the 23rd annual NHRA Route 66 Nationals.

In the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, Justin Ashley (Top Fuel) Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won the bonus event. Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) and Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 at the sixth of 21 races during on the 2023 schedule.

Caruso, seeded eighth in the eight-car field specialty race, covered the quarter-mile in 6.524-seconds at 211.03 mph in her Chevrolet Camaro in the final to slip past Stanfield’s 6.525. The 2022 NHRA Rookie of the Year who claimed her first career Pro Stock win earlier this season, followed with an impressive performance in her first appearance at Route 66 Raceway. The facility in the Chicago suburbs is hosting its first NHRA national event since 2019.

“I told the guys at the beginning of the year I want to win all the specialty races this year, as well as obviously as many races as possible,” Caruso said. “This Pro Stock All-Star Callout gave us another chance to bring home a trophy at a racetrack I’ve never been to before. This was a whole bunch of new and first-time excitement for us this weekend. We managed to get it done. I’m excited and I couldn’t be more thankful.

“After the first round we had to change engines. We hurt the engine pretty good and couldn’t continue with it. We won and we didn’t really have a whole lot of time to come back up for the final, but the guys pushed through and made it happen. They gave me a great car and it all worked out in the end.”

Glenn claimed his first No. 1 qualifier with a track-record run of 6.510-seconds at 210.70 mph in his Camaro. The pass came in the opening round of the Callout, but Glenn left the starting line too soon, ending his shot at a double-win weekend. Still, the point-leader was enthused about his first “Factory Hot Rod” appearance in the Chi-Town market.

“That run had extra pressure with the Callout race, but I went red,” Glenn said. “I knew I was red before red light came on. I just knew I was letting go early but the run just felt awesome. I was kicking myself the whole time but somehow, I accidently managed to hit every shift absolutely perfect and keep it dead straight. It was a very nice run and it definitely should be some good momentum going into (Sunday).”

Deric Kramer, winner of the recent Four-Wide event at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., jumped to second in the final session with a pass of 6.515 at 210.11, while 2017 world champion Bo Butner’s 6.519 at 210.21 in the last qualifier sent him to third.

In Top Fuel, Justin Ashley became the first two-time winner in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, covering the 1,000-foot distance in 3.728-seconds at 331.12 mph in his Toyota dragster to knock off Austin Prock’s 3.742-second effort. Ashley won the bonus event in Pomona, Calif., and followed with another stout performance in Joliet, getting past three-time world champion and team-owner Antron Brown in the opening round on a hole shot Saturday and following with a victory against Prock thanks to an outstanding 0.046-second reaction time.

“It’s very exciting, this deal does mean a lot to us,” Ashley said. “It’s a new deal and we’re really grateful for Mission Foods and how they’ve put on this challenge. Anytime you add an additional opportunity to race and collect bonus points along the way I think it’s special and it means a lot. It was a really exciting day, a great day, and I think we did a good job of running well and setting the tone for ourselves going into (Sunday). This place is beautiful and to be able to see the attendance today was really encouraging.”

Salinas’ 3.686 at 333.41 from Friday in his Racing dragster held up for his first pole this year. Salinas will open eliminations against Chicago-area native T.J. Zizzo. Prock’s 3.694-second run from Friday has him second, while Doug Kalitta bumped up to third in the final session after going 3.702 at 329.75.

“This is really big. It’s packed here,” Salinas said. “It’s pretty cool to be back here with all the fans. I was No. 1 qualifier here in 2019 so it’s pretty cool. I just want to finish it better than I did then (runnerup in 2019).”

In Ha-Ha Car, Capps secured his first win in the NHRA Challenge, covering the 1,000-foot distance in 3.941-seconds at 328.30 mph in his Toyota GR Supra. The three-time/reigning world champion and team-owner was set to face Terry Haddock in the final of the specialty race, but Haddock’s car broke on the starting line _ handing the victory to Capps.

“Every driver and crew chief and team that I talked to about this Mission deal was pumped,” Capps said. “They turned Saturday qualifying and made it insane. It really drives you and gets you going, so it’s a great program. When we saw the first one happen and we weren’t in it, we were bummed. Those points are so important and I’m excited we were finally able to win one.”

