Mark Pawuk Earns Provisional Factory Stock Showdown Pole at St. Louis
MADISON, Ill. (October 2, 2020) – The Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak duo of Mark Pawuk and Leah Pruett kicked-off qualifying for Don Schumacher Racing at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Pennzoil. While the nitro-burning cars in DSR’s stable won’t take to the Madison, Ill. dragstrip until Saturday, DSR’s Factory Stock Showdown competitors had a head start on the weekend and were able to take advantage of Friday evening’s prime racing conditions.
Pawuk unloaded with a monster run of 7.814 seconds at 175.48 mph in Friday’s sole FSS qualifying session to reset both ends of the World Wide Technology Raceway track record. The run also earned the former Pro Stock racer the provisional No. 1 spot heading into day two of qualifying.
Pawuk, who currently sits second in the Factory Stock Showdown point standings thanks in part to a runner-up finish from the No. 2 spot at the U.S. Nationals last month, is a three-time finalist in the category. With one more round of qualifying scheduled for Saturday, he is hopeful his No. 1 position will hold strong as he seeks to breakthrough for his first Factory Stock victory on Sunday. Thankfully for Pawuk, he has a history of success at the Illinois venue which sits in the shadows of St. Louis’ famed Gateway Arch. It was at World Wide Technology Raceway in 2018 where he clocked the second official sub-eight second Factory Stock run to reset the class E.T. record at the time, and earn his first Factory Stock No. 1 qualifier. In 2019, St. Louis was where he once again reset his career-best numbers which held strong until Friday night’s run.
“What a great start for the Empaco Equipment/Ohio CAT/Mr. Heater Dodge Drag Pak," said Pawuk, a two-time Factory Stock No. 1 qualifier. "That run was incredible, and I’m proud we were able to take the No. 1 spot tonight. Whether that will hold tomorrow, I’m not sure. The weather will be a little bit warmer, and I think we’re going to run a little earlier. We had perfect conditions today, and our Mopar machines ran great in this cool air. I’d love to stay in that No. 1 spot come Sunday. Would love to go some more rounds again and accumulate more points. It’s been since 2001 since I won an NHRA national event, and I’d love nothing more than to get my first win in my Empaco Equipment Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at our sponsors’ event.
“Mopar recently debuted the new Drag Pak, and it sold out in 18 minutes,” added Pawuk. “I’m really looking forward to getting into the new 2021 car, but I tell you what, I’ll take my old baby right now because she’s running awfully good!”
Round two of Factory Stock Showdown qualifying is scheduled for 2:55 p.m. CT on Saturday, October 3rd.