Speed News April 2017

Speed News Magazine - The Official Magazine of the National Auto Sport Association

Issue link: http://mag.speednewsmag.com/i/807015

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Page 61 of 81

T here is a theor y in mass communication research called "uses and gratifications," and it describes not what media consumption does to people, but rather what people do with media they consume. It takes the position that an audience is not passive. The theor y can be applied loosely to other fields of study, and in a way, NASA Rocky Mountain racer Bob Cowan's Exocet is an application of uses and gratifications theor y. Let me explain a little. Exomotive originally intended the Exocet for the power train plucked from the 1990 to 2005 Mazda Miata. Cowan took that recipe and upped the ante, so to speak, and created something of an outlier, and it's likely the only one of its kind competing in NASA nationwide. The car didn't change Cowan or how he drove. Cowan changed the car — and did with it what he wanted. When you see an Exocet on track, you have a preconceived notion of the four-cylinder noise it should make, but as Cowan flashes past in his car, you're met with the baritone thunder of a V8, and man, is it cool. To back up a bit, Cowan had built a Factor y Five Cobra about a decade ago, and it was star ting to get a little tired af ter 10 years as a dedicated track car. So Cowan was looking for something new. "You know af ter beating it up for 10 years on the track, it was either strip it down and rebuild the whole thing, or build a second car," Cowan said. "We could buy a Cor vette or buy a Porsche, and we just didn't see anything that looked exciting, that looked really fun. And that's really my big goal for being out there is to THE OUTLIER BOB COWAN BUILT THE EXOCET HE WANTED RATHER THAN THE ONE THE MANUFACTURER INTENDED. STORY AND PHOTOS BY BRETT BECKER 62

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