There was an air of excitement leading towards the Aeroflow by Rocket Industries Pro Series event at Sydney Dragway.
Along with ANDRA Championship rounds for Top Doorslammer and Pro Stock, the nitro Funny Cars of Graeme Cowin and Chris Stipanovich were set to make exhibition passes throughout the two-day event.
Both cars had proven performance and the conditions were shaping up to see new personal bests and or records broken. Unfortunately rain set in prior to the first match-up, and despite the best efforts to dry the track, racing was cancelled on Friday night. Saturday morning was no better with further heavy rain leaving organisers no option but to cancel the event.
Andrew Cowin was looking forward to having his third competitive outing in the nostalgic 1957 Chev Bel Air known as the “Nitro Express. On its last two meetings, records were established and broken. At Sydney Dragway on November 21, 2010, Andrew recorded the first five-second elapsed time for a nitro-burning Nostalgia Funny Car in Australia with a time of 5.898 at 241.02 mph. Then on February 19, the Sydney based team headed up to Willowbank Raceway and shaved 0.012 off their previous best, establishing a new record of 5.886 seconds.
“It was awesome to get the record with the Nostalgia Funny Car”, said Andrew. And to win that Sydney event against a dragster was even better. This is the first time I have raced a Funny Car and I can tell you it’s a whole different deal. My dad has driven both types of cars so it’s sort of cool that I can now identify with his past experiences. Even though the Chevy runs 5.8 seconds instead of the 4.6 from our Rocket/Aeroflow Top Fuel dragster, let me tell you that it still feels really quick.
“For the Sydney Pro Series event we were hoping to run quicker but unfortunately the rain stopped that. It was going to be fun running against Chris. Our car runs to Nostalgia rules and is quite heavier than the car of Chris’s which runs to more modern rules but this was good old match racing and we wanted to put on a show for the fans,” said Andrew.
In addition on March 2 Andrew had the opportunity to put his father’s infamous “Psycho III” nitro burning, nostalgia Fuel Altered on the track at Sydney Dragway for the first time with some test runs. The Altered is a replica of the car that Graeme once drove all over Australia back in the seventies and has been making numerous “Cackle” appearances.
On the Top Fuel front it’s also been a busy few months for Cowin Motorsports following two championship round appearances in Brisbane and Perth in the month of January. Both events saw the Rocket/Aeroflow Top Fuel Dragster run well in qualifying with Andrew setting Top Speed (306.21 mph) at Willowbank and top qualifying at the Motorplex with an ET of 4.77 at 318 mph. Unfortunately rain stopped the Willowbank event just as the first round of Top Fuel was ready to commence, while in Perth Andrew lost in the first round of eliminations when his 4.99 was defeated by a 4.82 from Phil Lamattina.
“At Willowbank and Perth we had extremely high humidity which made it tricky to tune to the track conditions with dropping cylinders,” said Andrew.
“We were able to get around that issue on the final qualifier in Perth but it shook the tyres on the .77 run which forced me to pedal the car in an effort to get us in a good spot for eliminations. For the first round we addressed the shake issue and the car ran smoothly to half track but it spun the tyres and we lost that race.
“Later in the night we came out for a test run and made further changes for the half track increment. The Rocket/Aeroflow Top Fuel dragster recorded a solid pass of 4.69 seconds at 318 mph.
So I am hoping that we can pick up from where we left off in Perth and focus on using the most available traction as possible this weekend,” concluded Andrew.
The fifth round of the ANDRA Pro Series Top Fuel Championship will be held at Willowbank Raceway on March 25 & 26. Andrew is sitting second in the 2010/2011 points series and two rounds remain before the season concludes in June.