POMONA, Calif. - Top Fuel driver Andrew Cowin made the best run of
his career Friday at Pomona Raceway, jumping to the top of the 16-car
qualifying ladder at the K&N Filters Winternationals.
Cowin drove his Yankee Dragster to an elapsed time track record
4.490-second run at 324.98 mph to earn the early No. 1 qualifying spot.
John Force and Ron Krisher led their respective categories at the
$1.9 million race, the first of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA
POWERade Drag Racing Series.
The run was the first time Cowin made a full pass in the Yankee car.
He joined the team shortly before the season started, replacing veteran
driver Mike Dunn.
"It was absolutely fantastic," Cowin, an Australian native,
said. "What can I say? I have an excellent hot rod to drive and I
am just a happy-go-lucky Aussie kid. (Crew chief) Todd Smith is doing a
fantastic job and I think we are looking to get this car to go 330 mph
Cowin is only the sixth driver in NHRA history to record a
sub-4.5-second pass. He said the performance was made despite some
"I think we can run better (Saturday) because we dropped two
cylinders, one at 3.8 seconds and another at 4.2 seconds," Cowin
said. "That's the fastest six cylinder car out there."
Team owner Darrell Gwynn was on the starting line, watching the first
full pass from his new driver. Dunn had been driving for Gwynn's team
"Mike Dunn, Ken Veney and I all parted amicably," Gwynn
said. "But life goes on. I thought the run was amazing. We had a
lot of changes in the wintertime and it is very refreshing to see the
car do as well as it did.
"It's a new team, new driver and new crew chief. If you ask me
the likelihood of that car winning a championship, I wouldn't know what
to say. If you ask me the likelihood of that car being competitive, I
would say it was very likely."
Cowin, 22, said he has pinched himself several times to make sure the
new driving job wasn't just a dream. He and his father, Graeme Cowin,
raced part-time in the last three years with a family-owned and operated
Top Fuel car.
Gwynn said he knew what he was getting with a young driver.
"I did not know Andrew personally very well," Gwynn said.
"I knew he could drive well and that he had youth and great
personality on the race track. He reminds me of myself, but at 22, he is
a little more mature than I was."
Force kept his No. 1 qualifier status from Thursday, with an even
quicker run. Force went 4.749 at 296.57 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
to lead the Funny Car category. Mid-way through the run the car drifted
left out of the groove and nearly went into the wall.
"(Crew chief Austin) Coil was yelling at me to get off the
wall," Force said. "But she trucked down there all
Force said he will have a new car at the track for Saturday's
"We have a new car coming that is lighter," Force said.
"It is going to make weight, but it is going to be a newer,
lighter, Mustang body."
Krisher set both ends of the track record with a 6.815 pass at 202.94
in an Eagle One Chevy Cavalier to lead Pro Stock.
"It's awesome what this Eagle One team did," Krisher said.
"We don't have a leader on this team. We all participate and we all
work together to get this done. If the weather holds up, we anticipate a
Pro qualifying continues Saturday with two sessions at 11 a.m. and 2
p.m. Final eliminations begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
POMONA, Calif. -- Friday's qualifying results for the 42nd annual
K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, first of 23 events in
the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Qualifying continues
Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Andrew Cowin, 4.490 seconds, 324.98 mph; 2. Kenny
Bernstein, 4.583, 326.16; 3. Doug Kalitta, 4.593, 319.90; 4. Clay
Millican, 4.651, 312.86; 5. Doug Herbert, 4.653, 316.97; 6. Larry Dixon,
4.655, 312.42; 7. Cory McClenathan, 4.662, 315.27; 8. Tony Schumacher,
4.663, 314.31; 9. David Grubnic, 4.768, 303.57; 10. Wyatt Radke, 4.830,
303.50; 11. Darrell Russell, 4.836, 244.60; 12. Ken Zeal, 4.852, 296.76;
13. Yuichi Oyama, 4.903, 225.82; 14. Don Lampus, 4.912, 268.22; 15.
Robert Hallock, 4.962, 282.30; 16. John Smith, 5.398, 184.42.
Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.749, 322.27; 2. Tony
Pedregon, Mustang, 4.809, 322.65; 3. Whit Bazemore, Pontiac Firebird,
4.815, 321.50; 4. Del Worsham, Firebird, 4.817, 318.09; 5. Ron Capps,
Chevy Camaro, 4.852, 295.98; 6. Dean Skuza, Dodge Stratus R/T, 4.865,
290.94; 7. Jerry Toliver, Firebird, 4.887, 313.51; 8. Gary Densham,
Mustang, 4.891, 263.72; 9. Al Hofmann, Firebird, 4.901, 291.76; 10. John
Lawson, Firebird, 4.907, 298.50; 11. Bob Bode, Dodge Avenger, 4.931,
300.73; 12. Gary Scelzi, Toyota Celica, 4.934, 301.74; 13. Cruz
Pedregon, Firebird, 4.971, 302.28; 14. Johnny Gray, Firebird, 5.016,
302.55; 15. Dale Creasy Jr., Firebird, 5.312, 279.21; 16. Terry Haddock,
Firebird, 5.374, 229.51.
Pro Stock -- 1. Ron Krisher, Chevy Cavalier, 6.815, 202.94; 2. Jim
Yates, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.825, 202.06; 3. Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 6.832,
201.37; 4. Kurt Johnson, Cavalier, 6.833, 202.88; 5. Mark Osborne, Dodge
Neon R/T, 6.835, 201.10; 6. Mike Edwards, Cavalier, 6.842, 201.97; 7.
Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 6.843, 202.33; 8. Greg Anderson, Cavalier,
6.847, 202.06; 9. Tom Martino, Grand Am, 6.849, 201.88; 10. V. Gaines,
Cavalier, 6.851, 201.46; 11. Allen Johnson, Neon R/T, 6.851, 201.16; 12.
Larry Morgan, Neon R/T, 6.858, 202.06; 13. George Marnell, Grand Am,
6.859, 201.01; 14. J.R. Carr, Pontiac Firebird, 6.860, 201.25; 15. Jeg
Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.861, 200.77; 16. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am, 6.872,