Fast Shafts quietly changed hands last week. Pat Fagen (left), the brand’s well-known founder, will continue to represent the company while new owner Beau Kaplan (right) takes the helm.
“Beau bought the business, equipment, and the building,” Fagen said. “I’ll continue to serve Fast Shafts’ customers. I want to travel to the races more. It’s made me who I am.”
From One Racer to Another
Beau Kaplan, 34, comes from a racing family. His grandfather, Everett Sather, started JR Motorsports in Iowa and co-promoted and owned Iowa’s Boone Speedway. Kaplan’s father, Kent, was sponsored by Fagen’s salvage yard during the late 1980s. Beau Kaplan raced in a variety of classes — go-karts, hobby stocks, sport mods, and modifieds.
“I was selling construction equipment,” Kaplan said. “That [business’] busy season coincided with racing season, which isn’t good.”
With passion for racing, Kaplan looked for other opportunities.
“Six months ago, I showed interest in buying Pat’s business,” said Kaplan. “The interest kept on growing until it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. It’s a reliable business, with repeatable customers.”
Fast Shafts: A Business Created to Serve a Need
Pat Fagen introduced Fast Shafts in June 1993.
“I saw a need for quality driveshafts,” Fagen said. “Racers were building driveshafts on the floor. They were unbalanced, they weren’t straight, and they were not safe.”
Besides offering a quality product, Fagen’s company could turn around driveshafts quickly for customers. They have four machines available to build carbon fiber, steel, aluminum, and chromoly driveshafts.
“When a racer wants a part, they want it now,” said Fagen. “If a customer calls at 3 p.m. and needs a driveshaft by the next day, we have the ability and equipment necessary to build that driveshaft and have it ready to ship by 4:30 p.m., when UPS arrives.”
In addition to driveshafts, Fast Shafts’ product line includes transmission slip yokes, center sections for Ford 9″ rear ends, ring-and-pinion sets, bearings, spools, gears, shim kits, and quick-change gears. The company sells all of the aforementioned through many major U.S. racing retailers, chassis builders, and warehouses, as well as globally.
“A guy ordered a driveshaft and said he was from Luxembourg,” Fagen said. “We found out he was building Mustang race cars in Germany. We got the driveshaft to him in three days and he was ecstatic. He ordered 20 more.”
The Plan Going Forward
Pat Fagen will now spend more time doing what he loves — hitting the road.
“We need to get Pat out into the field to maintain and gain relationships,” Kaplan said. “It’s what he wants to do and it’s what I want him to do.”
Fagen’s first assignment begins at the end of January. He’ll take the Fast Shafts trailer to De Leon Springs, Florida to Volusia Speedway Park for the beginning of Florida Speedweeks. As Fagen begins his next leg on his journey in racing, he looks to not only travel more, but also mentor the next generation at Fast Shafts.
“I’m 65 years old — 30 years have passed since I began this business,” Fagen said. “I love what I do, but it’s time to pass the baton to a younger man with his heart in racing. I’ll teach him what he needs to be successful in this business.”
Fast Shafts by Axle Exchange, Inc.
Des Moines, Iowa
This year marks the Outside Groove Director of Photography’s 51st year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.