Kevin Cogan

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Kevin Cogan
Nationality United States American
Born John Kevin Cogan
(1956-03-31) March 31, 1956 (age 62)
Culver City, California, United States
Champ Car career
116 races run over 12 years
Years active 1981-1991, 1993
Team(s) Jerry O'Connell Racing (1981)
Team Penske (1982)
Bignotti-Carter Racing (1983)
Curb Racing (1984)
All American Racers (1984)
Curb-All American Racers (1984)
Forsythe Racing (1984)
Kraco Racing (1985)
Patrick Racing (1986-1987)
Machinist Union Racing (1988-1989)
Vince Granatelli Racing (1990)
Stoops Racing (1990)
Team Menard (1991)
Galles-Kraco Racing (1993)
Best finish 6th - 1982, 1986
First race 1981 Gould Rex Mays Classic (Milwaukee)
Last race 1993 Molson Indy Toronto (Exhibition Place)
First win 1986 Dana 200 for Special Olympics (Phoenix)
Last win 1986 Dana 200 for Special Olympics (Phoenix)
Wins Podiums Poles
1 7
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19801981
Teams RAM, Tyrrell
Entries 2 (0 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1980 Canadian Grand Prix
Last entry 1981 United States Grand Prix West

John "Kevin" Cogan[1] (born in Culver City, California, March 31, 1956)[1] is a former racecar driver who drove in Formula One from 1980 to 1981. Driving a RAM Williams in the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix, he failed to qualify, suffering the same result driving for Tyrrell at the 1981 US GP West. He then moved over to Indy cars in 1982 but his career was cut short by a series of accidents.

Racing career[edit]

Cogan made his Indycar debut at the 1981 Indianapolis 500, driving the #32 Sugaripe Prunes Phoenix PR-01-Cosworth DFX for Jerry O'Connell Racing, as part of the USAC Gold Crown Championship. Cogan qualified in 12th place and finished the race in 4th place with 197 laps complete. Despite this Cogan lost the Rookie of the Year award to Josele Garza. Cogan then competed in the rival CART/PPG World Series for O'Connell. In his debut, the Gould Rex Mays Classic at the Milwaukee Mile Cogan qualified in 7th place and finished in 2nd place. After the race Cogan was ranked 5th place in points. Cogan participated in four more races that season but his best finish was at the Los Angeles Times 500 at Riverside International Raceway. Cogan finished his debut CART season 23rd in points.

In 1982 Cogan joined Team Penske to drive the #4 Norton Spirit Penske PC-10-Cosworth DFX. At the season-opening Kraco Car Stereos 150 at Phoenix International Raceway Cogan qualified and finished in 3rd place. The remainder of Cogan's season proved to be inconsistent, highlighted by a 2nd-place finish at the Domino's Pizza Pocono 500 at Pocono International Raceway to teammate Rick Mears. Cogan also scored a pair of pole positions at the Budweiser Cleveland 500 at Burke Lakefront Airport and the AirCal 500 at Riverside International Raceway. At the end of the season Cogan finished 6th in points while Mears won the championship. Penske released Cogan at the end of the season.

1982 Indianapolis 500 controversy[edit]

During qualifying, he set a new one-lap track record of 204.638 mph (329.333 km/h), and a record four-lap average of 204.082 mph (328.438 km/h). He was beaten only by his teammate Mears.

Cogan started from the middle of the front row, next to pole-sitter Mears, and A. J. Foyt. As the field approached the start/finish line to start the race, Cogan suddenly swerved right, touching and bouncing off Foyt's car, and directly into the path of and collecting Mario Andretti. The cars of Dale Whittington and Roger Mears, deeper in the field, were also damaged due to the field checking up. Bobby Rahal also reported getting hit from behind, but was undamaged. The race was immediately red flagged.

Cogan's shocking accident took out four cars, including himself and Andretti. Foyt's team was able to make repairs, and pushed his car out for the restart attempt. Meanwhile, Andretti and Foyt were furious and outspoken about their displeasure with Cogan. Andretti shunned Cogan's attempts to explain himself with a light shove.

