Columbus: Mark Pawuk preview

Busy Week Ahead For Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk: Pontiac Performance Nationals Culminates 24/7 Schedule RICHFIELD, OH 5/15/06 Every race week is filled with obligations for professional competitors, but few outings on the NHRA POWERade Series circuit...

Busy Week Ahead For Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk:
Pontiac Performance Nationals Culminates 24/7 Schedule

RICHFIELD, OH 5/15/06 Every race week is filled with obligations for professional competitors, but few outings on the NHRA POWERade Series circuit can match the schedule Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk will face for the Pontiac Performance Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment this coming weekend. The event is slated for National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio, just a few miles east of Columbus off Interstate 70, but for Pawuk things will begin well before qualifying starts on Friday afternoon.

On Tuesday Pawuk's team will head for Norwalk Raceway Park in Norwalk to break in several sets of new Goodyear Eagle racing slicks for not only his own car, but for fellow Ohio racer Ron Krisher's car as well. If there's sufficient time the team will make some full quarter mile runs for testing purposes, but this outing is primarily to ensure that the new tires are properly broken in for all-out racing.

The following day Pawuk will appear for the pre-race press conference that will be held in tower at National Trail Raceway at noon. After media interviews and some pointed bantering with his competitors, "something I always look forward to," Pawuk says, he'll head back into Columbus to Dave Gill Pontiac GMC on the city's east side for the dealership's increasingly popular annual Autograph Party from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. Pawuk's colorful Chevy Cobalt, which is still on loan from Ron Krisher Racing as he awaits the delivery of his new Jerry Haas-built Pontiac GTO, will be among a dozen or more of the top running General Motors products currently competing on the POWERade Series circuit that will be on display.

On Thursday Pawuk will be back in the State Capital for another visit to Columbus Children's Hospital where he and his racing buddies will spend several hours visiting with the youngsters. "This is something I really look forward to doing," Pawuk admits. "Seeing the faces of those kids really brings everything into focus for me, because no matter how tough I think things might be for me, it's nothing compared to what some of those youngsters are facing. I also know, from talking to the other GM racers who make this visit, that this isn't about publicity. It's about those kids, and that's the way it should be."

With his emotional batteries re-charged Pawuk will then head back out to the track where he'll assist with the running the annual Corporate Challenge at 6:00 PM in which supporting sponsors compete against one another on the quarter mile. "That's really a fun race," Pawuk says. "Some of the participants have been working in drag racing for years, but despite what they know about the sport they haven't done much racing themselves, so to see them struggling to stage properly is an eye-opener. It's good experience for them, too, because I think they come away from the race with a grater appreciation of what we go through every time we go to the starting line."

On Friday the race itself begins, which Pawuk admits "is actually a little easier to deal with than everything else, although this particular event is very special for our team. Not only have we been involved with General Motors for many years, we've also enjoyed 14 uninterrupted years of support from Summit Racing Equipment, so it's important for us to perform well here.

"In addition to that we're once again going to be hosting the employees and customers of Ohio CAT and the CAT Rental Stores, which we're definitely looking forward to. We found out last year that those folks are true hard core fans, so we'd like nothing better than to deliver them a good result. I'm kind of hoping to duplicate what we did in 2000, when we won the race. If we can do that, believe me, I won't even be thinking about all the hours we put in earlier in the week!"

Next: Pontiac Performance Nationals, National Trail Raceway, Hebron (Columbus), Ohio May 19-21.

-mpr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Ron Krisher