Inductees
Austin Coil
Austin Coil
Stats
Category: Drag Racing
CLASS OF: 2024
BORN: 1945
BIRTHPLACE: Illinois
Official Nomination Bio

He’s simply the winningest Top Fuel Funny Car crew chief of all time. Coil directed inductee John Force to 15 NHRA Funny Car titles — 10 of them in a row — and 17 overall when you include two he won back-to-back captaining Frank Hawley and the Chi-Town Hustler (1982-83). Coil, engineering mentor John Farkonas and driver Pat Minick made The Hustler one of the dominant match racing machines of the late ‘60s and 1970s. When sponsorship dried up in the mid-‘80s, Coil joined Force for one of the most successful driver/crew chief pairings ever. Few remember now, but at the time Force was struggling. In addition to 15 titles, they won 130+ tour victories. An emotional Force said when Coil received a 2019 NHRA Lifetime Achievement Award, “You summed it up best, Snake,” referring to inductee Prudhomme. “You always said I wasn’t shit without Austin Coil.” Coil was named Car Craft Magazine Funny Car Crew Chief of the Year 12 times and inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1997.

OFFICIAL INDUCTION BIOGRAPHY

By Jon Asher

When we consider winning records, we’re invariably discussing marks compiled by drivers. Drag racing’s most well-known winner is Funny Car legend John Force, with 16 NHRA titles on his resume. Now consider that the man who guided him to 15 of those championships — 10 consecutively — is this year’s Drag Racing inductee, master-tuner Austin Coil. And don’t forget the two titles Coil earned by leading Frank Hawley to championships behind the wheel of the Chi-Town Hustler F/C.

Coil was one of the original triumvirate of John Farkonas, Coil and driver Pat Minick, who fielded a series of Hustlers beginning in the mid-‘60s. All were inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2014, but sadly, Coil is the only remaining member of the trio.

Through the late ‘60s and into the ‘70s, F/C match racing was where the action — and money — was. There was a lot more money to be made at tracks both big and small, so that’s where the Hustler ran. It was easily one of the top three draws.

When track operators hired-in a car, they rarely talked about performances. It was all about the show, and with Coil’s increasingly comprehensive understanding of every single element of the car, the Hustler’s performances quickly caught up to and began surpassing its showmanship reputation. Coil, if he chose to do so, could mount an effective argument that his car was the first to break the six second barrier, but he’s unlikely to because he’s just not that guy.

Before it happened, if you’d suggested that the pairing of Coil and Force would result in record-setting the likes of which had never been seen before, you’d’ve been laughed out of the room. Force’s nonstop personality mated to Coil’s why-use-four-words-when-three-would-suffice persona simply wouldn’t work – but it did. Simplistically, Force got out of the way and let Coil do his thing. Conversely, as far as we know, Coil never commented about Force’s actions behind the wheel. It was the proverbial match made in heaven.

Shortly after they began working together, visitors to Force’s transporter noticed a ring of television screens surrounding Coil’s position front and center to his massive computer. He had cameras set up around the pits, not to spy on his charges but to help them. He knew his young workers were long on enthusiasm but short on experience. He also understood that he couldn’t be making tuning decisions while also doing the hands-on work. Did the cameras discover mechanical errors? Once in a while they did, but Coil never berated the guilty party. He merely demonstrated the correct way of doing things, and his mechanic got back to work without having been humiliated.

Football talking heads love to spout about coaching “trees” — the way one coach’s teachings have influenced those who followed him. John Force Racing is a somewhat rare example of this happening in drag racing. When someone departs, the plan of succession generally has been to promote from within. The bottom line is that the majority of the winning tuners currently working at JFR learned or honed their skills under the direction of Austin Coil — the most prolific winner in drag racing history.

 

Asher is the former editor of five drag racing-related magazines. In 55 years of writing and photographing, he’s received two Special Recognition Awards from the All-Star Drag Racing Team, the Founders Award from the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and AARWBA’s Straight Shooter Award.



OFFICIAL INDUCTION PRESENTER(S)

NHRA Announcer Alan Reinhart (R) and MSHFA 2008 Inductee John Force.