Andretti on live radio and television[2] made the comment:[3]

Back in the garage area, Andretti complained about Cogan's abilities, claiming that Cogan was "looking for trouble,"[4] that he "couldn't handle the responsibilities of the front row,"[4] and that the Penske car he was driving was "too good for him."[4]

The commonly outspoken Foyt also chimed in during comments to ABC's Chris Economaki with:[2]

Later Foyt said back in the garage area[4][5] of the crash and of Cogan that:

Gordon Johncock, Johnny Rutherford[4] and Bobby Unser[2] later placed some blame of the accident on the polesitter Rick Mears, for bringing the field down at such a slow pace. Gordon Johncock, who went on to win the 1982 race, pointed out that Andretti had jumped the start, and could have avoided the spinning car of Cogan had he been lined up properly in the second row.[5] Foyt wrote a memoir of his career in 1983 and when mentioning the crash, in a more analytic form, assigned some blame on Mears for the slow start, while assigning Cogan the rest of the responsibility.

At the end of the USAC Gold Crown season Cogan finished 47th in points. The reason was that Cogan ran the 1981 race without a USAC Class I license and got no points for his 4th-place finish.

Aftermath[edit]

Cogan quickly fell out of favor following the humiliation stemming from the accident. It was followed by a noticeable "blacklisting" by fans and press.[6] Cogan nearly had the dubious distinction of taking out two of the most famous American auto racing legends (Foyt and Andretti) in one move in the biggest race of the season. The incident also further rehashed a standing feud between Team Penske and Patrick Racing. A year earlier, Penske and Patrick were the key fixtures in the controversial 1981 race.

Cogan never managed to win a race in 1982, and was possibly fired by Roger Penske because of it.[7]

The accident was never explained by the Penske team, however, several experts had differing opinions. Rodger Ward, working for the IMS Radio Network immediately believed the rear brakes locked up.[8] It was a common practice for drivers in the turbocharged era to "ride the brakes" during warm up laps in order to engage the turbocharger. Others theorized it may have happened due to a broken CV joint. Some feel that Sam Posey on ABC-TV inadvertently may have added to the controversy when he proclaimed "absolutely no idea" to the question of how it could have happened,[2] and saying "it was as if he turned the wheel intentionally."[2] The comments led many to conclude that the accident may have been entirely of Cogan's doing. As soon as he climbed from the car, Cogan was observed looking at the rear end axle, suggesting that he thought something broke.

1983–1993[edit]

In 1983 Cogan began driving for Bignotti-Cotter Racing in the #6 Master Mechanic/Caesar's Palace March 83C-Cosworth DFX (numbered 16 at Indianapolis only). During the season results were hard to come by for Cogan with his best finish being a 5th place at the Indianapolis 500 where teammate Tom Sneva won. Helping neither Cogan nor Sneva was that Bignotti-Cotter began to develop the Theodore 83 rather than continue to use the proven March 83C. At the end of the season Cogan finished 15th in the CART standings and 6th in the USAC standings. At the end of the season Cogan and Bignotti-Cotter parted ways.

For 1984 Cogan was originally going to drive the #98 Dubonnet/Curb Records Ligier LC02-Cosworth DFX for Curb Racing and the #98 Dubonnet Eagle 84SB-Pontiac V8 for All American Racers each in select races. At the season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the Streets of Long Beach Cogan would start 21st and finish in 28th place in the Ligier. At the Dana Jimmy Bryan 150 at Phoenix International Raceway Cogan would finish in 8th place aboard the Eagle. Then at the Indianapolis 500 Cogan returned to the Ligier. The car was off the pace at the beginning of practice and Cogan faced the possibility of failing to qualify. Cogan would eventually qualify for the race after Ligier and Curb parted ways and when Michael Chandler suffered career-ending injuries in the Eagle. During this time Mike Curb and Dan Gurney merged their teams to form Curb-All American Racers. In the race Cogan qualified in 27th place, setting a new speed record for stock block engines at Indianapolis. In the race Cogan retired to 20th place after suffering a frozen wheel after 137 laps. Cogan would leave Curb-All American Racers after the Budweiser Cleveland Grand Prix at Burke Lakefront Airport. Cogan would then start driving for Forsythe Racing in the #33 Skoal Bandit March 84C-Cosworth DFX. Initially results were good as Cogan was able to start 5th and finish 8th in his debut for the team at the Michigan 500 at Michigan International Speedway and would follow it up with a 10th-place finish at the Provimi Veal 200 at Road America. During practice for the Domino's Pizza 500 at Pocono International Raceway Cogan would suffer season-ending injuries. Cogan would finish 24th in points.

