A Look into Great Racing History: Pat Fagen’s Hall of Fame Induction & Fast Shafts’ Journey

A Look into Great Racing History: Pat Fagen’s Hall of Fame Induction & Fast Shafts’ Journey

This week Kate announced Jimmy Schiltz as her co-host for the Racing Insiders Podcast. Jimmy is Kate’s co-organizer for the CARS Racing Show. Together, they welcomed Pat Fagen of Fast Shafts for an interview.

Pat has been an exhibitor at the CARS Racing Show for several years. FastShafts can be found in Booth 408, where they will have products on display and be there to answer any driveshaft questions you may have.

A few topics covered in this interview include:

  • Pat’s Induction into Iowa Racing Hall of Fame
  • Racing Adventures
  • A Journey from CV Drive Axles to Racing Success
  • From Supplier Challenges to Carbon Fiber Success
  • FastShafts Beginnings

Pat’s Induction into Iowa Racing Hall of Fame (1:27)

It’s one of those things that just doesn’t quite sink in, you know, I’ve been in my lifestyle for 30 plus years and done what I do. And I’ve grown a little business that started from nothing to what Fast Shafts is today. And it’s just like I was speaking with you earlier, I had a nice speech for me to talk about up there. But I realized that most everybody that was getting up there talking, they were short and sweet and brief, you know, so I kind of froze, and I was short and sweet. But it I’m really not even sure it’s still settled in because I still as I was just up in Syracuse, New York and I had a handful of people there in New York congratulate me for being inducted into the Hall of Fame, which you know, it’s an honor, it’s a it’s a very humbling experience. And I just I’m really not sure that you haven’t been, you know, I guess. I guess somebody thought I was or some people thought I was so here I am. I’m a Hall of Famer. So it’s kind of a neat thing.

Racing Adventures (3:03)

Well, I started back in probably the middle to late 70s. When I worked for Bagnall who’s from Des Moines, Iowa car dealer and he was a good friend of Jack House being between Jack House being Tommy Spagnola. You know, they had racers come through, you know Tommy’s Joe Merrifield, Ramos Stott, Dave Chase, and that’s how I actually met Robert Lawton from the you know, the Boom Speedway was back in the 70s. And so Tommy, let me explain. Oh, he we were at some Enduro thing at the Iowa State Fair Speedway and we left there and he said, I want to build one of those cars. We got an old 1973 Plymouth Duster with a little six cylinder automatic and we jazzed it all up and made an Enduro car, Tommy went out and did it and next week, he goes, You know, I want you to drive this Pat, you know, so I started driving Enduro cars and and then when I got into the salvage business in 19 82 I started fooling around with go I got pretty good at go karts and you know, most go kart races were in Iowa here where they were held with our state fair. I always found inside of a little you know, there was a lot of circle track dirt racers that were there. So I got to you know, rubbing elbows with all the dirt racers and, and I always yard days, you know, that’s how I promoted the salvage yard. I would just let a racer come in. I just say, hey, go out back. Get what you need. Take whatever part you need because back in the 80s most race cars were salvage yard parts and So you know before I know it I got my pap fig in the champagne auto salvage name on about 59 racecars in the state of Iowa, you know, so then I started sponsoring a young man and we actually had the first Bob Harris house car you know, the, the Harris auto racing when Bob was up in independent die many moons ago. So after that little thing was over, I just I ran into an old engine builder up in Polk City, Iowa. His name is John Harmon then saw me go karts. And he goes, I want to build your stock car. So he built me a stock current, we raced at the Iowa State Fair Speedway, and he goes, kind of go to boot. And he said, I’m gonna, so he built another one. And, and so I had to stock cars and, you know, shoot, back in the late 80s. All I had to do is show up as driving to race cars. It was a good time. And John built a lot of motors for a lot of racers throughout the country and only build them for, for who’s, you know, in Iowa, he’s Ryan Gosling, his father built him for Mark Elliott, who was the founder of Terminator chassis. The names go on and on. Then I got into got out of the stock cars and John and I put together modified we bought a Harris. I got claimed one night and we will go into that story. But about that time about that time, but the time I got claimed was when my drive shaft business was strong. And I agree with John was if I got claimed I had to go claim another motor. So I just didn’t feel good about racing with my customers and claiming their motor. So we got I think in the early 2000s, maybe, maybe late 2000 2008 2009, a bunch of US business guys in Des Moines decided we want to do something the IMC world. So we put together a little truck series, you know, the dirt truck Racing Association. So basically a dirt truck is a car with a truck body. So I raced that. Think I’m pretty sure it was 2008 2009. Maybe, probably before that, because I think I read like 10 years and I was happy. I had fun. I was a low budget racer, was one of the most fun nights I ever had was I passed Carl Moyer a fair Speedway and turn number four, and I passed him for the checkered flag and and I went into turn number one to slow down to pull into the infield. So they attacked us and I can get behind and it was as I pulled inside and Carl Moyer come over and he goes, Gosh, darn it, Patti said I’m so sorry. I ran into you. I thought it was a white flag and I goes, Are you kidding me? And I grabbed him and you know, Carl was pretty hefty boy, I grabbed him and hugged him and lift him off the ground like this girl. It doesn’t matter to me. I said, you can hit me you can get rolling. Catch me. Here, I just beat your ass. That was that was probably one of the most, and I would win, you know, once or twice a year. And then in one of his trucks. I actually won three races that year. And it was fun. And then I think it was about May of 2018. I was in the heat race. And I was I knew Brett Maurier Carlson was behind me and I did not want him to Bathory so I was driving for everything. And the lower control arm broke, and I hit the wall doing about 80 miles an hour. And so So I sat back and looked at the track and the very next year because they had put me on the board of truck series and the very next year, we were going to implement the 604 crate motor that everybody had to run. And I’d looked at the truck and I thought I’m taking about 3000 And I’m gonna have to spend, you know, six $7,000 to put a crate Lawrence said, I think I’d better concentrate on my business. It’s probably one of the best things I did. I mean, a fun race. And it gave me that hands on experience and it it made some of the things that I was telling racers more viable that they understood and and, you know, so in the early 2000s I started video on racecars underneath suspensions. I got really, really cool videos I have to share them with you someday. But one of the greatest things is i i Actually videoed a Powerglide transmission exploded under Webster City speedway. I mean it’s really really cool so so yeah, I’ve been at racetracks I’ve been under race cars I’ve helped are my favorite stories while cvrp was when see weapon first came to the United States and probably about 20 years ago. Me and a buddy of mine was in Memphis, Speedway, Kitson, right in front Hot Laps I walked by and this guy was loading his car up in this big, beautiful orange Hauler. And it was what do you guys do? Because we blew the motor. And you came all the way from Canada and you don’t have an extra motor? Because while there’s only two of us, I get that thing out here. What will change it and so we rolled the car out we and we get it changed. I told Steve to get in the car and get his belts on. I dropped the distributor and I’m setting the timing up and we’re warming the motor happened. And it starts off care. So I took my thoughts, put them over the valve covers, you know, to kind of calm down some of the smoke. And she said you can’t do that. I go yes, I can there my tax from that. Steve and I have been very, very cold for him. So yeah, I’ve been around race. And I’ve actually raised and I’ve spent many, many hours working on race cars.

