Andrew Cowin breaks 500-KPH barrier in Australia

22-year-old smashes Australian drag racing records on his way to brilliant Castrol Winternationals Top Fuel win. IPSWICH, Qld. (June 10, 2002) ­ Top Fuel racer Andrew Cowin set new standards in Australian drag racing on his way to winning the...

22-year-old smashes Australian drag racing records on his way to brilliant Castrol Winternationals Top Fuel win.

IPSWICH, Qld. (June 10, 2002) ­ Top Fuel racer Andrew Cowin set new standards in Australian drag racing on his way to winning the Castrol Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway, near Brisbane, on the weekend.

Cowin, who drives professionally for the Darrell Gwynn Racing, New York Yankees-sponsored team on the 24-race, US$50-million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series tour in the United States, returned home for a special one-off appearance with his own Rocket Industries/Cowin Family Racing team with the express intent of breaking the 500-kph barrier and winning the event.

The 22-year-old Cowin achieved his and the team's first goal on Saturday night when in qualifying for the event he recorded an incredible 506.07-kph (314.46-miles per hour) terminal speed in his 7,000-horsepower Rocket Industries Top Fuel dragster.

The run was the first over 500-kph outside the U.S. and also the first over 310-mph, while also being just the second 300-mph run recorded in Australia and fifth outside America.

On the same run, Cowin also recorded an elapsed time of 4.750-seconds for the standing quarter-mile, the quickest ET recorded outside America. It surpassed the previous best time of 4.81-seconds, set by Cowin's father and crew chief, Graeme, at the same event in 1997.

With veteran Jim Read running 4.90-seconds alongside Cowin on the historic run, it was also the first side-by-side four-second pass in Australian drag racing history.

Cowin achieved the second of his goals by defeating Read in the final round, his 4.98-second run in the final completing a string of four four-second ETs, the first time that has been achieved in Australia.

His 4.80-second first round win, backed-up by his 4.75-second qualifier, also reset the official Australian National Drag Racing Association Top Fuel elapsed time record bettering Darren DiFilippo's previous 4.83-second best.

"What a weekend, it's certainly been a dream come true for both myself and my team - we've had great fun," Cowin said.

"This is the same car we ran in America last year and, even though we had to tame it down to meet the conditions, it still ran fast. My dad [crew chief, Graeme] gave me one bad hot rod to drive. Racing in America is every true drag racer's dream, but the chance to come home and do what we did in front of nearly 50,000 people at Willowbank is fabulous. It's something I'll never forget, as I'm sure the fans won't forget seeing the first run outside America over 500-kph!"

Cowin returns to the U.S. on Tuesday to rejoin Darrell Gwynn's New York Yankees team in time for next weekend's Pontiac Excitement Nationals in Columbus, Ohio ­ the 11th round in the 24-race NHRA POWERade series.

ANDREW COWIN FAST FACTS

Born: November 21, 1979 ­ Sydney, Australia Australian car: Rocket Industries / Cowin Family Racing Top Fuel Dragster Crew Chief: Graeme Cowin American car: Darrell Gwynn Racing New York Yankees Top Fuel Dragster Crew Chief: Mike Green Career best elapsed time/best speed: 4.490 seconds/327 mph Career NHRA wins/final rounds: 0/2

Achievements:

* Quickest licence pass in Australian history ­ 4.93 seconds ­ 1997

* Record as world¹s quickest and fastest teenager ­ 4.58secs/313mph

* Youngest Top Fuel finalist in U.S. Nationals history ­ 1999

* Winner ­ 2000 Australian MotorSport Awards Drag Racer of the Year

* Finalist ­ 2000 Australian MotorSport Awards International Achiever of the Year, Young Achiever of the Year and MotorSportsman of the Year * Awarded Australian Sports Medal ­ 2000

* Finalist ­ NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals, Las Vegas ­ April 2001

* Finished 11th 2001 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Championship, competing in just 15 of 23 major events

* Number one qualifier, 4.490-seconds ­ K&N Winternationals, Pomona, Ca., February 2002 (remains the fourth quickest run in history and quickest run of 2002)

* First outside USA to record run faster than 500-kph ­ 506.07-kph at Castrol Winternationals, Willowbank Raceway, Brisbane, June 2002

* First outside USA to record run faster than 310-mph - 314.46 at Castrol Winternationals, Willowbank Raceway, Brisbane, June 2002

* Quickest drag racer outside USA ­ 4.750-seconds at Castrol Winternationals, Willowbank Raceway, Brisbane, June 2002

-gerrymack-

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Series General
Drivers Andrew Cowin , Darrell Gwynn