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Pawuk Returning To NHRA

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 29 2018

CONCORD, N.C. – Former NHRA Pro Stock driver Mark Pawuk is ending an 11-year hiatus to compete in the SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown for Don Schumacher Racing, it was announced Saturday at zMAX Dragway.

Pawuk’s first outing in the Factory Stock Showdown will be in June at the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, Tenn. That is the third event on the Showdown’s seven-race schedule. Pawuk will remain at zMAX Dragway Monday, along with crew chief Kevin Helms and teammate Leah Pritchett, to make test runs and complete the licensing process. Pritchett, one of Schumacher’s three Top Fuel drivers, has competed in the Factory Stock Showdown since the season began.

“It’s going to be totally different from what I have driven in the past,” Pawuk said. “I always felt I was a seat of the pants kind of driver; I always could kind of tell what the car was doing. I’m hoping that ability, if I still have it, will bring me back to help me tune the car and get it down the race track. I’m not quite sure what to expect.”

Schumacher, who already has three Top Fuel and four Funny Car entries, said he was expanding in Factory Stock Showdown because he believes the class has a “tremendous future in the sport.”

“All three factories are involved in it, which is key to my desire to be involved with my sponsor Dodge and Mopar,” Schumacher said. “I look to expand my business with Dodge and Mopar in parts and pieces and new drag pack cars. There’s a lot of things I have a vision of down the road to increase my involvement in NHRA.”  

Pawuk said he never retired when he walked away from the sport after Richmond in 2006, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to return. However, his son pushing him to return to drag racing energized him.

“We’ve probably been talking about it for a couple to three months,” Pawuk said. “The fans are what really brought me back. I still go to a few races a year, but the amount of fans that still come to me and ask me when I’m coming back and tell me they miss me has meant a lot to me. Being involved with Don Schumacher made the decision pretty easy.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 29 2018
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