Coil resigns from John Force Racing
Two days after winning a record 15th NHRA Funny Car world championship with John Force, Hall of Fame crew chief Austin Coil has resigned from John Force Racing and plans to take at least a year off before returning to tuning race cars.
"I've decided to take some time with my wife, which I haven’t for the last 26 years, and then I suspect at some point, I'll be hanging out my shingle to go racing again because I feel great, and I'm having a good time every day," said Coil, who also won championships with driver Frank Hawley (1982-83).
Coil was emphatic that his decision had nothing to do with the larger role that Mike Neff has taken in tuning the Castrol GTX Mustang this year.
"God no, I love Neff," he said. "Working with him has been a dream. He's a jewel and added what we've been missing lately. I absolutely like working with Neff and Bernie [Fedderly] and Jimmy Prock and 'Guido' [Dean Antonelli]; they'll all great guys, and there's no problem with anybody there. I'm just not totally happy with the situation since Force has reorganized because of the economy, so I've decided to take a little time for myself.
"The working environment is fine. It takes a lot of things to make you happy, and some things just aren’t making me happy, and I couldn’t pick a better moment to do this than after what happened this weekend.
"I haven't had a lot of time to do things that are on my bucket list, so I'm going to take some time and do those things. Then I'll hang my shingle out again and see what's available because I imagine I'll be bored with screwing off after a while."
Coil joined the Force team in 1985 and has been responsible for all 132 of Force's wins and all 15 championships, including nine of 10 in the 1990s and 10 straight from 1993 through 2002.
After the two-time championship-winning Chi-Town Hustler team began to be pulled apart by numerous sponsorship and personnel decisions, Coil took up the offer from Force, who had yet to find the winning magic.
"I didn’t really know anything about John, but I needed a paycheck and thought I'd better go see how this works out, and it worked out pretty well," he said. "It took a while for me to learn how to work in a different environment where you were answering to sponsors. John was a very capable driver but just didn't really know what he could do, but he learned real good. Of course, in those early days, we didn’t have a lot of money, and there'd be a screaming fit if I needed a new crankshaft, and now we have 40 of them on the shelf."