Sonoma: Mark Pawuk final summary

Pawuk Pleased By Pontiac's Performance: The "Cowboy's" 400th "Ride" In Pro Stock A Good One SONOMA, CA 7/30/06 "I had no clue it had been this many races," admitted Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk after being informed that his appearance at the NHRA Fram...

Pawuk Pleased By Pontiac's Performance:

The "Cowboy's" 400th "Ride" In Pro Stock A Good One

SONOMA, CA 7/30/06 "I had no clue it had been this many races," admitted Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk after being informed that his appearance at the NHRA Fram Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway was his 400th career start in professional competition. "I never really bothered counting 'em all up, but I have been at it for 21 years, so I'll just leave the details to the statisticians."

In just the third outing for Pawuk's new Jerry Haas-built Pontiac GTO the car delivered its best performances to date, thanks in no small measure to the Steve Schmidt powerplant under the hood. A season's best elapsed time of 6.693 seconds qualified the Ohio driver in the 15th position on the list, where he was tied to the thousandth of a second by Mike Thomas, with Pawuk getting the nod for the higher position based on his better speed of 206.73 mph.

"The conditions were exceptionally good here," Pawuk said. "Even thought we ran pretty hard, so did everyone else, so if we hope to improve on this at our next race we're going to have to do a better job of making trackside adjustments between qualifying runs.

"I thought our best shot was in the third session on Saturday morning, but we actually slowed down. When we got the car back to the pits we discovered a throttle linkage problem that wasn't enabling us to get the pedal all the way to the floor, but we were able to fix it pretty quickly. That was obviously important, because we ran our best elapsed time in the fourth and last session, and had we not discovered the problem we would have missed the cut."

Along with crew chief Marcus Bowen and test driver/lead mechanic Craig Hankinson, Pawuk's team once again had good hands-on help from Pat Donaghue, a Californian who's become a regular in the "Cowboy's" camp in the last couple of years.

"I get kind of tired of those press releases where the driver talks about how hard everyone worked, so I won't do that," Pawuk said. "I'll just word things another way. It's when our guys don't work together like a well-oiled machine that we stumble, but luckily for us, that wasn't the case, and Pat's being here helps just that much more."

Pawuk lost a close first round race to Summit Racing teammate Jason Line, one that he really wanted to win. "Jason's very tough on the starting line," he said, "but we were right there with him when he left. He won by a couple of hundredths of a second, but in Pro Stock that's the equivalent of an hour or two! As they say, Wait 'til next time!"

Pawuk's team will return to their Richfield, Ohio shop before heading to their next race in Brainerd, Minnesota on August 10th, and if time permits, they'll try to get in some testing before then.

"The car's completely finished now," Pawuk said. "The only thing left to do are some minor adjustments, and I think one or two of them might help my Reaction Times. If we can get a handle on that I think we'll be lookin' good for the balance of the season."

Next: NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals, Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, MN August 10-13

-ja

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Mark Pawuk , Jason Line , Steve Schmidt , Jerry Haas , Craig Hankinson