MADISON, IL 6/30/02 As eliminations began at today's NHRA POWERade Series national event at Gateway International Raceway just outside St. Louis, and in view of the famous Arch, Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk was signing autographs at his rig instead of ...
MADISON, IL 6/30/02 As eliminations began at today's NHRA POWERade Series national event at Gateway International Raceway just outside St. Louis, and in view of the famous Arch, Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk was signing autographs at his rig instead of strapping himself into the seat of his Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock. It was the second time this season that the driver of the Summit Racing machine failed to qualify.
"We're deeply disappointed," Pawuk readily admitted. "We'd been running better lately, and despite losing in the first round at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing two weeks ago in Columbus, we were encouraged by where we thought we were headed. Obviously, we've got a lot more work to do."
Pawuk had a busy time during the Pontiac Excitement Nationals, as he was a part of numerous off-track activities during race week that included a number of radio and television interviews and personal appearances.
He had a somewhat less hectic schedule in St. Louis, but still managed to participate in several pre-race interview sessions with the local media.
"We used the time in between Columbus and this race to continue working on our engine development program, and it seemed to be paying off. Our testing had shown promise, but after we lost our first qualifying run when we spun the tires and had to lift we were never able to catch up. The heat and humidity definitely had a negative impact on what we were doing, but everyone else faced the same conditions, so I'm no offering any excuses.
"I continue to be amazed at how this season is going for everyone in Pro Stock. Guys win one week, and can't qualify the next. Then someone jumps up out of the pack, is a top qualifier, goes a round or two in eliminations, and then falls right back to the bottom. It's hard to explain other than to say that maybe there's some kind of 'Consistency Gremlin' running around affecting everyone in the class.
"That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!"
Next: High altitude testing in preparation for the Mile-High Nationals in Denver, July 19-21.