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Mark Pawuk Earns Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown No. 1 Spot at NHRA Midwest Nationals

For the first time this season, Mark Pawuk and his Empaco Equipment Dodge Drag Pak raced to the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Pawuk picked up his fourth career No. 1 qualifying spot off the efforts of his Friday qualifying pass of 7.712 seconds at 179.40 mph. On Saturday, Pawuk and his Drag Pak struggled to get down the race track for passes at 14.862 and 14.708 seconds as they looked for consistency heading into eliminations.

“We have a really fast hot rod. We just have to make consistent runs and unfortunately, we haven’t this weekend. We have been moving forward as the weekend has gone on. I think I would have had a good run in that last qualifying session if we wouldn’t have done that big wheel stand and I had to shut it off,” Pawuk said. “We are making good progress, and I am very happy with the performance of the car. Anything can happen on race day. I have to thank my sponsors Ohio CAT, Summit Racing, Red Line Oil, E3 and the whole group of them. They are with us at every race and of course, I want to thank Flexjet for being the series sponsor.”

With the No. 1 spot comes a first-round matchup against Conner Statler and his Janac Brothers Racing COPO Camaro for Pawuk, who is looking for his first win of the 2023 season.

Saturday brought around some serious improvement for the Flexjet Factory Showdown class. Stephen Bell and his Stanfield Racing Engines Chevy COPO, the Norwalk, Ohio winners, jumped from No. 13 to No. 2 improving on his 8.156-second pass to a 7.719 run in the second session. Point leader Aaron Stanfield started the day No. 9 then made a move to No. 7 with a 7.781 before laying down a 7.726-second pass to move into No. 3.

“We changed motors and it took a couple runs for that one to wake up. It’s definitely awake now. That was a good run. We were expecting it to run 7.74 or 7.75, so 7.72 surprised us in a good way. That is what we were looking for, what we needed,” Stanfield said. “That run sets us up really well for eliminations and we are trying to hold on to this point lead for these last three races. There are a lot of tough cars out here and we just want to keep the pressure on them. I feel really good about how we ran that last session.”

Stanfield will also be racing with a bullseye on his Camaro as the Flexjet bounty holder following his win at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals two weeks ago at Maple Grove Raceway.

Competition for the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown class in the NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway continues with eliminations Saturday at 7:15 p.m. and continue Sunday with round two at 1:00 p.m. Winners are slated to be crowned Sunday at 4:20 p.m.

This story was originally published on September 30, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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