MARCH 10, 2024

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 10, 2024) — Veteran racer and team owner Mark Pawuk raced his Empaco Dodge Drag Pak to the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Series winner’s circle today at the 55th annual NHRA Gatornationals. Pawuk took advantage of the three qualifying sessions to enter race day as the No. 3 qualifier and in the final round he defeated Stephen Bell, to also claim the Flexjet $1,000 bounty. His traditional looking Dodge Drag Pak was adorned with a special memorial to NHRA Hall of Famer and close friend Don Schumacher.

“Don and I were very close and I reached out to his stepdaughter Megan and asked if I could do a car in his memory,” said an emotional Pawuk in the staging lanes after his win. “We are going to celebrate him at a couple races and it’s just so cool. I’ve always wanted to win the Gatornationals. This has always been one of my most favorite races and to do it with my wife and daughter here and all the people helping me. Unfortunately, Kyle, my son had to leave to get a flight home, so he left right before the semis. It was not the same without him on the starting line. I’m glad I could do this for Don every round.”

Mark Pawuk NHRA Gainesville 2024
Mark Pawuk  NHRA 2024

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.

Pawuk had to take on three tough Chevrolet COPO Camaro competitors every round except for a bye run in the semifinals. Throughout the day Pawuk was up to the task leaving the starting line on time and hitting his shift points.

“I drove good all day,” said Pawuk, who has won eight Wallys in his career including two in the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Series. “I was a tad late in the final. Look at the parity between the three classes. You had cars running 7.79 and a couple 7.80s. so all three brands, Dodge, Ford and Chevy all ran right together. I think they did a great job of standardizing everything and getting us all so we can be competitive again. I really want to thank all my sponsors. I want to thank Ohio CAT and CAT Reynolds storage and Mr. Heater, Heat Star and Summit came back on my car with Red Line Oil, Dodge and all my associates like VP Fuel, Mickey Thompson and the group at Diamond Pistons.”

In the first round Pawuk took on Lee Hartman and it was one of the best races of the day with both drivers leaving the starting line together and then swapping the lead down track. Hartman was ahead for the first 400 feet and then Pawuk moved around him to take the win. The elapsed times at the finish line favored Pawuk, 7.796 second to 7.839 seconds.

The quarterfinals featured Pawuk facing another Chevrolet COPO Camaro. Anthony Troyer, the No. 6 qualifier, gave Pawuk a run for the money. Pawuk was first off the line but Troyer moved to the lead before the Dodge Drag Paks power kicked in and advanced Pawuk to the semifinals. The margin of victory was approximately six feet at the finish line with Pawuk’s 7.784 second run at 176.51 mph getting the win light over Troyer’s slightly slower 7.800 second, 173.41 mph run.

“Everybody worked really hard on this program this winter, especially Mike Valeria, who’s been helping me the last couple of years,” said Pawuk. “He really spent a lot of time just finding every little nook and cranny and David Barton on our engine program has been great. I am driving better than I have in a few years. Hopefully, I can keep that up. It seems like when the car comes around, the driver does better too. I wish I was cutting 10s and 20s off the line but I’ve been cutting a lot of 30s and that’s a lot better in 70s and 80s. I’m very happy I really appreciate Flexjet being back out here and the support they give us.”

Prior to Pawuk’s run, David Janac and David Davies III squared off with Janac’s Ford Cobra Jet taking the win but after the finish line the Ford contacted the guard wall and spun down track in spectacular fashion. When the race car came to a stop Janac exited the vehicle under his own power, but he was unable to return to racing action affording Mark Pawuk a bye to the final round. Pawuk outran Anthony Troyer in the next pair to ultimately advance to the final round.

In the final Pawuk was facing his final Chevrolet COPO Camaro competitor of the day, Stephen Bell, who carried the Flexjet Bounty as well as the title of series runner-up in 2023. Pawuk was first off the line and Bell spun the tires allowing Pawuk to get a sizeable lead which he took the winner’s circle.

Heading to the NHRA Winternationals in two weeks, Pawuk will be the points leader and carry the $1,000 bounty. The veteran driver was excited about the possibility heading to the second national event of the year.

Flexjet Bounty Program
Gatornationals (Gainesville, FL)
A $1,000 bounty collected by Mark Pawuk, defeated Stephen Bell (Norwalk winner)

2024 Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Results
A $1,000 bounty collected by Mark Pawuk, defeated Stephen Bell (Norwalk winner)

Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Top Ten Points Standings:

  • 1. Mark Pawuk 116
  • 2. Stephen Bell 94
  • 3. David Janac 77
  • 4. Doug Hamp 73
  • 5. Scott Libersher 55
  • 6. Anthony Troyer 54
  • 7. Mike Clark 53
  • 8. David Davies III 52
  • 9. Jason Dietsch 33
  • T10. Tony Scott Jr. 32
  • T10. Ricky Hord 32
  • T10. Raymond Nash 32


  • March 7 – 10: 55th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, Fl.
  • March 21 – 24: 64th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip, Pomona, Calif.
  • April 12 – 14: 24th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas
  • May 17 – 19: 24th annual Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance, Route 66 Raceway, Chicago
  • June 7 – 9: 23rd annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tenn.
  • June 27 – 30: 18th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk, Ohio
  • Aug. 15 – 18: 42nd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minn.
  • Aug. 28 – Sept. 2: 70th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals, Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis
  • Sept. 12 – 15: 39th annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals, Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa.
  • Sept. 27 – 29: 13th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals, World Wide Technology Raceway, St. Louis

About Flexjet
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Flexjet, Inc., a global leader in subscription-based private aviation, first entered the fractional jet ownership market in 1995. Flexjet offers fractional jet ownership and leasing and is the first in the world to be recognized as achieving the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard, is the first and only company to be honored with 25 FAA Diamond Awards for Excellence, upholds an ARG/US Platinum Safety Rating, a 4AIR Bronze Sustainable Rating and is IS-BAO compliant at Level 2. Red Label by Flexjet, a market differentiator, which features the most modern fleet in the industry, flight crews dedicated to a single aircraft and the LXi Cabin Collection of interiors. To date there are more than 40 different interior designs across its fleet, which includes the Embraer Phenom 300 and Praetor 500, Bombardier Challenger 350, the Gulfstream G450 and G650. Flexjet’s European fleet includes the Embraer Praetor 600 and the Gulfstream G650. Flexjet’s helicopter division sells fractional, lease, and on-demand charter access to its fleet of owned, operated and maintained Sikorsky S-76 helicopters which boast 55,000 hours of safe flying certified by Wyvern and ARG/US and serving locations throughout the northeastern United States, United Kingdom and southern Florida. Flexjet is a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies. For more details on innovative programs and flexible offerings, visit or follow us on Instagram @FlexjetInc.

Elon Werner, 214-244-1184, [email protected]