The 2023 Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown season begins to wind down with the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex, the second to last event on the schedule. The penultimate race of the season will be one of the highlight classes during the Stampede of Speed with the championship on the line.
Points leader Aaron Stanfield and his Stanfield Racing Engines Chevrolet COPO Camaro enter the weekend as the defending event champions, and it was their only event victory of the 2022 season where they finished third in the points.
“Last year getting the win at the Texas Fall Nationals was big for us to head into the offseason,” said Stanfield. “We didn’t have the season we were hoping for but when you win the last race of the year you have a good feeling going into the winter.”
Now with two wins in 2023, Stanfield has a 112-point lead on the rest of the COPOs, Ford Cobras and Dodge Drag Paks in the field. With only two events left, a strong showing at Texas Motorplex could give Stanfield all the momentum he needs to become a three-time world champion.
“I am not thinking about the championship right now,” said Stanfield. “We want to come to the Texas Motorplex and make good runs. The weather will be really good and the competition will be tough. I know a lot of people will be testing before the race. We just have to take it one round at a time and see where we wind up at the end of the day.”
Looking to slow Stanfield’s bid for a second championship is Stephen Bell and his Stanfield Racing COPO. Bell raced his way to victory at the Norwalk, Ohio event and has two runner-up finishes on the season, the first at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis Indiana and the second at the most recent event in in St. Louis, the Midwest Nationals.
“The fun part is Aaron and I are best friends. I gauge every season on a couple things, if I get a win and if we are competitive at most races,” said Bell. “We’ve had a good year this season. I have finished up in the points for a couple years and we are chasing that first championship. I am appreciative of Greg and Aaron Stanfield for giving a customer like me a car that can compete for the championship. This weekend – if it is in the cards – we can try and close the gap on Aaron.
“We will need some good fortune. Aaron is the class of the field and we have an outside chance, but regardless of the outcome we have had a great season. I love the mental challenge of leaving my normal world and competing in these Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown races,” added Bell.
Carrying the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Bounty on his back is Mark Pawuk and the Empaco Equipment Dodge Drag Pak. Pawuk had a dominating weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway picking up the No. 1 qualifying position, winning the bounty from Aaron Stanfield and picked up his first Factory Stock Showdown victory. Pawuk will carry the bounty until a competitor is able to defeat him in eliminations.
“It felt great to finally get an NHRA win in my Empaco Equipment Dodge Drag Pak and I would love to make it two in a row,” said the Pawuk Family Racing team owner/driver. “We’ve gone to several final rounds and had many late-round finishes on race day in the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown events, but it feels really good to have checked that box of first NHRA Factory Stock win in St. Louis. I just want to say a huge thank you to all of our tremendous partners from Empaco Equipment, Emil Pawuk and Associates, Inc. and Seabreeze North Corporation, Ohio CAT and its Ohio Cat The Rental Store division, Enerco Mr. Heater, Summit Racing Equipment, and Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels. I also want to acknowledge Red Line Oil and VP Racing Fuels, and our newest partners who joined our program this year, E3 Spark Plugs and Cometic Gaskets.”
Competition in the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown class begins with qualifying Friday at 3:30 and 6:15 p.m. Eliminations are slated to start Saturday with round one at noon, round two at 3:30 and round three at 6:00 p.m. They’ll continue Sunday with semifinals at 3 and finals at 4:15 p.m.