(Brian Cleary/bcpix.com)

Force Reinhart

INDUCTEES

Tony Adamowicz

Bob Akin

Alex Xydias & Dean Batchelor

Tyler Alexander

Jeb Allen

Reverend Richard Anderson

Frank Arciero

Jon Asher

Pat Austin

Roger Bailey

Max Balchowsky

Michael Baldwin

Earl Baltes

Skip Barber

Tom Beatty

Gary Beck

Dick Berggren

Gary Bettenhausen

Tom Bigelow

Thomas W. Binford

Pete Biro

Geoff Bodine

Bruce Boland

John R. Bond

Griffith Borgeson

Sebastien Bourdais

Gina Bovaird

Don Branson

Eric Broadley

Antron Brown

Ron Brown

John Buffum

William. R. "Bill" Burke

The Burklands

Larry Burton

Kurt Busch

Buddy Byers

Kevin Cameron

Paul Candies

Scotty Cannon

Steve Carbone

Russ Catlin

Eddie Cheever

Luigi Chinetti Sr.

Price Cobb

Austin Coil

Russ Collins

Jessi Combs

John Cooper

Ray Cote

Buster Couch

Dale Coyne

Duff Daily

Robert Daley

Gian Paolo Dallara

Steve David

Donald Davidson

Grady Davis

Jim Deist

David Dewald

Larry Dickson

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

Downing & Hubbard

Miguel Duhamel

Jim Dunn

Lee Dykstra

Rob Dyson

Carl Edwards

Bud Ekins

Bud Ekins

Dave Ekins

Ray Elder

Jeff Emig

Richie Evans

Don Fairbanks

Red Farmer

Bud Feldkamp

Sal Fish

Herb Fishel

Ray Fox

Jim France

Frank Costin & Keith Duckworth (Cosworth)

Dave Friedman

Harry Gant

Michael Gaughan

Tom Gentry

Tony George

Joe Gibbs

Steve Gibbs

Hoot Gibson

Earl B. Gilmore

Bill "Maverick" Golden

Robby Gordon

Randy Goss

Granville Brothers

John Greenwood

Dick Guldstrand

Gene Haas

Carl Haas

Ted Halibrand

Rod Hall

Pete Halsmer

Tanis Hammond

Jeff Hammond

Jerry Hansen

Walt Hansgen

Trevor Harris

Brett Hearn

Pat Hemen

George Henley

Fran Hernandez

Bob Higbee

Tom Higgins

Steve Hinton

Takeo "Chickie" Hirashima

Bob Holbert

Tom Hoover

Jay Howell

Ralph Hudson

Jim Hunter

Jim Hurtubise

James Hylton

Jack Ingram

Dale Inman

Ernie Irvan

Bobby Isaac

Ed Iskenderian

Dale Jarrett

Jim Downing & Dr. Bob Hubbard

Alex Job

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson

Bubby Jones

Ron Jones Sr.

Mike Joy

Karl Kainhofer

Scott Kalitta

Jim Kaser

Neil Keen

Matt Kenseth

Bill Kerchenfaut

Karl Kinser

Gordon Kirby

Oscar Koveleski

Tom Kristensen

Jim Kropfeld

Eddie Kuzma

Danny LaPorte

Dick Landy

Bruce Larson

Henry Lauterbach

Larry Lauterbach

Jungle Jim Liberman

"Duffy" Livingstone

Walter Lott

Leo Loudenslager

Forrest Lucas

Jim Luikens

Roy Lunn

Pete Lyons

Rob MacCachren

Dave MacDonald

Randy Mamola

Leon Mandel

Peter Manso

Frank Manzo

Mario Illien & Paul Morgan

Marc Marquez

Teddy Mayer

Larry McBride

Roy "Mac" McClain

Jack McCoy

Jim McElreath

Mary McGee

Corky McMillin

Larry McReynolds

Roger Mears

John Mecom Jr.

John Menard Jr.

Jim Miller

Ak Miller

Drino Miller

Bill Milliken

Jack Milne

Milt Minter

Juan Pablo Montoya

John Morton

Danny "Chocolate" Myers

Herb Nab

Paul Newman

P.L. Newman

Don Nichols

Jim Nicoll

Morris "Mo" Nunn

Kitty Linn O'Neil

Jan Opperman

Mark Oswald

Cotton Owens

Paul Page

Don Panoz

John Parker

Ron Pellegrini

Jack Penton

John Penton

Maurice Petty

Paul Pfanner

Vince Piggins

Art Pillsbury

Randy Pobst

Vasek Polak

Doug Polen

Chris Pook

George R. Poteet

Richie Powers

Dale Pulde

Larry Ragland

Fred Rahmer

Cal Rayborn

Reher-Morrison-Shepherd

Roger Reiman

Lance Reventlow

Steve Reyes

Willy T. Ribbs

Larry Rice

Tim Richmond

Jody Ridley

J.N. Roberts

Kenny Roberts Jr.

