Memphis: Mark Pawuk final summary

More Frustration For Pawuk: Fifth ...

More Frustration For Pawuk: Fifth #17 Finish Of The Season

MEMPHIS, TN 8/20/06 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk's "Season of Frustration" continued at the Mid-South Nationals when his Pontiac GTO once again ended up 17th -- one spot short of making the 16-car eliminations field. It was the fifth time this season (mistakenly reported as the fifth time after the Lucas Oil Nationals last weekend) that Pawuk has ended Saturday on the outside looking in.

"If I were a different kind of guy," he said as his team prepared to load up the car for the haul back to their Ohio shop, "I might be whining about the run we lost on Friday night due to the rain, but heck, everyone lost that run, so we were all in the same boat. "Ya know, when you miss the show by a ton, and in Pro Stock a 'ton' could be defined as maybe a hundredth of a second or two, that's one thing, but when you miss it like we have a few times this year, by a thousandth or two, that really gets under your skin. You begin to question every decision you're making about the car, you're wondering if maybe one of the guys missed something between qualifying sessions, and you're even beginning to question your own ability as a driver. You know, stuff like, Maybe I should have held it in first gear for another 20 feet, things like that. If you let it, it'll drive you crazy.

"Every time I find myself getting a little down all I have to do is spend a few minutes with my wife, Bonnie, and the kids, Kyle and Kassandra, and everything comes into perspective. They know what racing's all about, but they have their own lives away from the track, which is a very good thing. No matter how down I might get, an hour or two at one of Kassandra's softball games, or watching Kyle run in a track meet somewhere, is all it takes to turn me completely around.

"Bonnie's the 'glue' that holds this whole circus together, and she's definitely got a better attitude than I do sometimes. I'm ready to slit my wrists, and all she says is something like, Hey, isn't Indy just a week or so away? and I'm ready to go." Pawuk's weekend wasn't a total loss, as he appeared in two online interviews, one for Rik Anthony's BackInThe Pits.com and the second on 1320TV.com where he was interviewed by Top Fuel standout Clay Millican.

In the five races in which Pawuk finished 17th a total difference of just 42 hundredths of a second (0.042) would have had him qualified. His biggest margin of "error" came last weekend at the Lucas Oil Nationals where he missed the cut by a slim 0.016. At the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston at the beginning of April he missed by a razor thin 0.002, but as he says, "Close doesn't count. This is drag racing, not horseshoes, grenades or nukes. You've got to be perfect each and every time out, and obviously, we haven't been more times than I care to think about.

"We have no intention of giving up. We may do some testing prior to the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis over Labor Day weekend if for no other reason than we're so darn close to being that proverbial 'contender.' All it's going to take is a bit of luck and maybe five more horsepower and we'll be right in the thick of things. "Don't give up on us, 'cause we're not giving up on drag racing!"

-credit: mpr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk