WOODBURN, OR 7/30/03 If anyone is wondering why Pro Stock was voted the most exciting class to watch in 2003 in an online poll on NHRA.com, all you had to do was check out qualifying at the last few races on the NHRA POWERade Series tour. Racers...
WOODBURN, OR 7/30/03 If anyone is wondering why Pro Stock was voted the most exciting class to watch in 2003 in an online poll on NHRA.com, all you had to do was check out qualifying at the last few races on the NHRA POWERade Series tour. Racers seemingly on fire at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in Denver just a week ago were on the outside looking in when qualifying ended this past weekend at the Carquest Auto Parts Nationals in Seattle, and vice versa.
When it comes to that "vice-versa," add Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk's name to the list. After suffering through three straight DNQs his Summit Racing Pontiac team jumped back into the fray with a Number 8 qualifying position in Seattle.
"I hate to use cliches," Pawuk said, "but I really do think we're doing better because everyone's been working so hard. No matter what, there really is no substitute for working hard, sticking to it and doing whatever it takes to make things better. Our guys just never quit, regardless of how things are going, and that makes all the difference."
Pawuk, like everyone else, had difficulty with the tricky Seattle International Raceway surface, and made no bones about it. "The track is really rough," he said while working on his car during a test session in Woodburn, Oregon following the race. "Some of the guys were saying that there were actual speed bumps in the left lane, and I certainly won't argue the point."
For the sixth straight race in which he's qualified, Pawuk had superior Reaction Times against his opponents in both the first and second rounds of eliminations. "I can't explain how I'm doing that," admits Pawuk. "I've never been one of the quicker guys on the lights, but this year things just seem to be coming together for us when eliminations start. Now, if we can only put together good runs with those lights we might get somewhere like the winners circle!"
Stryker Joins Pawuk Team For Two Races
Mike Stryker, a former member of the Car Craft Magazine All-Star Drag Racing Team in the Pro Racing Crew Chief category, a spot he earned while working with six-time champion Warren Johnson, will join Pawuk Racing for a pair of outings during the West Coast Swing. Stryker helped the team with chassis set-up during a Pro Stock test session and match race appearance at Woodburn, Oregon following the Seattle race, and will remain with the team through this coming weekend's outing in Sonoma, California. "Mike has a lot of experience," said Pawuk, "and he not only did a god job with Warren, but also played a big role in Bob Panella's successes in Pro Stock Truck. He's probably not going to join the team on a full time basis, but we do think his experience can prove very valuable. Marcus (Bowen) wanted to bounce some ideas off someone with a lot of experience, and Mike's that guy. "He already gave us some good tips here in Woodburn, and we're looking forward to his input in Sonoma."
Pawuk & Fletcher Win Woodburn Bracket Race
Part of the Pro Stock Showdown at Woodburn included a bracket race, and while "The Cowboy" hasn't raced in that kind of competition in more than a decade, Summit Super Stock and Stock standout Dan Fletcher is a regular in that arena.
"Dan came over and asked if he could borrow our Pontiac van, the one we use to tow the race car and drive back and forth to the hotels when we're on the road," Pawuk said. "The next thing we know, there he is out there dialing it in at something like 19 seconds, and running it in the brackets.
"We know Dan's a 'killer' driver and since the van's lettered up with the team logo and Summit's name we figured it'd all work out, and it did. Four rounds later, Fletch won the deal, but we're gonna have to think about this if he wants to do it again, 'cause he kept all the money and we didn't even get a few gallons of gas for the van!"