In 1985 Cogan would begin to drive for Kraco Racing in the #18 Kraco Car Stereo/Wolff Systems March 85C-Cosworth DFX. The season had its ups and downs uch as Cogan nearly failing to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, eventually starting in 32nd place and finishing 11th. Cogan would also get a 4th-place finish at the Detroit News 200 at Michigan International Speedway and a 5th-place finish at the Stroh's/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway to get a 14th-place finish in points.

For 1986 Cogan joined Patrick Racing to drive the #7 7-Eleven March 86C-Cosworth DFX. At the season opening Dana 200 for Special Olympics at Phoenix International Raceway Cogan scored his first Indycar win, leading 2nd place Tom Sneva by a lap. It was also the first time Cogan led the CART standings in his career. With 13 laps to go in the Indianapolis 500, Cogan made a bold move to pass Rick Mears and Bobby Rahal in less than a lap when both were held up by the slower car of Randy Lanier. Despite his car conspicuously oversteering in the turns, Cogan pulled away to a 3-second lead before a caution came out on lap 195 for a crash by Arie Luyendyk in turn four. Cogan did not get a good restart on lap 198 and was passed by Rahal, eventually finishing in 2nd place. Cogan still led the standings after Indianapolis but suffered retirements in seven of the fourteen remaining races and fell to 6th in the championship.

For 1987 Cogan would return with Patrick, making it the first team Cogan drove for in consecutive years, driving the #7 Marlboro March 87C-Ilmor-Chevrolet Indy V8 265A. The season would turn out to be a disappointment as Cogan got a best finish of 5th at the Escort Radar Warning 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at Nazareth Speedway to get a 16th-place finish in points.

In 1988 Cogan would begin to drive for Machinists Union Racing in the #11 Schaefer Beer/Playboy Fashions March 88C-Cosworth DFX (although an 87C was used at the Miller High Life 200 at the Milwaukee Mile). The season started off well as Cogan got a 3rd-place finish at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the Streets of Long Beach. After seven rounds Cogan was ranked 11th in points when he was injured while competing at the Molson Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place. Cogan would miss four races but would still finish 13th in points on the strength of a 4th-place finish at the Nissan Indy Challenge at Tamiami Park.

For 1989 Cogan returned with the Machinists Union driving the #11 Schaefer Beer/Playboy Fashions March 88C-Cosworth DFX. Another frustrating season saw Cogan finish 14th in points with a best finish of 8th at the Champion Spark Plug 300K at Laguna Seca Raceway. The only 'highlight' of Cogan's season was a major crash at the Indianapolis 500. At the end of the third lap, Cogan spun in turn four and hit the entrance to the pit lane. The car broke in half, rebounded and slammed into the end of the pit wall before finally sliding to a stop on its side in the pit lane. To everyone's surprise, Cogan immediately climbed from his destroyed car unharmed.

In 1990 Cogan could only get a drive for Indianapolis for Vince Granatelli Racing in the #11 Tuneup Masters Penske PC18-Buick V6. In the race Cogan qualified in 15th place and finished in 9th place. Cogan would later get a second race at the Marlboro 500 at Michigan International Speedway for Stoops Racing in the #17 Conseco Lola T9000-Cosorth DFS starting 13th and finishing 20th. Cogan would finish out the season 23rd in points.

