Pawuk Concludes NHRA Season With Another Competitive Outing: '06 Is "Just Around The Corner!" POMONA, CA 11/7/05 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk ended his season on another high note after qualifying and making it to the second round of the NHRA POWERade...
Pawuk Concludes NHRA Season With Another Competitive Outing: '06 Is "Just Around The Corner!"
POMONA, CA 11/7/05 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk ended his season on another high note after qualifying and making it to the second round of the NHRA POWERade Southern California Auto Club Finals at Pomona Raceway just outside Los Angeles over the weekend.
Four competitive qualifying runs netted consistent elapsed times in the mid- to low 6.7 second range, prompting Pawuk to once again look forward to next season. "This new Pontiac GTO is probably the best race car I've ever had the pleasure of driving," said the man they call "Cowboy." "It handles exceptionally well and goes straight down the track every time -- unless the driver messes things up!
"Since we came out with this car at Indy, where we also started working with Ron Krisher on our engine program, I think we've done pretty well. We're not where we want to be, but these last five races have been a tremendous improvement over where we were before the U.S. Nationals, which was nowhere. Frankly, we were all embarrassed by our lack of performances earlier in the year, but this new Jerry Bickel-built car has erased all of that, and we're looking ahead to next season when we hope to once again be a Top 10 performer."
Although he'll seldom mention his own driving skills, Pawuk has been doing exceptionally well behind the wheel since debuting the new car, and the Finals were no exception. He had an almost unheard of perfect Reaction Time of 0.000 seconds in his first round match-up with Mike Thomas, easily erasing his opponent's slightly better elapsed time of 6.744 seconds with a competitive 6.770 second elapsed time of his own. In the second round Pawuk had another great light, coming up with a 0.019 second Reaction Time to Jason Line's 0.039, but when Pawuk's GTO got slightly out of the groove and began to spin the tires, he wisely shut off, handing Summit Racing teammate Line an easy victory in 6.750 seconds.
"That would have been a good race," Pawuk admitted, "but we always try to operate on the theory that there's always another run, but we only have one of these new GTOs right now! If it had been the final round I might have stayed with it, but in retrospect I know it was the right decision to shut it off and save the car."
Pawuk's Richfield, Ohio-based team is planning an extensive testing program during the abbreviated off-season. Just as importantly, work will continue on the sponsorship front as Pawuk seeks new backing for his operation. "I think we've got a lot to offer," he said prior to boarding a flight back to Empaco Equipment Corporation in Richfield. "With the right corporate partner we're capable of not only winning races, but helping 'win' the battle for better brand recognition and increased product sales. Believe me, we're a long way from even thinking about giving up. We're already looking forward to the Winternationals back out here in Pomona on the weekend of February 9-12. We'll see you all there!"