"Good News-Bad News" From Sonoma SONOMA, CA 8/6/01 For Mark Pawuk's Summit Racing Pro Stock team the NHRA Fram Autolite Nationals was definitely a "good news, bad news" kind of outing. Although they made the show, and raced into the semifinal ...
"Good News-Bad News" From Sonoma
SONOMA, CA 8/6/01 For Mark Pawuk's Summit Racing Pro Stock team the NHRA Fram Autolite Nationals was definitely a "good news, bad news" kind of outing. Although they made the show, and raced into the semifinal round, a mechanical problem negated their chances against eventual race winner Tom Martino, and that concerns the team.
"When I rolled up to stage against Tommy," Pawuk recalled on Monday morning, "I felt the engine miss just a bit, but everything seemed okay when I put the throttle down on the chip (rev limiter). But, when I let the clutch out the engine just died completely. There was no warning at all, it just quit." Mechanics Paul Lavoie and Marcus Bowen went over the Pontiac Grand Am from the front bumper to the ends of the wheelie bars, and couldn't spot the trouble.
"We checked the ignition system, and all of the wiring," said crew chief Rob Downing. "We couldn't find a thing wrong, but obviously, there is something wrong, so when we get the car back to our shop in Ohio we'll strip it bare and see what we can find. We weren't able to check everything as thoroughly as I would have liked at the track, but we did want to see if it was anything obvious, and as I said, we didn't see anything wrong."
Although Pawuk left first on his opponents in the first two rounds, the engine failure in the semis left him with an uncharacteristically slow .503 second Reaction Time, but that was meaningless after Martino jumped out with a fine .432 R.T. and strong 9.955 second elapsed time. "There was no way we were going to win that one," Pawuk admitted. "Tommy did a good job out there, and deserved the win.
"I'm just happy that we went some rounds, and that another Pontiac driver won the race. We're also pretty pleased with the way the car improved during qualifying despite the heat, and how well we ran in the first two rounds. We still think we're a little down on power, but this was definitely an improvement.
"Now we're going to get this car back to Ohio and try and figure out what happened in that semifinal round race."
Session #1 - - 7.077/195.65 #2 (9.499 Bump)
Session #2 - - 6.926/198.52 #9 (7.007 Bump)
Session #3 - - 6.918/199.17 #10 (6.938 Bump)
Session #4 - - 6.954/197.91 #10 (6.938 Bump)
Round #1 .475 R.T. 6.931/198.90 defeated Ron Krisher .492 R.T. 6.929/199.37
Round #2 .476 R.T. 6.971/197.83 defeated D. Alderman .483 R.T. 16.335/101.27
Round #3 .503 R.T. Broke, lost to Tom Martino .432 R.T. 6.955/197.88
Notable: Pawuk remains fourth in the NHRA Winston Top 10 standings, but has dropped into a seventh place tie in qualifying points for the 2002 Holley Dominator Duel.
Next: Additional testing and evaluation of the Don Ness-built Grand Am is slated for the next week or so, and then the Summit Racing team heads for The Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, 8/17-8/19 August 30th is the All-Star Drag Racing Team awards Banquet in Indianapolis, with Pawuk, crew chief Rob Downing, engine builder Scott Pastircak and Summit Racing Equipment all Finalists in their respective categories. The day after the Banquet the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals begins at IRP.