Pomona III: Pawuk Racing race report

NHRA AAA Finals, Pomona, California Nov. 8-11 Cowboy's Last Ride A Rough One! RICHFIELD, OH 11/15 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk has had a few days to begin winding down from his best season ever on the NHRA Winston Series circuit, yet he's already...

NHRA AAA Finals, Pomona, California Nov. 8-11
Cowboy's Last Ride A Rough One!

RICHFIELD, OH 11/15 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk has had a few days to begin winding down from his best season ever on the NHRA Winston Series circuit, yet he's already looking forward to next year.

"We had one of those up and down seasons," he said from his office at Empaco Equipment Corporation. "One race we'd be flying, and then, at the next, we couldn't make a good run no matter what we tried. More than anything else, what hurt us coming down the stretch was a lack of consistency.

"Our last few outings are graphic examples of that. We DNQ'd at three straight races, and then won in Las Vegas. I can't even begin to figure out how stuff like that happens, but I know one thing for sure. Next year we're gonna try and get into a groove and stay there!"

Pawuk's outing with his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am at the AAA Finals was at least moderately satisfying, although it didn't produce the results he'd been hoping for.

"We were only 12 points out of fifth place coming in to Pomona," he recalled. "If we could out-qualify Mark Osborne I thought we had a real shot at fifth place, and after he didn't make the show I thought we might have a chance.

"But, we struggled in qualifying too, and I'm just glad we hung in there and made it, even if we were on the bump.

"I look at it this way. There's nothing you can do if you don't qualify, so at least we accomplished that. I knew that Jim (Yates) would be tough in the first round, but I never thought he'd run Low E.T. and Top Speed of the Meet against us!"

Pawuk did his job in that first round of eliminations, leaving on Yates by a margin of .018 seconds, but when Yates's Pontiac ripped off a 6.838/201.01 he got a deserved victory. That, plus a round win by another driver relegated Pawuk to sixth place in the final standings.

"I won't deny it, I'm disappointed by our place in the standings," he said, "but at the same time, when I look back on where we were just about a month ago, I'm also kind of relieved. We were really close to dropping completely out of the Top 10, but our guys tightened their belts, put in a lot of long hours, and came up with enough horsepower for us to not only qualify at those last two races, but win one of 'em, too.

"Our goal now is to come up with more power in the next 60 days, try to get in some testing in good weather conditions, and start the year out with a good performance at the K&N Filters Winternationals on the second weekend in February."

Results:

Qualifying:
Session #1 - - 6.913/199.70 #7 (6.950 Bump)
Session #2 - - 6.904/199.92 #8 (6.909 Bump)
Session #3- - 6.879/200.35 #12 (6.901 Bump)
Session #4 - - 6.879/200.50 #16 (6.879 Bump)

Eliminations:
Round #1 .462 R.T. 6.890/200.23 lost to Jim Yates .480 R.T. 6.838/201.01

Notable:
Pawuk finished sixth in the NHRA Top 10

Next: Thanksgiving!

-SR-

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