Hight, a three-time world champ with John Force Racing, maintained the top spot in Funny Car thanks to his impressive 3.831 at 335.07 from Friday in the Chevrolet Camaro SS. It gave Hight his first pole of the year, as he also closed time trials with the quickest run of the day during the final session. Hight will open eliminations against Dale Creasy Jr., looking for his second straight win this year. Two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon’s 3.889 at 327.59 placed him second and 2018 world champ J.R. Todd’s 3.906 at 333.00 was third.

“We’ve been changing some combinations around a little bit and we’ve qualified No. 2 a couple times this year. We’ve been right there this year,” Hight said. “There’s a lot of great cars. It’s great timing to be No. 1 at the first race with Cornwell Tools. It’s going to be a battle (Sunday) but it’s going to be fun. The fans are the ones who win in deals like this.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Gaige Herrera crushed the Route 66 Raceway record book and secured the first Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge victory in the category as well. Herrera easily held onto the No. 1 qualifier with another massive run in the final round of the challenge, dispatching Chase Van Sant with a quarter-mile pass of 6.672-seconds at 200.32 mph aboard his Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki. It’s the quickest Pro Stock Bike run in Route 66 Raceway history, eclipsing the mark he set on Friday.

Herrera added another 6.677 in his opening-round win against Jianna Evaristo in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge before his standout run against Van Sant. It also gave the point-leader his third straight No. 1 qualifier to open the season as he looks to win at his home track in his first appearance at Route 66 Raceway. Herrera will face Ron Tornow and his Victory in Sunday’s opening round.

“To be able to get the win means a lot to the whole team and myself, and to do that for Mission,” Herrera said. “(Crew chief) Andrew Hines has this thing on rails and it’s the baddest bike out here. It’s showing. They’re flexing their horsepower for sure.

“It would mean a lot to win here (Sunday). It’s my first time racing here, having a lot of friends and family here. It’s special. The amount of support I have and everything. If I’m able to get a win here, it would definitely be a special one.”

Chip Ellis took the second spot at 6.756 at 200.68 aboard his EBR while Hector Arana Jr. qualified third at 6.759 and 201.85 aboard his EBR.

Eliminations are set to begin at noon (EDT). Fox Sports 1 will air one hour of qualifying coverage at 3 p.m. followed by one hour coverage of the NHRA Pro Stock Callout at 4 p.m. FS1 will carry three hours of final eliminations beginning at 10 p.m.

First-round elimination pairings Sunday for the 23rd annual Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., the sixth of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based upon results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings:

Top Fuel _ 1. Mike Salinas, 3.686-seconds, 333.41 mph vs. 16. T.J. Zizzo, 3.795, 325.92; 2. Austin Prock, 3.694, 331.20 vs. 15. Tony Schumacher, 3.793, 328.94; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.702, 329.75 vs. 14. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.780, 319.90; 4. Justin Ashley, 3.717, 332.10 vs. 13. Jacob McNeal, 3.774, 318.54; 5. Antron Brown, 3.720, 330.55 vs. 12. Josh Hart, 3.770, 329.91; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.721, 331.77 vs. 11. Clay Millican, 3.769, 330.47; 7. Spencer Massey, 3.722, 326.95 vs. 10. Brittany Force, 3.765, 334.82; 8. Steve Torrence, 3.735, 326.48 vs. 9. Leah Pruett, 3.736, 331.94. 

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Doug Foley, 3.805, 316.52; 18. Will Smith, 3.851, 317.87; 19. Buddy Hull, 3.952, 264.86; 20. Lex Joon, 5.057, 215.58; 21. Jacob Opatmy, 5.196, 123.77.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.831, 335.07 vs. 16. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Charger, 5.478, 133.25; 2. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.889, 327.59 vs. 15. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Supra, 5.017, 232.23; 3. J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.906, 333.00 vs. 14. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.996, 243.77; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.938, 329.42 vs. 13. Alex Laughlin, Charger, 4.069, 298.21; 5. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.939, 326.71 vs. 12. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.045, 281.95; 6. Ron Capps, Supra, 3.941, 328.30 vs. 11. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.044, 311.56; 7. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.983, 321.42 vs. 10. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.017, 299.26; 8. John Force, Camaro, 3.988, 322.81 vs. 9. Mike McIntire, Toyota Camry, 3.994, 318.09. 