T. Wayne Robertson

Chip Robinson

"Sneaky Pete" Robinson

Larry Roeseler

Gene Romero

Dave Roper

Suzanne Royce

Ricky Rudd

Scott Russell

Bob Russo

Angelle Sampey

Joe Scalzo

Gary Scelzi

Billy "The Kid" Schumacher

Tony Schumacher

Gary Scott

Wendell Scott

Ralph Seagraves

Mike Seebold

Tim Seebold

Tricia Kisner Shaffer

Jon Sharp

Hap Sharp

Bob Sharp

Kirk Shelmerdine

Dean Sicking

Bruton Smith

Carroll Smith

Marty Smith

Speedy Bill Smith

Al Speyer

Ben Spies

Lyn St. James

Bob Stange

Jeff Stanton

Les Staudacher

Mike Stefanik

Charles D. Strang

Bill Stroppe

Don Sullivan

Summers Brothers

The Surfers

John Surtees

John Surtees

Sammy Swindell

Sammy Tanner

Mark Tate

Wayne Taylor

Al Teague

Charlie Terry

Richard Tharp

The Ramchargers

Chuck Thompson

Judy Thompson

Valerie Thompson

Danny Thompson

Rahn Tobler

Paul Tracy

Travers & Coon (Traco)

Merv Treichler

Elmer Trett

Jim Trueman

Alec Ulmann

Skip Van Leeuwen

Jimmy Vasser

John Vesco

Frank "Scoop" Vessels

Jacques Villeneuve

Dave Villwock

Judy Wagner

Patty Wagstaff

Phil Walters

Ron Watson

Kermit Weeks

Bill Werner

Dan Wheldon

Nolan White

Rex White

John Wiebe

Vic Wilson

Steve Wise

Doug Wolfgang

LeeRoy Yarbrough

Robert Yates

Jeana Yeager

Dave Zeuschel

Gil de Ferran

Josie van Neumann

ALSO IN THIS CLASS

Tony Adamowicz

Bob Akin

Alex Xydias & Dean Batchelor

Tyler Alexander

Jeb Allen

Reverend Richard Anderson

Frank Arciero

Jon Asher

Pat Austin

Roger Bailey

Max Balchowsky

Michael Baldwin

Earl Baltes

Skip Barber

Tom Beatty

Gary Beck

Dick Berggren

Gary Bettenhausen

Tom Bigelow

Thomas W. Binford

Pete Biro

Geoff Bodine

Bruce Boland

John R. Bond

Griffith Borgeson

Sebastien Bourdais

Gina Bovaird

Don Branson

Eric Broadley

Antron Brown

Ron Brown

John Buffum

William. R. "Bill" Burke

The Burklands

Larry Burton

Kurt Busch

Buddy Byers

Kevin Cameron

Paul Candies

Scotty Cannon

Steve Carbone

Russ Catlin

Eddie Cheever

Luigi Chinetti Sr.

Price Cobb

Austin Coil

Russ Collins

Jessi Combs

John Cooper

Ray Cote

Buster Couch

Dale Coyne

Duff Daily

Robert Daley

Gian Paolo Dallara

Steve David

Donald Davidson

Grady Davis

Jim Deist

David Dewald

Larry Dickson

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

Downing & Hubbard

Miguel Duhamel

Jim Dunn

Lee Dykstra

Rob Dyson

Carl Edwards

Bud Ekins

Bud Ekins

Dave Ekins

Ray Elder

Jeff Emig

Richie Evans

Don Fairbanks

Red Farmer

Bud Feldkamp

Sal Fish

Herb Fishel

Ray Fox

Jim France

Frank Costin & Keith Duckworth (Cosworth)

Dave Friedman

Harry Gant

Michael Gaughan

Tom Gentry

Tony George

Joe Gibbs

Steve Gibbs

Hoot Gibson

Earl B. Gilmore

Bill "Maverick" Golden

Robby Gordon

Randy Goss

Granville Brothers

John Greenwood

Dick Guldstrand

Gene Haas

Carl Haas

Ted Halibrand

Rod Hall

Pete Halsmer

Tanis Hammond

Jeff Hammond

Jerry Hansen

Walt Hansgen

Trevor Harris

Brett Hearn

Pat Hemen

George Henley

Fran Hernandez

Bob Higbee

Tom Higgins

Steve Hinton

Takeo "Chickie" Hirashima

Bob Holbert

Tom Hoover

Jay Howell

Ralph Hudson

Jim Hunter

Jim Hurtubise

James Hylton

Jack Ingram

Dale Inman

Ernie Irvan

Bobby Isaac

Ed Iskenderian

Dale Jarrett

Jim Downing & Dr. Bob Hubbard

Alex Job

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson

Bubby Jones

Ron Jones Sr.

