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Fri, 22 Dec 2000, 10:24 AM

Courtesy of Dave Densmore

YORBA LINDA, Calif.- In a move designed to insure the future "airworthiness" of drag racing's dominant Funny Cars, Winston Champion John Force confirmed Wednesday that he has signed Tim Gibson to a three-year contract as Team Engineer and full-time consultant to Crew Chiefs Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly and John Medlen.

Gibson, who worked with Coil, Fedderly and Ford engineers in designing the 2001 Mustang body that helped the team win an unprecedented eighth straight Winston Championship, will consult on a variety of projects.

In addition to his involvement in ongoing aerodynamic improvements, Gibson will work with the Crew Chiefs in supercharger and injector development.

Driver of the BME (Bill Miller Enterprises) Top Fuel dragster which makes 10-12 appearances each year in the NHRA's Winston Drag Racing Series, Gibson is much better known for his design expertise.

A native of Alabama, he moved to California in 1984 and immediately went to work for Don Long Race Cars, a company that built some of the era's quickest and fastest Top Fuel dragsters. While working at Long's chassis shop, Gibson attended UCLA and in 1990 earned a degree in aeronautical engineering.

Upon graduation, he worked two years for TRW Aerospace prior to beginning a five year stint with Dan Gurney, working first on the Toyota GTP program and late the IndyCar program. In 1998, however, with the Gurney program having run its course, Gibson began working in drag racing aerodynamics, first for Don Prudhomme and later for Joe Gibbs Racing.

His friendship with Coil ultimately led to his involvement in the re-design of Force's Castrol GTX Mustang which included the incorporation more stock dimensions and a 10 per cent increase in the car's aerodynamic efficiency.

In addition to his work as an aerodynamicist, Gibson designed the Gibson-Miller supercharger used last season by several Top Fuel and Funny Car teams and drives the Mastercam vintage front engine Top Fuel car at Good Guys events.

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