Gwynn/Steinbrenner Racing annouces 2002 plans

Gwynn/Steinbrenner Racing announced plans for the launch of its second full-season of racing under the New York Yankees Top Fuel dragster banner. "I'm very pleased to announce that our race team will again wear the famed New York Yankees ...

Gwynn/Steinbrenner Racing announced plans for the launch of its second full-season of racing under the New York Yankees Top Fuel dragster banner.

"I'm very pleased to announce that our race team will again wear the famed New York Yankees pinstripes, and that our partnership with the Steinbrenner family continues to move forward and develop," said GSR partner Darrell Gwynn. "We have a very exciting program planned for 2002, and we expect to continue our role as one of the most aggressive and news-worthy teams of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series."

Headlining the team's 2002 line-up, Australian-born Andrew Cowin will take his initial turn behind the wheel of the Yankees dragster. The talented 22-year-old mirrors Gwynn's own "young lion" role when he was an up-and-coming nitro star.

"Andrew has the tools to develop into one of the top drivers," said Gwynn. "He also comes from a great racing family as his dad, Graeme, is a truly legendary figure in Australian drag racing. I'm confident that Andrew will quickly turn into a real favorite with our fans and sponsors."

Cowin still holds bragging rights as "world's quickest and fastest teenager" after clocking a 4.58-second, 313-mph run in 1999 at the age of 19. He also became the youngest Top Fuel finalist in U.S. Nationals history that same year, falling to veteran Cory McClenathan in the final round. He added another Top Fuel runner-up to his resume finishing second to reigning champ Kenny Bernstein at Las Vegas in April 2001.

"It's been my dream to have the opportunity to go head-to-head with the best in drag racing, full-time, and with no compromises," said Cowin, who has previously raced under the Cowin Family Racing banner. "Now, thanks to Gwynn/Steinbrenner Racing, that dream is coming true in ways I'd never dreamed possible."

Cowin replaces long-time Gwynn Racing driver Mike Dunn, who is pursuing opportunities elsewhere.

"Mike Dunn is one of the best ever, both on and off the track," said Gwynn. "Besides being one of the most versatile nitro drivers, he's a great family man and friend."

Todd Smith, who shared crew chief duties with legendary tuning ace Ken Veney last season, will assume sole responsibility as the team's crew chief following Veney's retirement at the close of the 2001 season.

The team seeks to improve upon last year's strong run, in which it won two races (Houston, Atlanta) and qualified No. 1 five times. In addition, the Yankees dragster clocked the first pass in NHRA history faster than 331 mph (Houston), as well as the first sub-4.5 pass under NHRA's 90 percent nitromethane rule (Topeka). The team has produced the most runs of 330 mph or greater (six), and finished fourth in Top Fuel points a scant four points from third-place.

"We'll soon be announcing some great new members of the Yankee Racing sponsor family," said GSR partner Jerry Gwynn. "These will be fine additions to NHRA POWERade Drag Racing and will compliment our valued relationships with MBNA, GMC, Winnebago, Mac Tools and the rest."

Charitable and community relations work, long a hallmark of Gwynn/Steinbrenner Racing, will again be an important element of the team's activities.

"With partners like Sunrise Medical and GM Mobility in the lead roles, we will continue to find new and innovative ways to provide educational and support where most needed," said Gwynn. "We have surrounded ourselves with people who understand the responsibility of giving back when possible, and appreciate the rewards that come from doing so."

Gwynn/Steinbrenner Racing fields the New York Yankees dragster in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing's Top Fuel division. The team is led by a partnership including Darrell Gwynn and his father, Jerry, along with Hank Steinbrenner and his father, George, baseball's famed New York Yankees owner. Major associate sponsors include MBNA America Bank, GMC, Winnebago Industries Inc. and Mac Tools.

-gsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Andrew Cowin , Cory McClenathan , Darrell Gwynn , Jerry Gwynn , Todd Smith