Yankee team looking forward to Englishtown. ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - Andrew Cowin and the Yankee Dragster team can't wait to get to New Jersey. The team is looking to turn around a season that so far, has been less than desirable. Cowin opened the...
Yankee team looking forward to Englishtown.
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - Andrew Cowin and the Yankee Dragster team can't wait to get to New Jersey. The team is looking to turn around a season that so far, has been less than desirable.
Cowin opened the 2002 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series with a track-record run that boosted him to the No. 1 qualifying spot at Pomona in February. Since then, however, Cowin and the pin-stripped dragster have yet to win a round during eliminations.
If there is such a thing as home-field advantage in drag racing, Cowin is hoping it is Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
"That's the home track for our sponsor and I am really looking forward to racing there," the 22-year old said. "Especially since we are going to have a new chassis, a new paint scheme and my mom (Wendy) is coming to the race. The last time she came to one of my races was the U.S. Nationals in 2000. Those are three good reasons to look forward to racing the Yankee Dragster at Englishtown this year.
"We have struggled early in the season, but we are close to turning that all around and I think this might be the perfect time for that to happen."
Cowin is aiming for his first victory and would like nothing more than for it to be at the 33rd annual NHRA Matco Tools SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, May 16-19. Kenny Bernstein, Tony Pedregon, Richie Stevens and Matt Hines are the defending winners in their respective categories for the $2 million race, the eighth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Cowin, an Australian native, has been racing in NHRA events since 1999. The rest of the Cowin family still lives in Sydney, Australia, making it difficult to get to the races to cheer for the Yankee team.
"My dad (Graeme) has been involved with racing for 30 years," Cowin said. "It has always been part of our family and this is the first year that I am not racing with my dad. So I miss my family, but I love racing and wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now. My dad has seen a couple of races this season, but I am looking forward to seeing my mom.
"The last time she came to see me race, I didn't qualify. So I need to make up for that one. There's no better place to do that than at Englishtown."
Because the team has failed to win a round, they sought some outside advice. Longtime crew chief Wes Cerny has joined the team as an advisor, while maintaining full-time tuning duties with fellow Top Fuel racer Cory McClenathan.
"Last year with the previous crew chief, he had three people he used to bounce ideas off of," Cowin said. "This year, we are trying to do the same thing because two minds are better than one when it comes to racing these cars. Bernie Federly, Austin Coil and John Force are successful because they all work very well together. That is what we are trying to do with this team. Todd Smith and Wes Cerny are two great guys that get along very well together.
"We seem to have gotten the shake out of the car, but it is still needs some fine tuning. By Englishtown, it should be good. So we thought this was the best time to seek some outside assistance just to get back on the right track with this dragster."
Team owner Darrell Gwynn said Cerny was hired to help the team out in order to speed up the jelling process. Cowin replaced veteran driver Mike Dunn and Smith took over the tuning duties that were handled by Ken Veney. Most of the crewmembers on the team are also new.
"We asked Wes to help us get into the right direction without losing precious time or wrecking an unnecessary amount of parts," Gwynn said. "It's working because I have already seen positive progress."
Gwynn said racing near the sponsor's home turf did add some pressure, but that the team was looking forward to the benefits of being so close to where the New York Yankees play baseball.
"We are going to be racing The Spirit of New York car with a young, Australian driver," Gwynn said. "We are going to have more pressure on us to perform well, but we will also be well supported. There are New York Yankees fans all over the world, and we know we will see a big fan base in New Jersey area."