Columbus: Mark Pawuk preview

Pawuk Gearing Up For Pontiac Nationals "Cowboy" Looking Towards 21st Anniversary In Pro Stock RICHFIELD, OH 5/16/05 After a disappointing outing at the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at ...

                     Pawuk Gearing Up For Pontiac Nationals

"Cowboy" Looking Towards 21st Anniversary In Pro Stock

RICHFIELD, OH 5/16/05 After a disappointing outing at the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway this past weekend, Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk is already looking towards this coming weekend's Pontiac Performance Nationals presented by Summit Racing at National Trail Raceway in Ohio.

"Even though the race dates have changed over the years, when qualifying begins on Friday afternoon it'll be my 21st 'birthday' in Pro Stock," Pawuk said from his office at Empaco Equipment Corporation. "I wish I could look back on the first 20 years of my professional drag racing career and see the kind of numbers that Bob Glidden and Warren Johnson have put up, but even though I've never come close to their Hall of Fame-type careers, I've never been discouraged. I've always felt that I've given drag racing a 100% effort, and our team is going to continue to do that as long as we're racing.

"We're really excited about this week for a number of reasons. Without question it's the single busiest seven day period of the year for our team. The rig is on the way back from Atlanta so we can go through our engines quickly, and we definitely need to do that. We ran better in Atlanta than we have in the last few weeks, but it still wasn't good enough, so there's more work to be done in the engine shop.

"While that's going on we're also getting ready to host the employees of Ohio CAT and the CAT Rental Stores at National Trail Raceway this weekend. Through Empaco we've had a long term relationship with Ohio CAT and the CAT Rental Stores because we regularly use Caterpillar construction machinery in our work. Ohio CAT provides exceptional service and products, and we couldn't be happier about the fact that they've signed on as sponsors for this coming weekend's race. Ohio CAT and the CAT Rental Stores include 18 branches, mostly in Ohio, and about 950 employees, and with a rooting section like that I think we'll be looking pretty good."

In addition to hosting Ohio CAT at the track, Pawuk and his Pontiac Grand Am will also appear at the annual Dave Gil Pontiac Autograph Party on Columbus' East Side on Wednesday evening just a few hours after he participates in the event's press conference at the track. On Thursday Pawuk and a number of other drivers will make their annual visit to Columbus Children's Hospital, an outing "The Cowboy" is looking forward to.

"All it takes is one glance at the face of a youngster who's fighting his way through a major physical problem to put everything we do into perspective," said Pawuk. "The kids are amazingly responsive, and I think the other drivers share my feeling that we actually get as much out of our annual visit as do the youngsters."

Following the outing at Children's Hospital Pawuk will head back out to the track where he'll assist with the running of the Corporate Challenge, a race matching members of the aftermarket, sponsorship and media communities with fresh-off-the-showroom-floor 2005 Pontiacs in special drag race. "I get a kick out of working the Challenge races," admits Pawuk. "For a lot of the participants the Challenge is their first real drag race, and even though the cars aren't as fast as my Pro Stock Grand Am, they get at least a taste of how tough our sport really is, at any level."

From Friday through Sunday it'll be all business for Pawuk and his team.

"This is an important race for us," he admits. "We're determined to perform well in front of our supporters from Pontiac, Summit, Mr. Heater and Ohio CAT.

"Yeah, you could definitely say this is a high pressure weekend!"

-pr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Bob Glidden