James Franklin “Jim” Coyle, among the most prolific and winningest team owners in ARCA Racing Series history, passed away at his home in Newark, Ohio, on Wednesday, March 11.
He was 89.
Jim Coyle’s trademark bright orange No. 1 Riverside Auto Parts cars were sought out by the best drivers in the ARCA Series in the 1970s and 1980s and were both recognizable and formidable.
He won the ARCA National Championship Car Owner titles in 1978-79 with driver Marvin Smith of Columbus, and in 1985-86 with Lee Raymond of Dayton at the wheel.
Coyle’s cars, fielded out of shops in Ohio, won dozens of races, many crew chiefed by legendary Ohio mechanic Jerry Gara. The majority of Marvin Smith and Lee Raymond’s combined 28 career ARCA Series victories came in cars fielded by Coyle, whose racing endeavors were supported by his wife Mildred “Millie” Coyle and brother Don Coyle.
Jim Coyle graduated from Newark High School in 1949 and from Denison University in 1953. He was a veteran of the United States Army and his career profession was as the highly successful owner of Riverside Auto Parts. He was on the State of Ohio Board of Licensing Salvage Dealers for 25 years, serving as President for many of those years.
Jim Coyle is survived by a nephew, Greg (Dorothy) Coyle; niece, Dawn (Tim) Coyle Chester; great niece, Alex Chester; step-niece Christine Cates (Jamal), special friend Sonja Charness; and dear friends Dunlap family, Hommel family, Arp family and Pam Steele. Services were held Saturday March 14 with private burial at Newark Memorial Gardens.
Memorials are encouraged to Second Baptist Church, P.O. Box 4847, Newark, Ohio, 43058; or Hospice of Central Ohio, P.O. Box 430, Newark Ohio, 43058.
— ARCA Racing —