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Justin Schriefer, 5.554, 136.12; 18. Chris King, 5.629, 135.41. 

Pro Stock _ 1. Dallas Glenn, Chevy Camaro, 6.510, 210.70 vs. 16. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.578, 210.14; 2. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.515, 210.11 vs. 15. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.574, 208.97; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.519, 210.21 vs. 14. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.558, 210.24; 4. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.519, 209.52 vs. 13. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.553, 209.46; 5. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.524, 211.03 vs. 12. Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 6.550, 209.20; 6. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.525, 210.18 vs. 11. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.542, 208.23; 7. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.529, 210.31 vs. 10. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.537, 209.36; 8. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.531, 210.90 vs. 9. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.533, 210.50. 

Did Not Qualify _ 17. David Cuadra, 6.578, 209.39; 18. Fernando Cuadra, 6.581, 209.23; 19. Alan Prusiensky, 6.661, 206.64; 20. Robert River, 7.033, 194.97. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.672, 200.32 vs. 16. Ron Tornow, Victory, 6.928, 195.22; 2. Chip Ellis, EBR, 6.756, 200.68 vs. 15. Chris Bostick, EBR, 6.915, 194.63; 3. Hector Arana Jr., EBR, 6.759, 201.85 vs. 14. John Hall, Buell, 6.900, 195.39; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.770, 198.52 vs. 13. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 6.888, 195.96; 5. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.774, 198.20 vs. 12. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.863, 196.42; 6. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.781, 198.44 vs. 11. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.858, 196.07; 7. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.785, 199.29 vs. 10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.834, 196.59; 8. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.800, 201.43 vs. 9. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.827, 197.10. 

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Peggy Llewellyn, 6.959, 190.38; 18. Wesley Wells, 8.078, 179.21.

Final specialty race results Saturday from the 23rd annual Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway:

#2Fast2Tasty Top Fuel Challenge _ Justin Ashley, 3.728-seconds, 331.12 mph def. Austin Prock, 3.742- seconds, 325.37 mph. 

#2Fast2Tasty Funny Car Challenge _ Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 3.941, 328.30 def. Terry Haddock, Ford Mustang, Broke. 

#2Fast2Tasty Pro Stock Motorcycle Challenge _ Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.672, 200.32 def. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.785, 199.29. 

NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout _ Camrie Caruso, Chevy Camaro, 6.524, 211.03 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.525, 210.18.

Final round-by-round results from the 23rd annual Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway, the sixth of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:


ROUND ONE _ Justin Ashley, 3.746, 329.99 def. Antron Brown, 3.736, 327.27; Austin Prock, 3.737, 327.43 def. Brittany Force, 3.765, 334.82; 

FINAL _ Ashley, 3.728, 331.12 def. Prock, 3.742, 325.37. 


ROUND ONE _ Terry Haddock, Ford Mustang, 4.044, 311.56 def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.565, 184.40; Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 4.127, 259.36 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.996, 243.77; 

FINAL _ Capps, 3.941, 328.30 def. Haddock, Broke. 


ROUND ONE _ Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.807, 199.17 def. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.832, 197.25; Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.677, 200.77 def. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 12.222, 62.92; 

FINAL _ Herrera, 6.672, 200.32 def. Van Sant, 6.785, 199.29. 


ROUND ONE _ Camrie Caruso, Chevy Camaro, 6.535, 210.83 def. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 23.199, 30.57; Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.532, 210.50 def. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.559, 210.50; Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.519, 209.52 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.531, 210.90; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.554, 210.01 def. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, Foul/Red Light; 

SEMIFINALS _ Stanfield, 6.527, 209.88 def. Enders, 6.574, 208.62; Caruso, 6.540, 211.20 def. Coughlin Jr., 6.964, 146.29; 

FINAL _ Caruso, 6.524, 211.03 def. Stanfield, 6.525, 210.18. 

