Graeme Cowin, Rocket Man

Over the last forty-plus years, Australian racer Graeme Cowin has been a leading light in the sport of drag racing Down Under. Whether it was winning ANDRA championships, breaking barriers such as the first nine second altered pass, the first five in a fuel funny car or the first four in a Top Fuel dragster – Cowin was always at the top of his game. This saw him also successfully compete in America in both fuel funny car and later in fuel dragster with his son, Andrew, and he has seen the sport of drag racing in Australia hit the highest of highs and some low points over that time.

Van Daal says he was just a young pimply school kid when he first laid eyes on the “Psycho 2” blown small block powered T bucket in the pits at Castlereagh International Dragway back in 1971. Graeme Cowin and his then girlfriend, Wendy Johns, genially stood aside and allowed him to take a photo of the gold metalflake T Bucket, though he has lost it now. Later that year Cowin became the first driver to take a blown altered through the 10-second barrier when it ran a 9.82/161.57 pass. Since then Van DaaI has closely followed Graeme and Wendy’s racing exploits both at home and overseas and when the chance came to interview him about his Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car Series, he quickly said yes.

Graeme isn’t your normal 70 year old who cuts the lawn on a Monday and goes shopping on a Tuesday; no, every weekday sees him in the office by 6.30 a.m. at his Rocket Industries warehouse where he makes a number of calls to America to follow up on business (due to the time difference). Mid-morning he switches hats and takes care of his Aeroflow Performance products business that is growing down under at a great pace. Between 1.30 and 3 p.m. he goes home for lunch, to walk his dogs and catch up with his wife Wendy, but upon his return he drives around to the race car shop to ensure things are going to plan. There he stays until late to make sure that everything will be in place for the upcoming Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car Series  “Night of Fire” event at Sydney Dragway on November 29.

Cowin, through Rocket his Industries and Aeroflow Performance Products businesses, is one of the largest supporters of ANDRA drag racing in Australia with race car, track sponsorship and the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship [a points series similar to what JEGS does for sportsman racers with NHRA] that is worth over $50,000 in prize money each season.

: It seems that all sports in Australia are currently suffering from reduced crowds with the main reason being blamed on the fact that the youth of this country have too many options. From what you tell me, putting on a show with the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars will hopefully bring them back. Is that what you are trying to achieve?

Graeme Cowin: We need to engage the kids! We need to entertain the crowd, not just the racers; we need cars with some personality. Championship drag racing is all about entertaining ourselves -- that is a good thing but don’t get me wrong, I love championship drag racing but it’s not only about the racing; it’s about the show. Nitro is our sport’s point of difference and we are trying to run another nitro product and make it affordable for the tracks and for the owners of the cars as well.