Topeka: Mark Pawuk final summary

"The Cowboy" Rides In Kansas! Pawuk Breaks Drought In Qualifying For Topeka Race TOPEKA, KS 5/28/06 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk ended a three-race drought by qualifying for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals in his borrowed Chevy Cobalt, which this weekend...

"The Cowboy" Rides In Kansas!
Pawuk Breaks Drought In Qualifying For Topeka Race

TOPEKA, KS 5/28/06 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk ended a three-race drought by qualifying for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals in his borrowed Chevy Cobalt, which this weekend carried the colors of Sutherlands Lumber & Home Improvement Centers and Dutch Boy Paints.

"This is one of those situations where we're both pleased and disappointed," Pawuk said after a tough first round loss to V. Gaines. "Last year we didn't qualify for eliminations here in Topeka, so our friends from Sutherlands and Dutch Boy Paints didn't get to see us run on Sunday. At least we somewhat made up for that by being part of the show today, but our goal is winning, not just competing.

"I guess you could say my new favorite number is 15," Pawuk added. "No matter what changes we made to the car, after every session we were 15th, but the other side of that coin is that 15th is a heck of a lot better than 17th!"

Pawuk left on his first round opponent with a superior Reaction Time of 0.057-seconds to Gaines's 0.092-second effort, but in terms of elapsed time the Colorado driver had the edge with a 6.828-second run to Pawuk's slightly slower 6.883. "With a little more power we might have won that one," he said, "but overall, I'm not complaining."

Pawuk, who continues to drive fellow Ohio racer Ron Krisher's back-up Chevy Cobalt while he awaits his own new GTO, admits to being anxious about the new car.

"Ron's been terrific about this," Pawuk said, "but when you get right down to it, this car was designed for him, not me. There are just a few little things that I'm not used to, so getting our new Pontiac from Jerry Haas is critically important for the balance of the season. I'd like to say we'll have it in a few weeks, but I never like to count on things like that. When Jerry calls and tells us to come to St. Louis and pick up the car I'll get excited, but until then we'll keep using Ron's Cobalt, and we'll do the best we can to produce winning results."

Pawuk participated in an Open House for Sutherlands Lumber & Home Improvement Centers on Thursday, and then entertained Sutherlands and Dutch Boy customers during the weekend. "We had a lot of fun doing that," said the Ohio businessman/racer. "We have been very fortunate in being backed by firms like Sutherlands and Dutch Boy Paints, and we hope to keep these relationships going in the future."

Pawuk's next outing will come at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois in two weeks, a track that has produced some of the sport's all-time best elapsed times.

"This next one is going to be tough," he said. "We're going to have to have more power and then, the right combination of chassis and clutch setup just to make the field. I think we're ready for that because we're taking away some good information from Topeka.

"Windy City, here we come!"

-mpr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Jerry Haas