Time Capsule Tuesday: Kevin Cogan

June 14, 2016

Team Penske will be celebrating our 50th anniversary in motorsports in 2016. To bring you some of the terrific stories of our five-decade run of excellence, Team Penske is running weekly online features highlighting some of our drivers and our key events. We hope you enjoy this memorable time in our history.

Kevin Cogan

Kevin Cogan only ran the 1982 INDYCAR season for Team Penske, but the Culver City, California native made a name for himself during that time, both for his on-track success and one of the biggest mishaps in Indianapolis 500 history.

Prior to joining Team Penske, Cogan had dipped his toe into the world for Formula 1. He entered the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix and the 1981 US GP West, but failed to qualify for either event. Cogan made his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1981 driving the No. 32 Cosworth for Jerry O’Connell Racing. Despite finishing fourth, he lost out on the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Award to Josele Garza. Cogan followed up his solid Indy 500 run with a second-place finish in the next event at The Milwaukee Mile. He was the next, young superstar for INDYCAR

His success in 1981 caught the eye of Roger Penske, who signed Cogan to pilot the No. 4 Norton PC-10 Cosworth for the full campaign as a teammate to Rick Mears. In the first race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway, Cogan qualified and finished in the third position. Unfortunately, the rest of his season proved to be inconsistent; a bright spot was a second-place finish to Mears at Pocono Raceway.

Cogan also scored two pole positions in 1982 at the Cleveland airport circuit and Riverside International Raceway. He finished the season with five top-five results and a sixth-place finish in the point standings.

Unfortunately, Cogan is most-famously known for his start to the 1982 Indianapolis 500. After qualifying in the second position, between pole winner Mears and A.J. Foyt, Cogan lost control of his car while coming to the green flag. In the process he collected Foyt and Mario Andretti, two of the biggest names in American motorsports’ history, and ended their chances at more Indy 500 immortality. After his tumultuous season he was not retained by Team Penske.

In 1993, Cogan retired from INDYCAR competition having won one race at Phoenix International Raceway in 1986. His sixth-place finish in the 1982 and 1986 points standings were the highest of his career.