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A post-U.S. Nationals test has Andrew Cowin buoyed about his chances at this weekend's NHRA Lucas Oils Nationals being held at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania. Cowin, who made his return to NHRA POWERade competition at the recent...

A post-U.S. Nationals test has Andrew Cowin buoyed about his chances at this weekend's NHRA Lucas Oils Nationals being held at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Cowin, who made his return to NHRA POWERade competition at the recent Mac Tools U.S. Nationals following an 18-month layoff, stayed behind in Indianapolis after the recent event to test his Cowin Family Racing Top Fuel dragster.

With track conditions at Indianapolis Raceway Park not quite as good as they had been for the race the previous weekend, Cowin still managed to record a 4.76 second elapsed time for the quarter-mile despite his car spinning its tyres from half-track through to the finish line -- the 24-year-old declaring his team pleased with the result.

"Without the pressure of racing someone else, we took the opportunity to try out a few ideas and throw a few different things into the set-up of our dragster," Cowin said.

"It was great to be back racing again after such a long time out of the seat and we achieved our goal of qualifying for the biggest race of the year, but Indy's over and we want to step up our competitiveness, especially in preparation for next year.

"That's why we stuck around to test after the race, to try new things and move forward. I've got no doubt the data we gathered during the test showed we're definitely on the right track to achieving that."

The biggest threat to Cowin this weekend may not come from a fellow competitor but instead from the weather with Hurricane Ivan expect to push up into the U.S. over the next few days, its effects expected to be felt in the northeast with the forecast of potential storms and showers at Reading.

"The weather could disrupt the race, but if we do get to run the conditions should be good so don't be surprised to see some real fast times," Cowin said.

Pro qualifying for the Lucas Oils Nationals is scheduled to start this Friday, 17 September at 2.30pm (U.S. Eastern Time) and will continue Saturday, with final eliminations set to begin at 11.00am Sunday morning.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Andrew Cowin