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Mark Pawuk Grabs Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown No. 1 at NHRA Winternationals

Mark Pawuk started the NHRA Winternationals running to the top of the qualifying order and continued to put pressure on his Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown competitors. The NHRA Gatornationals winner ran 7.856 seconds at 178.87 mph in the opening session of qualifying Friday. Pawuk’s Empaco Dodge Drag Pak that is memorializing his longtime friend and NHRA Hall of Famer Don Schumacher held off the rest of the field through the second session. After Saturday’s qualifying session was rained out Pawuk earned his fifth No. 1 qualifier and will enter Sunday looking to secure his third national event win.

“I won the Gatornationals two weeks ago and I would love to win the Winternationals this weekend,” said Pawuk, from his pit after qualifying was cancelled. “Flexjet Factory Stock has never run in Pomona so getting the first win would be cool. We have a good hot rod but there are a lot of tough cars here this weekend. I am going to have to be on top of my game. We had a couple good runs yesterday and Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with us today. We’ll be ready for race day tomorrow.”
 
Pawuk will be racing back-to-back Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown title when eliminations get underway. Two weeks ago, Pawuk as the No. 3 qualifier raced to the winner’s circle at the NHRA Gatornationals. The two-time Factory Stock Showdown national event winner will be looking to hold onto the Flexjet Bounty throughout race day. The first driver to have a shot at taking the $1,000 prize will be Tony Scott Jr.
 
“I have a lot of pride in this Don Schumacher memorial car so I want to put on a good show tomorrow,” said Pawuk. “I want to thank all my sponsors especially Empaco, Ohio CAT and CAT Reynolds storage. I also have folks like Mr. Heater, Heat Star and Summit back on my car with Red Line Oil, Dodge and all my associates like VP Fuel, Mickey Thompson and the group at Diamond Pistons. It takes a lot to run these cars and I want to thank Flexjet for all they do for the class. Getting to run at the Winternationals is special and I am glad we wound up No. 1.”
 
Behind Pawuk in the qualifying order sits Scott Libersher, David Janac and Anthony Troyer driving Chevrolet COPO Camaros. Libersher’s 7.879 second pass was also posted in the first qualifying session. The Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown class is making its series debut at In-N-Out Burger Dragstrip at Pomona this weekend. With all three major manufacturers represented in the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown field race day will be an exciting battle between Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford.

This story was originally published on March 24, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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