After making their debut in Florida in March, the Richfield, Ohio-based Pawuk Family Racing organization is looking forward to returning to Summit Racing Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio where the team will compete under the family banner for the first time at its home track.
Led by team owner Mark “The Cowboy” Pawuk, Pawuk Family Racing (PFR) will be competing for two Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Wally trophies this weekend. Pawuk will be back behind the wheel of the team’s flagship entry, the Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak, competing in the NHRA’s Factory Stock Showdown Series for the fifth time this season. Son Kyle will pull double-duty throughout the weekend, swapping between wrenching on his father’s car and driving Scott Libersher’s COPO Camaro in the Stock Eliminator class. Pawuk’s daughter, Kassandra, will continue to lead the team’s social media efforts while wife Bonnie retains her place as the backbone of the PFR operation.
“I’m really proud that we’ve been able to build this team as a family,” said Pawuk, a lifelong resident of Akron, Ohio. “We formed Pawuk Family Racing over the last off-season and have competed in several NHRA and NMCA events since. Kyle completed PFR’s second entry, a Super Gas car, back in April and has been enjoying getting some seat time after licensing at Frank Hawley’s school last summer. While he’ll be switching it up and driving Scott Libersher’s car this weekend, it’s exciting that we could have a chance to double up at our home track.”
Pawuk enters the race weekend ranked fifth (tied) in the NHRA’s Factory Stock Showdown Series standings and is within striking distance of overtaking the No. 3 and 4 ranked drivers, each of whom carries less than a one-round point advantage over Pawuk.
“Our Dodge Drag Pak team struggled at the first few races in Florida, but since then, our car has really started to perform well,” added Pawuk, who advanced to the semifinals at the 2022 Norwalk event. “We went to the semis in Charlotte and Chicago and qualified third in Bristol before we ended up spinning the tires in the second round.”
Pawuk expects to continue his trend of racing deep into Sunday’s eliminations rounds this weekend, and credits the addition of engine builder, Ray Barton Racing, to his program’s recent successes.
“David Barton has been instrumental to our operation, and we’re very pleased with this new technical alliance,” he added. “I also want to recognize all of the organizations who keep us on track and allow us to do what we love. We’re proud to have the continued support of several Ohio-based companies, including Ohio Cat and its Ohio Cat The Rental Store division, Enerco Mr. Heater, Heatstar, Summit Racing Equipment, Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels, Emil Pawuk and Associates, Inc. and Seabreeze North Corporation.
“Red Line Oil, VP Racing, and E3 joined PFR as associate partners this year. Cometic Gasket, another Ohio-based organization, supported me back in my Pro Stock days, and I’m grateful to have them back on board with our new PFR venture. I would also like to thank Westfield Bank, which has supported us on track at the Norwalk event for the last few years, and will continue to do so again at this year’s race.”
Including a runner-up finish from the No. 2 position at the 2018 Norwalk event, Pawuk is a three-time finalist and three-time No. 1 qualifier in FSS competition. Competitors in the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Series will begin qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals on Friday, June 23, at 3:15 p.m. ET. Stock Eliminator qualifying also kicks off on Friday, with cars hitting the track starting at 8:00 a.m.
Before the race weekend gets underway, Pawuk will join his Summit Racing Equipment teammates at a Summit Racing driver meet-and-greet and car show at Summit Racing’s Ohio retail store, located in Tallmadge, on Wednesday, June 21 from 4 – 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.