A Journey from CV Drive Axles to Racing Success (11:43)

I started building the CV drive axle. And that’s where the name Axle Change came from. In 1982. June of 1992. I started right. So my 1963, Galaxy convertible for $6,000. And I went out and I bought $6,000 For the front wheel drive, drive axle. And I started going around town to everybody that had a hoist in town and fair to hand out business cards. And next thing you know, I had to hire my older brother. To be a delivery guy. We’re delivering. Sold everybody in town rebuild CV drive axels, because in the early 90s, that was the thing. I mean, a lot of front wheel drive cars. Were starting to throw your problems and Oh, yeah. And, and, and I think I was still involved in racing then. And I think it was Todd Shoot, you know, he goes, You need to start. And, you know, there’s a legend in Iowa Dave Ferran. I’m sure you’ve probably heard that name.

He was building drive shafts, you know, on the floor of his garage. And another good example is another inductee this year was Danny Wallace. I mean, Danny Wallace drive shaft on the floor. And that’s about the time things were changing from a two link system to a three link system. And shit was starting to move around underneath these race cars. And we were having so i i, to one of my jobs, I mean, back up a little bit in 1989, I left my salvage yard and went to work for a company called certify. So I had met a lot of people in the United States and Alaska and Canada and Australia that you know, I sold driveshaft components to well, so when I left that company in the company, you know, one of my relationships from California stuck and his name was Leon Eddings from lease driveshaft and Ignacio California, invited me out because I thought about building friendships with him. So he invited me out. I spent a whole month out there with him learning how to build drive shafts in Chinese early, late 92, early 93. And he had this great big huge lathe, I mean, he would build drive shafts on all day, but he would also some current drive shaft balancer that he was balancing them on. Because you know, panish I’d like to have you I’d like to give you that lay there he goes on you just can’t give up he goes yeah, you’re gonna happen. Are you kid me because nobody, you got to figure out how to get at home, you know? 1000 rounds. So I got hooked up with a trucking company and cost me $500 To get this lady from California so but anyway Todd driving I think stock cars them and and so he was probably one of my first customers and I started lightening up for dynamic jokes because a lot of the for dining jokes they were they were out of balance they were they were poor cashed in from the get go and and Todd shoots I built him a driveshaft and I gone to whisk to shaft balancer. I bought it from a company in California called power trains industries, but they were they were built in Wisconsin and I was the bid to get this balance just went up and got it myself rather than fooling around with him. Send it to me so I built a driveshaft for Todd and had this thing vibrating, same problem I’ve always had and so I rebounds the driveshaft and put it back in and still still had a vibration. So I think it was bringing the car so I had a hoist, put it up on the voice. Notice this 90 choke, I mean, it was just wobbling as it’s turning. So I took the yoke off the car, and I put it in the lathe and I, I cut about three pounds out of this show. But I made it true when we put it back in and that fixed it. And, you know, that was kind of the beginning of the fast shaft name. You know, Todd, you know, he told me he kept telling me God, this thing. The thing is fast. And, you know, I everything was just kind of history after that. I mean, I can blabber on about the history of my company for hours.