In 1991 Cogan would join Team Menard to drive the #9 Glidden/Menards Lola T9100-Buick V6 at the Indianapolis 500. During qualifying Cogan was unable to make an attempt due to rain and would have to wait for the second day. Cogan would easily qualify for the race in 16th place with a speed that would have placed him easily in the top ten along with other drivers, such as teammate Gary Bettenhausen, Arie Luyendyk, Emerson Fittipaldi and Stan Fox. In the race Cogan was involved in a crash with Roberto Guerrero on lap 25. In the wreck Cogan broke his arm and leg. Original video footage was inconclusive, and it appeared perhaps that Guerrero was to blame. An amateur home video shot from the grandstands, however, surfaced,[9] clearly showing that Cogan was at fault for the crash. As a result of the crash Cogan missed the remainder of the year (Menard wasn't going to do anymore races) and the next year. Cogan scored no points during the season.

For 1993 Cogan would drive for Galles-Kraco Racing in the #11 Conseco Lola T9300-Ilmor-Chevrolet Indy V8 265A in a part-time schedule. At Cogan's debut for the year, the Indianapolis 500 Cogan was on the bubble on Bump Day and was nearly bumped by, ironically, Bobby Rahal. Rahal was not successful and Cogan started in 14th place and would lead for four laps during pit stops, eventually finishing in 14th place. Cogan would drive in three more races for Galles-Kraco, getting a best finish of 13th at the Budweiser Grand Prix of Cleveland at Burke Lakefront Airport. Cogan would again score no points towards the championship.

Cogan would retire from racing at the end of 1993 with 6th place in 1982 and 1986 being his best finish in the CART standings and his win at Phoenix in 1986 being his only win.

Personal life[edit]

Since leaving IndyCar, Cogan has distanced himself from racing to concentrate on a real estate business in Los Angeles, Palos Verdes Estates LLC. Cogan declined invitations to be interviewed for the centennial era of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2009) in which many IndyCar legends and IndyCar drivers were interviewed by ESPN. Cogan also refused invitations to participate in Indianapolis 500 festivities during the 100th anniversary of the race in 2011.(9)

In 1988, ESPN reporter Jack Arute reported that Cogan was married, to Tracy, and had a son. In a 2015 interview with a news reporter it was revealed that Cogan has 2 more children, a daughter and a son, since his retirement.

Racing record[edit]

SCCA National Championship Runoffs[edit]

Year Track Car Engine Class Finish Start Status
1977 Road Atlanta Ralt RT1 Ford Formula B 1 1 Running

Complete USAC Mini-Indy Series results[edit]

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pos Points
1978 Ralt American Ltd. United States
PIR1
United States
TRE1
Canada
MOS
United States
MIL1
United States
TEX
United States
MIL2
3
United States
OMS1
United States
OMS2
United States
TRE2
United States
PIR2
1
11th 340

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 WDC Points
1980 RAM / Rainbow Jeans Racing Williams FW07B Cosworth V8 ARG BRA RSA USW BEL MON FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA CAN
DNQ
USA NC 0
1981 Tyrrell Racing Tyrrell 010 Cosworth V8 USW
DNQ
BRA ARG SMR BEL MON ESP FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA CAN CPL NC 0

American open-wheel racing[edit]

(key)

CART[edit]

