Ride 'em Cowboy! Pawuk Has Promising Performance To Open The Season RICHFIELD, OH 2/13/06 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk opened his 21st season of competition in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock category of drag racing with a stellar outing at the NHRA ...
Ride 'em Cowboy!
Pawuk Has Promising Performance To Open The Season
RICHFIELD, OH 2/13/06 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk opened his 21st season of competition in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock category of drag racing with a stellar outing at the NHRA Winternationals that netted a semifinal round finish and his first appearance in the POWERade Top 10 points standings in well over a year. Pawuk also ran the best speed ever for his GTO at 206.10 MPH, which came during qualifying on Saturday. The car's previous best was 206.04 MPH, which came during the Dallas race late last season.
"We were very pleased with the way things worked out," Pawuk said from his offices at Empaco Equipment Corporation the day after the event. "But, this in no way indicates that we're completely satisfied with where we stand. If we're going to compete for national event victories this season it's obvious that we still have a long way to go. Still, I'd be less than candid if I didn't admit we're all pretty excited. We only had one semifinal round appearance all of last season, and that was in our debut race with our new Jerry Bickel-built Pontiac GTO back at the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend, so to start out in the first race of the year matching the best we did last season, well, that's pretty cool."
Pawuk was particularly pleased with not only the car's performance, but the manner in which his team, headed by Crew Chief Marcus Bowen and mechanics Craig Hankinson, Robert Morrow and Jim Shaver, worked together cohesively, taking up where they left off last year.
"All through our abbreviated off-season," he said, "and through our pre-season testing and competition at the Pontiac Pro Stock Super Bowl in Las Vegas, the guys never missed a beat, and I believe that's one of the keys to winning. If you don't have the 'right' people working on your team, you're not going to win, period. Luckily for me, that's not a problem. Our whole team is dedicated to winning."
Pawuk was also quick to praise the reliable powerplant he was using from fellow Ohioan Ron Krisher Racing. "Ron's engines are good, and our two teams share information, which benefits both of us. I think we're going to turn some heads this year."
The team performed impressively during qualifying, improving dramatically in each of the first three sessions before ending up 10th with an elapsed time of 6.706 seconds. "Even though we improved on every run, we went backwards down the list," Pawuk said. "That's just a small indication of how competitive this class is. The other obvious thing is that unless we can start running consistent 6.60s, it's going to be tough to win. I know Ron Krisher's guys are already going through our race engines and are planning a few changes, so we hope to be even more competitive at the CSK Nationals in Phoenix in a couple of weeks."
Pawuk defeated Richie Stevens' Dodge in the first round on an impressive holeshot achieved via a superior Reaction time, and then Erica Enders' Chevrolet in the second before dropping a close one to Mike Edwards' GTO in the semifinals.
"I think we can review our outing at the Winternationals by saying we're pleased, but far from satisfied," said Pawuk. "We've got a little momentum from that first race, so now we've got to keep that going for another 22 races!"