Kevin Cogan


Having shown promise in the British F1 series (Aurora AFX F1 Championship) he made two brief forays into the World Championship but after failing to qualify twice he switched back to the USA and made a promissing start to his Indy career and was tipped to become the sport's next star. However after taking out both Mario Andretti and AJ Foyt on the parade lap of the 1982 Indy 500 his prospects diminished.


Inspired to take up karting when a teenager by family friend Parnelli Jones, Kevin Cogan went on to be a front runner in the 1979 North-American Formula Atlantic championship ultimately losing the title to Tom Gloy. Cogan then chose to travel to the UK in 1980 where he impressed with Theodore Racing’s Wolf-Fords (WR3 and WR4) in six British Formula 1 outings finishing second behind eventual champion Emilio de Villota at Brands Hatch. With sponsorship from Rainbow Jeans he hired the RAM Racing’s Williams FW07 for the Canadian Grand Prix that year though he failed to qualify. In 1981 he managed to get a works drive with Tyrrell but after failing to qualify again, this time at the US GP West of 1981, he was fired. He then switched to Champ Cars driving Jerry O’Connell’s Sugaripe Prunes-sponsored Phoenix-Cosworth to fourth on his debut in that year’s Indianapolis 500 and finishing second at Milwaukee. In 1982 he drove a works Penske PC10-Cosworth and actually sat in the middle of the front row for the Indianapolis 500. However on the warm-up lap his car swerved out of control and ramed Mario Andretti and also collected A.J.Foyt. Andretti, who was understandably a trifle upset shoved Cogan, a response so well received by the crowd cheers can be heard on the broadcast. He went on television and said, "This is what happens when you have children doing a man's job up front, Cogan, I guess, messed up." The slight irony of that comment was that two years later, Andretti's own son Michael would start in his first Indianapolis 500. Cogan went on that year to take pole position at Cleveland and Riverside and followed Rick Mears home in a Penske 1-2 at Pocono. However he was dropped by Penske at the end of the season. Four years later in the 1986 Indy 500, Cogan finished second. He actually had the led the race late on, but a yellow flag came out allowing the drivers behind him to catch up. When the race resumed, eventual winner Bobby Rahal passed him. In his 12 seasons of Indy cars, he only took one win. That was at Phoenix in 1986. He retired at the end of 1993, a career noticeable more for the number of accidents than anything else.
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