From Supplier Challenges to Carbon Fiber Success (20:54

I started buying driveshaft from another supplier in the deep southeast. And I’m not going to name any names. I’m just not that guy but and he was giving me a good deal and had a customer in Illinois call me he goes hey, I got a lot of horsepower, one of them carbon fiber driveshaft. Okay, so I sold it. And about a week back, hey, pathway and twist it out, you know, the, the glue didn’t hold. So I said, Alright, send it back to me, I’ll get it fixed. So I sent it back to the guy in the Deep South. To me, and I send it back to my customer. Sure enough, the same problem happened again. So about the fourth time, my supplier and deep Southie charged. I go, she can’t do that. That’s not my problem. Why? How can you charge me when it’s not my problem. And I think that was about 2010. And I think that forced me to figure out how to do it on my own. And so we started with a company that built carbon fiber to Wisconsin. And things are going real good. We built a lot of dry house, I think we built like, in 2012, I think I built five carbon fiber. You know, the next 2013 I built like 150. And then in 2015, I had me in the supplier and counsel and got crossed this agreement. And I had just given my supplier in Wisconsin a blanket order for the whole year of 2015. Send me this much to be that way, I don’t have to order it and call you and get in panic orders. You know, so just send me this once every month. And I know I got it, you know, I need it. We’re all we’re all happy. Well, my supplier decided to set up another individual in my area. And it was in the middle of 2015 that goes Hey, why are you going to you know, there’s a reason General Motors puts one Chevrolet dealership in a small town and that’s all they let in that small town. And so the GM can support that DRC support me at all. They said no, sorry, we got to sell to them. So I I said okay, no problem. Well, I’m gonna honor my gentleman’s agreement on my blanket order. And come January next year, I went with another company a CPT in California. Truth be known AAPT was probably the drove the carbon fiber. They were building carbon fiber driveshaft, you know, 20 years ago for Scott Bloomquist. I mean, that was their that was their guy, Scott Bloomquist. I mean, that’s part of the whole thing and they grew in the aeronautical world and the military world and why they continue to fool with me I have no idea because you know you have grant we’re probably gonna build 1900 carbon fiber driveshaft in a year and granted that’s that’s a good pretty good chunk of money for them but I gotta think the astronaut world you know, a lot more than me but but that’s kind of how we got into it and we’ve made some mistakes along the way but we I’ve always had in the back of my mind that I need to build a good product for a company or an individual because I’m going to walk around racetrack so that’s one does have some upside the head of the driveshaft failed, you know, especially on 2002 When racetrack and, you know, they they had my drive shaft failed and when the last lap that really upsets people. So yeah, that’s kind of how we got into the carbon fiber business, you know, and I think we we have a very rare, low low low failure rate. I mean, I don’t I don’t think I’ve ever heard from you, Kate on a failure of one of the drive shafts you bought from us.

FastShafts Beginnings (31:49)

