Pat Loy: Performance Bodies Fixture Retires on Friday

Pat Loy: Performance Bodies Fixture Retires on Friday

After 41 years in the racing industry, Pat Loy, will retire on Friday. That will conclude his long tenure at Performance Bodies.

Pat Loy began his career there on November 1, 1982. However, his roots in the sport go back earlier when he worked Sunday nights at the now-defunct Tunis Speedway in Waterloo, Iowa.

“My parents took me there when I was five years old,” Loy said. “As I got older, I got more involved. I sold pop, then Hawkeye Racing News for Keith Knaack. I made good money — twenty-five cents a copy.”

Loy first met Performance Bodies’ Scott Braun while in high school. Braun invited him to come to the races.

“Scott said, ‘Let’s build a race car,’ and we did,” said Loy. “It was a ’67 Camaro for the roadrunner class. We worked on it together and he won quite a few races and championships.”

In 1982, Loy and Braun worked out of a three-stall garage, forming a business that was to become a major supplier of motorsports parts. They concentrated on stock cars and helped Knaack and Larry Sommerfelt build the first bodies of what were to become IMCA modifieds.

“We were not visionaries — we never realized how the modifieds would take off,” Loy said. “We saw some of the first cars in most divisions — have regular car seats, then fiberglass seats, which were scary as hell, and then to the full-containment seats we see today. Most of the changes in the industry involved safety — they were welcomed changes.”

The changes weren’t only confined to the products, but the business has also evolved.

“We’re in our third building now, and the growth of the business has been a lot of fun over the years,” said Loy. “We were down in the floodlands at first, and that got us thinking sideways. There were tough economic challenges. The Covid pandemic saw our large warehouse cleared out. We were busy, and our suppliers couldn’t keep up. Now, we’ve leveled off back to normalcy.”

The customers’ needs have also changed.

“We started off with body panels and branched out into more and more parts,” Loy said. “As the classes evolved, we stocked suspension parts, motors, and wheels. Racers could make body panels, but they couldn’t make a Wilwood brake pedal or a fuel cell. We got into those types of parts heavy, but we still do a lot of noses.”

Loy, 64, made his retirement known to his coworkers and a succession plan has been underway.

“My age is no secret,” said Loy. “Filling my shoes will be a good staff of racers — smart people like Koty Benhart and Joel Rust, who I have been working with. I’ll still be only a phone call away.”

After he officially retires, Loy and his wife have a plan.

“We bought a camper and will see a lot of America that we hadn’t seen before,” Loy said. “It is hard to take a month off to go somewhere when you have a demanding job.”

Pat Loy understands that retired life will require an adjustment.

“Racing has always been a part of me,” said Loy. “I love the industry. It has been a really fun ride. I don’t really want to quit — but it’s time. I want to be able to take a long vacation, come and go as I please, and do what I want to do. I guess you can say I want to be a kid again.”