Point standings (top-10) for professional categories following the 13th annual Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.:

Top Fuel _1. Steve Torrence, 404; 2. Justin Ashley, 369; 3. Leah Pruett, 351; 4. Austin Prock, 349; 5. Brittany Force, 348; 6. (tie) Antron Brown, 307; Mike Salinas, 307; 8. Shawn Langdon, 262; 9. Josh Hart, 250; 10. Doug Kalitta, 234.

Funny Car _ 1. Matt Hagan, 433; 2. Alexis DeJoria, 375; 3. Robert Hight, 364; 4. Ron Capps, 361; 5. Chad Green, 304; 6. Bob Tasca III, 300; 7. Tim Wilkerson, 265; 8. John Force, 260; 9. Cruz Pedregon, 247; 10. Blake Alexander, 205.

Pro Stock _ 1. Dallas Glenn, 460; 2. Matt Hartford, 379; 3. Troy Coughlin Jr., 341; 4. Deric Kramer, 306; 5. Camrie Caruso, 296; 6. Aaron Stanfield, 285; 7. Greg Anderson, 258; 8. Kyle Koretsky, 255; 9. Bo Butner, 248; 10. Cristian Cuadra, 238.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Gaige Herrera, 255; 2. Matt Smith, 153; 3. Eddie Krawiec, 135; 4. Angie Smith, 126; 5. Steve Johnson, 122; 6. Chase Van Sant, 117; 7. Joey Gladstone, 107; 8. Jianna Evaristo, 106; 9. Hector Arana Jr., 87; 10. Ryan Oehler, 85.

Pro Modified _ 1. Justin Bond, 234; 2. J.R. Gray, 196; 3. Kris Thorne, 123; 4. Jerico Balduf, 98; 5. Doug Winters, 90; 6. Rickie Smith, 78; 7. Khalid alBalooshi, 77; 8 (tie) Dwayne Wolfe, 76, and Jason Lee, 76; 10. (tie) Billy Banaka, 75; Mike Castellana, 75.


March 9-12 _ 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway: Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock), Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Justin Bond (Pro Modified).

March 24-26 _ 38th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, Ariz.: Justin Ashley (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Camrie Caruso (Pro Stock). Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance March 30-April 2 _ 63rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com, Pomona Raceway, Pomona, Calif.: Justin Ashley (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock).

April 14-16 _ 23rd annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock).

April 28-30 _ 13th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, zMAX Dragway, Concord, N.C.: Austin Prock (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Deric Kramer (Pro Stock), Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Justin Bond (Pro Modified).

May 19-21 _ 23rd annual Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance, Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill.

June 2-4 _ 10th annual NHRA New England Nationals, New England Dragway, Epping, N.H.

June 9-11 _ 22nd annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tenn.

June 22-25 _ 17th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk, Ohio

July 14-16 _ 43rd annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals, Bandimere Speedway, Morrison, Colo.

July 21-23 _ 34th annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, Pacific Raceways, Kent, Wash.

July 28-30 _ 35th annual DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway

Aug. 11-13 _ 34th annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor, Heartland Motorsports Park, Topeka, Kan.

Aug. 17-20 _ 41st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway

Aug. 30-Sept. 4 _ 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals, Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, Ind. The event also will include the Pep Boys NHRA Funny Car All-Star Callout.


Sept. 14-17 _ 38th annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals, Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa.

Sept. 22-24 _ 15th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals, zMAX Dragway, Concord, N.C.

Sept. 29-Oct. 1 _ 12th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals, World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison, Ill.

Oct. 12-15 _ 38th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals, Texas Motorplex, Ennis

Oct. 26-29 _ 23rd annual NHRA Nevada Nationals, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Nov. 9-12 _ 58th annual NHRA Finals, Pomona Raceway, Pomona, Calif.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 21 2023
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