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Newcomer Mike Clark Runs to Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown No. 1 at NHRA Gatornationals

The season opening Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Series event at Gainesville Raceway showed that the competition level will be wide open. Newcomer Mike Clark from Mono, Ontario, Canada ran to the No. 1 spot driving his brand new Smokies Garage Dodge Drag Pak. On Friday night Clark ran 7.824 seconds at 175.80 mph and that time held up through the final round of qualifying on Saturday at the 55th annual NHRA Gatornationals.

“I’m new to Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown for sure,” said Clark. “I’ve been doing the Hemi Shootout stuff for years. I bought this Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown car about three weeks ago and put it together. I had (2023 Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown world champion) Aaron Stanfield go through the motor and change the blower. I’ve got Jody Hadley tuning with me which has been great.”
After the first qualifying run Friday championship runner-up Stephen Bell was No. 1 with a 7.994 second pass at 169.06 mph followed by Doug Hamp and Anthony Troyer. Under the lights at Gainesville Raceway Clark went to the top with his 7.824 second run at 175.80 mph in his Dodge Challenger after a tough first round pass. Mark Pawuk also stepped up running 7.905 seconds at 176.93 mph. The top five were rounded out by Scott Libersher and Anthony Troyer in COPO Camaros and Jason Dietsch’s Ford Cobra Jet. Clark was excited about his effort and he was looking forward to the first round.
“You want to go as fast as you can and make sure you don’t make any mistakes,” said Clark. “This is like every major series – you just hope that all the mechanics, the weather and the track all work together. It came together this weekend and we’ll see how race day goes. We’re gonna do about four or five Flexjet races. We kind of have to mix and match but I definitely want to do more of these races.”
Sunday, Clark will face Jonathan Allegrucci in the first round. In other marque first round match ups No. 3 qualifier Mark Pawuk will face off against No. 14 qualifier Lee Hartman while Scott Libersher will line his COPO Camaro up against Del Holbrook’s Ford Cobra Jet. Ricky Hord will be the first driver to take a shot at Flexjet Bounty target Stephen Bell in the opening round. 
First Round Match-ups
No. 1 Mike Clark vs. No. 16 Jonathan Allegrucci
No. 2 David Janac vs. No. 15 Kevin Skinner
No. 3 Mark Pawuk vs. No. 14 Lee Hartman
No. 4 Scott Libersher vs. No. 13 Del Holbrook
No. 5 Stephen Bell vs. No. 12 Ricky Hord
No. 6 Anthony Troyer vs. No. 11 Raymond Nash
No. 7 Jason Dietsch vs. No. 10 David Davies III
No. 8 Doug Hamp vs. No. 9 Tony Scott Jr.

This story was originally published on March 10, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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