Mike Joy

Karl Kainhofer

Scott Kalitta

Jim Kaser

Neil Keen

Matt Kenseth

Bill Kerchenfaut

Karl Kinser

Gordon Kirby

Oscar Koveleski

Tom Kristensen

Jim Kropfeld

Eddie Kuzma

Danny LaPorte

Dick Landy

Bruce Larson

Henry Lauterbach

Larry Lauterbach

Jungle Jim Liberman

"Duffy" Livingstone

Walter Lott

Leo Loudenslager

Forrest Lucas

Jim Luikens

Roy Lunn

Pete Lyons

Rob MacCachren

Dave MacDonald

Randy Mamola

Leon Mandel

Peter Manso

Frank Manzo

Mario Illien & Paul Morgan

Marc Marquez

Teddy Mayer

Larry McBride

Roy "Mac" McClain

Jack McCoy

Jim McElreath

Mary McGee

Corky McMillin

Larry McReynolds

Roger Mears

John Mecom Jr.

John Menard Jr.

Jim Miller

Ak Miller

Drino Miller

Bill Milliken

Jack Milne

Milt Minter

Juan Pablo Montoya

John Morton

Danny "Chocolate" Myers

Herb Nab

Paul Newman

P.L. Newman

Don Nichols

Jim Nicoll

Morris "Mo" Nunn

Kitty Linn O'Neil

Jan Opperman

Mark Oswald

Cotton Owens

Paul Page

Don Panoz

John Parker

Ron Pellegrini

Jack Penton

John Penton

Maurice Petty

Paul Pfanner

Vince Piggins

Art Pillsbury

Randy Pobst

Vasek Polak

Doug Polen

Chris Pook

George R. Poteet

Richie Powers

Dale Pulde

Larry Ragland

Fred Rahmer

Cal Rayborn

Reher-Morrison-Shepherd

Roger Reiman

Lance Reventlow

Steve Reyes

Willy T. Ribbs

Larry Rice

Tim Richmond

Jody Ridley

J.N. Roberts

Kenny Roberts Jr.

T. Wayne Robertson

Chip Robinson

"Sneaky Pete" Robinson

Larry Roeseler

Gene Romero

Dave Roper

Suzanne Royce

Ricky Rudd

Scott Russell

Bob Russo

Angelle Sampey

Joe Scalzo

Gary Scelzi

Billy "The Kid" Schumacher

Tony Schumacher

Gary Scott

Wendell Scott

Ralph Seagraves

Mike Seebold

Tim Seebold

Tricia Kisner Shaffer

Jon Sharp

Hap Sharp

Bob Sharp

Kirk Shelmerdine

Dean Sicking

Bruton Smith

Carroll Smith

Marty Smith

Speedy Bill Smith

Al Speyer

Ben Spies

Lyn St. James

Bob Stange

Jeff Stanton

Les Staudacher

Mike Stefanik

Charles D. Strang

Bill Stroppe

Don Sullivan

Summers Brothers

The Surfers

John Surtees

John Surtees

Sammy Swindell

Sammy Tanner

Mark Tate

Wayne Taylor

Al Teague

Charlie Terry

Richard Tharp

The Ramchargers

Chuck Thompson

Judy Thompson

Valerie Thompson

Danny Thompson

Rahn Tobler

Paul Tracy

Travers & Coon (Traco)

Merv Treichler

Elmer Trett

Jim Trueman

Alec Ulmann

Skip Van Leeuwen

Jimmy Vasser

John Vesco

Frank "Scoop" Vessels

Jacques Villeneuve

Dave Villwock

Judy Wagner

Patty Wagstaff

Phil Walters

Ron Watson

Kermit Weeks

Bill Werner

Dan Wheldon

Nolan White

Rex White

John Wiebe

Vic Wilson

Steve Wise

Doug Wolfgang

LeeRoy Yarbrough

Robert Yates

Jeana Yeager

Dave Zeuschel

Gil de Ferran

Josie van Neumann

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