Brainerd: Pawuk Racing recap

Pawuk Qualifying Streak Ends At 43 RICHFIELD ON 8/20/01 After 43 straight NHRA Winston series events in which Sunday participation was part of the Summit Racing team program, Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk spent eliminations day of The Colonel's ...

Pawuk Qualifying Streak Ends At 43

RICHFIELD ON 8/20/01 After 43 straight NHRA Winston series events in which Sunday participation was part of the Summit Racing team program, Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk spent eliminations day of The Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals traveling back to his home in Ohio.

"We are definitely bummed out about this," Pawuk readily admitted from his office at Empaco Equipment Corporation on Monday morning. "Knowing that we had the third longest qualifying streak in Pro Stock was pretty special, but that's not important now. What is important is finding our problem, and solving it.

"We have checked and changed virtually everything on the car, but we've obviously missed something. You name it, we've changed it, from carburetors to fuel pumps to ignition systems to everything else we could think of.

"Last week we put one of our motors on another racer's dyno just to see if we were getting false readings from ours, and the report we got back was that our motor was making more horsepower than his was, and this is a very competitive car we're talking about.

"In the third session at Brainerd the engine actually died for an instant when I let the clutch out. Then it picked up and ran hard, and still got a 7.008, so that told us that if it had made a full run, we would have made the show. I'm not making an excuse. That's not the point. The point is, what caused the engine to quit like that?

"Rob (Downing) and I think this car has gone steadily backwards since the Gatornationals, which doesn't make sense, because we've had some good results. Even when we set the E.T. record at Englishtown Rob and I felt the car could have done better."

On Tuesday the Summit Racing Pontiac team will travel to Indianapolis Raceway Park for at least two days of pre-U.S. Nationals testing. "We've mapped out a plan for Indy," Pawuk says. "The first thing we're going to do is cycle our two best motors through the Jerry Bickel-built Grand Am we've been running. We'll then try to determine if one of the engines is the problem. Then we're going to cycle the same two engines through the Don Ness-built Grand Am, and see if there's a difference.

"Right now Rob and I are leaning heavily towards running the Ness car at Indy because it's run pretty good in limited testing. If we can get some good runs in that car this week, that's the way we're going to go. Then we'll strip the other car down to the bare chassis, and probably start by completely rewiring it. That's the only thing we haven't done yet."

Notable: Pawuk is now tied for fifth in the NHRA Winston Top 10 standings but, by missing the cut in Brainerd, he dropped out of the Top 8 in qualifying points for the Holley Dominator Duel.

Next: Testing at IRP begins Tuesday, followed by the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis beginning Friday, August 31st. On Thursday evening, August 30th Pawuk, Rob Downing, engine builder Scott Pastircak and Summit Racing Equipment will be among the Finalists anxious to hear if they've been named to the Car Craft Magazine All-Star Drag Racing Team. The Team will be announced during an awards banquet at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

-PR-

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