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
1981 Jerry O'Connell Racing PHX MIL
2
ATL1
Ret
ATL2 MIS
Ret
RIV
Ret
MIL2
Ret
MIS2 WGL MEX PHX2 23rd 23
1982 Team Penske PHX
3
ATL
Ret
MIL
5
CLE
10
MIS
Ret
MIL2
5
POC
2
RIV
Ret
ROA
Ret
MIS2
Ret
PHX2
4
6th 136
1983 Bignotti-Cotter Racing ATL
Ret
INDY
5
MIL
Ret
CLE
Ret
MIS
Ret
ROA
Ret
POC
Ret
RIV
Ret
MDO
6
MIS2
Ret
CEA
Ret
LS
Ret
PHX
6
15th 26
1984 Curb Racing LBH
Ret
INDY
DNQ
24th 17
All American Racers PHX
8
Curb-All American Racers INDY
Ret
MIL
9
POR
Ret
MEA
Ret
CLE
Ret
Forsythe Racing MIS
8
ROA
10
POC
DNS
MDO
Inj
SAN
Inj
MIS2
Inj
PHX2
Inj
LS
Inj
CEA
Inj
1985 Kraco Racing LBH
Ret
INDY
11
MIL
16
POR
5
MEA
7
CLE
9
MIS
7
ROA
Ret
POC
Ret
MDO
Ret
SAN
9
MIS2
4
LS
Ret
PHX
Ret
MIA
Ret
14th 44
1986 Patrick Racing PHX
1
LBH
Ret
INDY
2
MIL
Ret
POR
Ret
MEA
Ret
CLE
Ret
TOR
5
MIS
Ret
POC
2
MDO
4
SAN
4
MIS2
4
ROA
Ret
LS
9
PHX2
Ret
MIA
4
6th 115
1987 Patrick Racing LBH
Ret
PHX
Ret
INDY
Ret
MIL
Ret
POR MEA
12
CLE
Ret
TOR
Ret
MIS
Ret
POC
9
ROA
Ret
MDO
5
NAZ
5
LS
Ret
MIA
Ret
16th 25
1988 Machinists Union Racing PHX
8
LBH
3
INDY
11
MIL
Ret
POR
Ret
CLE
10
TOR
Ret
MEA
Inj
MIS
Inj
POC
Inj
MDO
Inj
ROA
Ret
NAZ
Ret
LS
9
MIA
4
13th 40
1989 Machinists Union Racing PHX
10
LBH
Ret
INDY
Ret
MIL
Ret
DET
Ret
POR
Ret
CLE
11
MEA
Ret
TOR
9
MIS
Ret
POC
Ret
MDO
10
ROA
18
NAZ LS
8
14th 18
1990 Vince Granatelli Racing PHX LBH INDY
9
MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR 23rd 4
Stoops Racing MIS
Ret
DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LS
1991 Team Menard SRF LBH PHX INDY
Ret
MIL
Inj
DET
Inj
POR
Inj
CLE
Inj
MEA
Inj
TOR
Inj
MIS
Inj
DEN
Inj
VAN
Inj
MDO
Inj
ROA
Inj
NAZ
Inj
LS
Inj
51st 0
1993 Galles-Kraco Racing SRF PHX LBH INDY
Ret
MIL DET POR
Ret
CLE
13
TOR
15
MIS NHM ROA VAN MDO NAZ LS 35th 0

Indianapolis 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Entrant
1981 Phoenix PR-01 Cosworth DFX 12 4 Jerry O'Connell Racing
1982 Penske PC-10 Cosworth DFX 2 30 Team Penske
1983 March 83C Cosworth DFX 22 5 Bignotti-Cotter Racing
1984 Eagle 84SB Pontiac V8 27 20 Curb-All American Racers
1985 March 85C Cosworth DFX 32 11 Kraco Racing
1986 March 86C Cosworth DFX 6 2 Patrick Racing
1987 March 87C Ilmor-Chevrolet Indy V8 265A 24 31 Patrick Racing
1988 March 88C Cosworth DFX 13 11 Machinist Union Racing
1989 March 88C Cosworth DFX 27 32 Machinist Union Racing
1990 Penske PC-18 Buick V6 15 9 Vince Granatelli Racing
1991 Lola T91/00 Buick V6 16 29 Team Menard
1993 Lola T93/00 Ilmor-Chevrolet Indy V8 265A 14 14 Galles-Kraco Racing

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Drivers/Riders". Motor Sport. Retrieved 29 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e 1982 Indianapolis 500 television broadcast, ABC Sports, May 30, 1982
  3. ^ "'82 Crash Turned Promising young Driver into 500 Pariah". www.indystar.com. May 20, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "1982 Indianapolis 500 Daily Trackside Report" (PDF). Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 1982-05-30. Retrieved 2008-07-23. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b 1982 Indianapolis 500 broadcast, ESPN Classic, May 2006
  6. ^ Cavin, Curt (May 21, 2015). "'82 crash turned promising young driver into 500 pariah". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ Bob Varsha, on WindTunnel with Dave Despain, 10 June 2007
  8. ^ 1982 Indianapolis 500 radio broadcast, May 30, 1982
  9. ^ 1992 Indianapolis 500 television broadcast, May 24, 1992