Often it’s those early experiences with cars in our formative years that send us down the path to automotive enthusiasm. We have to hand it to Austin Shipp’s father for exposing him to drag racing and Fox Mustangs at an impressionable age, it definitely stuck with the young man.
Originally we were going to try and keep the car more of a street/strip car, but since the car has been together it has rarely been street driven. — Austin Shipp, Coyote Stock racer
“My history with Fords goes back to when I was a kid, from attending NMRA and Fun Ford events growing up with my dad to driving a 1993 Mustang coupe as my first car. The Ford brand is the only way I know,” Austin explained. “The Fox is my favorite era of Mustangs and it’s always been a goal of mine to build a clean, fast coupe.”
The modern Coyote 5.0-liter engine truly is a wonder. Take a sealed crate engine, add exhaust and a cold air and you have a 10-second NMRA racer. You can see why Austin Shipp was drawn to this combination.
Foxes run deep in the Shipp family, but Austin had big plans for his build. He picked up a bit of a four-eye basket case to begin with. However, there was nowhere to go but up with this coupe.
“Originally prior to this car my father and I had an ’85 coupe with a small-block Ford and a C4, it was a solid street car that ran some 12s. But the car needed some work,” Austin explained. “Prior to selling that car I purchased this ’86 as somewhat of a roller, I mean it had a rearend and a K-member, but was lacking the rest of the components up front to move. At first we weren’t quite sure as which direction to go, but we were starting from scratch so the possibilities were endless.”
The interior of this 1986 LX is all-business. Highlights include a set of Kirkey race seats and a Racepak dash. Austin rows the gears in the GForce manual with the Long shifter poking through the QuickCar boot.
Of course every project needs a goal, and this one found is calling in the ranks of the same NMRA racing that Austin enjoyed as a kid. Seeing those Ford drag racing stars blast down the track definitely left and impression, and the relatively modern sealed-crate-engine class resonated with him.
“Around that time the Coyote Stock class was making its debut and it piqued our interest to say the least. The Coyote was something new and the idea of having one in a Fox was something my father and I agreed on would be an awesomely unique project, so we took on the challenge,” Austin said. “After reviewing the rulebook and watching the class, we knew a manual transmission was the way to go, so we came up with a TKO-600.”
Raised on Fox Mustangs and NMRA Ford Drag Racing, Austin Shipp is an up-and-comer in the competitive Coyote Stock drag racing ranks.
While the street-friendly five-speed made the car more drivable as a dual-purpose machine thanks to its easier shifting, it made it more difficult to compete in the cut-throat Coyote Stock ranks. As such, he opted to switch over to a racier manual trans moving forward.
In the short time we have had this car together I have learned so much… — Austin Shipp, Coyote Stock racer
“Originally we were going to try and keep the car more of a street/strip car, but since the car has been together it has rarely been street driven,” Austin added. “After we ran a 10-second pass at the 2017 ModMotor Nationals, with the TKO-600, we knew we needed to make a change to be more competitive for NMRA competition, so that is what led to our current combo of a G-Force behind the Coyote.”
There’s nothing like a clean Fox coupe, and Austin’s ’86 looks sharp riding on Holeshot Sun Star wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber.
Midway through the season that change and some experience behind the wheel helped Austin move in the Top 10 of the season-long points chase, which is certainly impressive. However, he knows there is still work to be done.
While racing in Coyote Stock means running the spec Ford Performance calibration in the Control Pack PCM, racers can support the engine with aftermarket induction, exhaust, and fuel systems. Austin’s car employs an Aeromotive fuel system, a BBK Performance exhaust, and a JLT Performance cold air intake.
“For myself it is quite a rush. As I mentioned before, my prior experiences down a track were in the 12-second range, so a mid-10-second pass while rowing the gears happens quickly,” Austin said. “In the short time we have had this car together I have learned so much from clutch adjustments to suspension adjustments, all while watching the effect each change has on the car. How important seat time/experience is, along with a consistent routine from the water box, to staging the car, to hitting all your shift points, it all adds up through the run.”
Fortunately, though this class is full of hardcore racers, they have been welcoming to the young racer who is still learning at every event.
“It’s great, NMRA as an organization is very welcoming, and in my short time as a member I think they provide a competitive series for competitors to participate in head ups drag racing,” he said. “As for the class, the Coyote Stock racers are a good group of guys that are hard competitors, and are there for you if you ever need a hand. This is one the tightest heads-up classes out there right now, as it is made up of a lot of previous champs and heavy hitters, so you never know who is going to get to the stripe first!”
Getting to the stripe in his Coyote-powered Fox has proven quite the rush for Austin, but he is still looking for ways to make the car faster and more competitive.
Coyote Stock 1986 Mustang LX Mods
Block: Stock Ford Coyote 5.0-liter
Crankshaft: Stock Ford Coyote
Rods: Stock Ford Coyote
Pistons: Stock Ford Coyote
Camshafts: Stock Ford Coyote
Cylinder Heads: Stock Ford Coyote
Intake: Stock Ford Coyote
Fuel System: Aeromotive fuel pump and Aeromotive fuel-pressure regulator w/ stock injectors and rails
Exhaust: BBK Performance headers, BBK Performance mid-pipe, and Aero mufflers
Engine Management: Ford Performance Control Pack PCM w/ Coyote Stock calibration
“For the future of the car and myself, the plan is to keep growing and gaining experience with the car by continuing to race in Coyote Stock, along with always finding a way to go faster!” Austin added.
It will be fun to see where Austin’s love for fast Foxes carries him, but we know for sure that he started off on the right foot.