I think a lot of it stems from when I became a sponsor, my MCA and they invited me come to the boom Speedway and I’m sitting there thinking to myself, gosh, what am I gonna do I need to take a support trip and, but but I have an hour and a half home, and then drive an hour and a half up there. And, and, you know, because some sometimes, I mean, we’ve reached all three and four in the morning that the balloons between, you know, I couldn’t fathom doing it. I bought an old Itasca camper, and I hooked the trailer onto it and drove it up there. And in back in the day when I started doing I mean, I tasked a camper, hardly anything worked on the frigerator didn’t work on it. So I took it out and went to appliance store and bought a little frigerator stuffed in that home. You know, I just, I I learned that. I learned that it was very important for me to be there. As late as I could be. One worried about moving speedways I was talking to Dan Lee from California over the weekend right before the boom, supranational restarting and let the modifieds just on Monday night and and I talked to Dan Lee Saturday and Sunday about changing your drawings and blah blah, blah. And I get this call it Trowa myself and Lee, he’s in panic body. He said Pat, I need your help. I need your help. I tried to change you during I just keep messing it up. I was worrying and he goes well I’m I’m just fine on the speedway properties to the cornfield. So I hopped on my golf cart when you joined my tools and zipped out there and change that up. And it just kind of taught me something that I think it’s important to be there when they want you I mean whether whether it’s working on the drive shaft or sitting in a lawn chair, listening to their horror stories about drive shafts, three in the morning for them we on if somebody beaten on my motorhome door at seven o’clock in the morning, because most races they wake up they racecar down you know they don’t have four in the afternoon but this guy needs a drive shaft at seven o’clock in the morning. And I think it’s important for me to do that. So I built a couple of these trailers over my time to Kevin Gunn Decker’s track at Tri city and had a great time down there the modified mania and then I started traveling the east of the Mississippi. I did. I did, you know four or five races and, and and I just found out that the relationships that you build doing that, you know, staying at the racetrack last year or three in the morning. You know, I think it was important and you know I been to humble. I’ve been to the Wheatley On Speedway at the Lucas Oil Speedway I’ve been there since the inception of the place and you know, the closest motel to extract is 40 miles. I think I want to do is leave there at one o’clock in the morning, you know driving through the middle of nowhere, Missouri where the deer are running across the highway and I just important for me to be there at the racetrack. You know, and, you know, whether it be some clown won tonight. I mean, even evolution I’ve I’ve taken them to Volusia for the last 15 years. And, you know, that’s where my relationship with Nick coffin started. That’s where my relationship with Justin Allgaier started and, you know, on and on. I mean, I’ve met great. I mean, I met Jackie Boggs. I mean, Jack Boggs, from Jackie Boggs from that evolution when I became a good human. I can just read after stories after stories. I mean, Ron Hornaday and I became good friends, you know, down there at the Volusia Speedway and by the room and I mean, me and him are like, Father, I mean, we have such time together. And we sat and chat about racing in old times. And one of the times I was down there, I realized this is probably not a racing story. I shouldn’t. I sat in my motorhome in junior Nolan from two brothers more motorsports from St. clairsville. Ohio. He him and I sat outside and chatted till about 230 I gotta go to bed. And I just got to sleep and somebody’s pounding on my motorhome door. So stupid me. You know, I get up I go answering. It’s Kenny Schrader swing the door open an email, everybody. He’s awake. Hornaday and their wives and Kenny wealthy. On set my motor home till 630 In the morning, they drink every ounce. Every Yeah, so And Kenny, Kenny Schrader will never let me let live that down. I mean, I’ve got a couple other good stories about Schrader but, but that’s, that’s, I think that’s what’s put me a step ahead of everybody. I mean, nobody else drags a driveshaft trailer around, you know, the United States. You know, my wife has asked us to ask me how much money you make this weekend. Not much. It goes, Well, is it really worth going? Because yeah, I think it’s worth going because I was in relationships and, and from that time, she kept pushing me to go out and she She kept telling me you need to go out you need to go out you need to go out and I mean, I traveled a lot of miles. I mean, I’ve been to South Dakota, Minnesota. Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia. I mean, I’ve heard that trailer a lot of miles and I think it’s what made my company what it is today because of all the relationships that I’ve created when somebody needed a huge oil change, okay, so it’s a $20 deal, but you know, I saved that guy that night, you know, and he’ll go home and he’ll tell all his friends at some guy from got me a quick story about Justin auger before UMP allowed carbon fiber Justin auger came to Blue went out laughs and then they had they had to take their car through tech and Kelly, I can’t spell his last name or say a kovarsky or whatever his name is his crew he walked over to my training I have a couple of 33 inch steel driveshaft Are you gonna go? Yeah, I got four of them with me because you got what four of them? He goes, nobody runs a 33 illustrations. I know. I said, I plan for the weird. That’s that’s, you know, Justin Allgaier. Today he’s got a fast chef’s, you know, embroidered on on the shoulder, it was driveshaft suit. And Mike Allgaier, and the whole family from whose retirement Wesam become pretty good friends. So I think from that relationship in that solution, I think it brought all that to us.

The roots of Fast Shafts stem back to over thirty years ago when Pat Fagen started an axle repair business. It wasn’t long before he realized the demand for a reliable driveshaft builder. Fast Shafts is the result of many years spent testing, innovating, and building driveshafts for street vehicles and the motorsports community. As of today, Fast Shafts is a premier manufacturer of performance driveshafts that supplies race teams and motorsport distributors throughout the United States. They are located in Des Moines, Iowa.

FastShafts can be found online at, or on Facebook and Twitter.