Tim Coffeen, the host of “Tim Coffeen Talks Indy car and Racing History,” will share stories and memories from his long career with top Indy car teams.
As a winner of seven championship rings, Tim not only understands the history of open-wheel racing, he has lived it!
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Tim Coffeen Bio
Long ago, the racing bug bit him. Hard. Growing up in Indianapolis, it is not difficult to imagine how the lure of speed, excitement, and powerful engines snared Tim Coffeen at an early age. He was hooked by the sport of Indy Car racing and determined that there could be no better way to make a living than doing something that he truly loved.
While still in grade school, Tim would hitchhike to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) each spring and carefully watch the competing race teams prepare for the annual Indianapolis 500, the biggest event in all of auto racing. His initial break occurred while he was still in high school when he was hired to assist in the garage area at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the filming of the movie “Winning” starring Paul Newman.
He interacted with car mechanics and other racing personnel, and no job was too intimidating, or too uncomfortable, for the young man.
Little did he envision back then as a high school “rookie” that his career would span decades and his role as a team member with some of the biggest open-wheel organizations in the racing industry would result in winning seven, that’s seven, Indy Car championship rings!
But there is more to Tim Coffeen than his impressive racing credentials. He is an author, commentator, speaker, and historian with unsurpassed knowledge of Indy Car racing history. From his humble start as a lower-level assistant during the production of “Winning,” Coffeen quickly jumped into sprint car racing (both as a driver and as a mechanic) on old-fashioned dirt tracks throughout the country.
He worked with his mentors and friends Bubby Jones and Jan Opperman for many years on the sprint car circuit, then eventually graduated to the big leagues at the IMS with drivers Opperman and Jones. During this time period, Coffeen also worked for the famed Bettenhausen brothers.
In the 1980s, he joined the team headed by the respected George Bignotti as a mechanic for drivers Gordon Johncock and Mario Andretti. From 1983-1988, Coffeen worked with driver Josele Garza and the successful Machinists Union Racing. But in 1989 (and concluding in 2011), Coffeen began a long-time role with Newman-Haas Racing owned by businessman Carl Haas and actor Paul Newman.
With a stable of notable drivers, the team captured seven championships. As Lead and Chief Mechanic, Coffeen worked with such well-known drivers such as Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Cristiano da Matta, Bruno Junqueira, Oriol Servia, Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson, James Hinchcliffe, and Sebastien Bourdais.
With his podcast on the Sports History Network, Tim Coffeen will take you into the pits and into the garages of Indy Car racing history. He’ll open the curtains to a racing world that has been seen by very few and share the drama, personalities, disappointments, successes, and laughs that have made open-wheel racing such a worldwide phenomenon. And what better person is there than Tim Coffeen to lead this journey? He not only understands the importance of Indy Car history, he has lived it!