With a little luck, Cowie cashes in by ProQuest

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The second-generation racer began driving his father, Mike's, blown alcohol dragster in 2002 and won three divisional events and the Division 6 championship as a rookie. In his final national event to earn national championship points, Whiteley came up empty and still trails three-time defending champion and points leader Bill Reichert by 11 with two races left.

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									                          TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER — 9th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, Oct. 29-Nov. 1, Las Vegas

                          With a little luck, Cowie cashes in




by Steve Waldron                                                                                                 (Above) Shawn Cowie, near lane, scored his first
                                                                                                                 national event victory with a 5.35 to 5.45 final-round

B    efore his runner-up in Dallas, Shawn Cowie
     hadn’t had much luck on the national event
level this year. In stark contrast to his
                                                                                                                 victory over Brandon Johnson. (Left) Johnson, left, was
                                                                                                                 the first to congratulate Cowie on his big win.

performance in divisional competition — six wins                                                                     Cowie also won his second-round race on a red-
in as many races — Cowie had lost in the second                                                                  light, this one by Mark Niver, then upset No. 1
round in all five of his national events.                                                                        qualifier Monroe Guest in the semifinals. Guest
   “Before Dallas, I was kind of thinking we were                                                                qualified his A/Fuel Dragster on the pole with a
jinxed, but after Dallas, I knew we could do it,”                                                                5.15 and backed it up with a 5.16 in round one
said Cowie. “It was just a matter of getting it                                                                  and a 5.24 in round two before slowing to a 5.42
done.”                                                                                                           against Cowie’s 5.39.
   After losing the Dallas final by .0013-second,                                                                    “I thought he’d run a .20 and it’d be all over
Cowie cashed in Las Vegas, defeating fellow                                                                      for us,” said Cowie. “At 3,000 feet [altitude], I
Division 6 racer and friend Brandon Johnson for                                                                  knew there was no way we’d be able to run a .20.
his first national event win in just his second                                                                  I figured a low .30 would be the best we could do.
career final.                                                                                                    It was his race to lose, and we kind of approached
   “I love racing Brandon,” said Cowie. “He and                                                                  it like that. Fortunately, it turned out in our
his dad, Mike, are great people, and there’s no                                                                  favor.”
one I would have rather been in the final with. I         “It should have been over for us right then and            Johnson, who qualified his A/Fueler No. 14
was pretty happy that they took Duane [Shields]        there, but we had some luck on our side,” said            with a 5.42, used a .035 light to beat Shields in
out in the first round. Brandon works for Duane,       Cowie. “I didn’t know Cody went red, so I kept my         round one, 5.327 to 5.327, then made his best run
and Duane still had a shot at winning the              foot in it as long as I could. It was a pretty big        of the weekend to knock off second-in-points Jim
championship if he did well, so I wasn’t sure what     surprise to me and Bill [Moore], my crew chief,           Whiteley in round two, 5.30 to 5.35. In the
would happen there. It was nice to see them            that the car did that. It definitely got my               semifinals, Johnson slowed to a 5.55 but held on
actually race.”                                        attention.”                                               against Courtney Force’s 5.57. Johnson had a
   On the strength of his performance in divisional
events, Cowie was a title contender himself for
much of the season. If fact, the third-year alcohol
racer led the points as late as July, but any chance
he had of winning the championship ended with
his second-round loss in Brainerd.
   “I was always going on NHRA.com and
checking the points, and I think I just put more
pressure on myself than I needed to,” said Cowie.
“But after Brainerd, we knew that we wouldn’t
finish in first, so we kind of took a different
approach. We started testing some things to get
ready for next year and forgot about all that other
stuff, and things just kind of happened.”
   After qualifying No. 5 with a 5.33, Cowie
caught a huge break in round one when Cody
Perkins red-lighted. Cowie’s blown dragster
launched into a giant wheelstand and carried the       Cowie, who lost in round two in his first five national events this year, reached his second straight final with a
front end to about half-track before he lifted.        5.39 to 5.42 victory over No. 1 qualifier Monroe Guest.
36 ✦ National DRAGSTER
slight advantage off the starting
line in the final, but Cowie
quickly caught and passed him en
route to a 5.35 to 5.45 victory.
    “I knew it’d be a good race,”                                                                                                                                                                      (Left) Johnson advanced to
said Cowie. “He had Duane and                                                                                                                                                                          his second national event
his guys over there helping him,                                                                                                     
								
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