(Tyler, Texas) -- A red and white driver's uniform hangs in the office closet at Tyler Jet Motorsports. But it isn't a uniform for the team's ...
(Tyler, Texas) -- A red and white driver's uniform hangs in the office closet at Tyler Jet Motorsports. But it isn't a uniform for the team's #10 Lycos Pontiac driver Johnny Benson.
The driver uniform is Tim Beverley's.
The owner of the second-year NASCAR Winston Cup team seriously considered driving in an ARCA race late last year at Lowes Motor Speedway - not a normal evening's entertainment for your typical Winston Cup car owner. But Beverley isn't your typical owner.
"It never came about," smiled the 43-year-old Beverley. "I guess the guys in the shop didn't see a whole lot of benefit to building a car that would risk getting the boss hurt. So we kind of shelved that idea for a while."
Although Beverley raced CanAm and other sports cars in the 1980s, and finished fourth in class in the 1989 24 Hours of Daytona. He isn't a professional race car driver, but he has a professional race driver's competitiveness.
It's that competitiveness that enabled him to create one of the largest pre-owned aircraft sales businesses in the world from the humble beginnings of a one-room office in a Texas airplane hanger that didn't even have an indoor restroom.
Beverley is the first to admit he doesn't desire success. He craves it.
"When my kids beat me at their computer games I will sneak back into the living room in the middle of the night just to practice," said the father of an adult daughter, 12-year-old triplets, and stepfather of another 12-year-old boy. "With that many kids in our house you have to be competitive just to survive."
Beverley's success in the airplane business and his desire for future success in the racing world all started in childhood watching airplanes and race cars. Like many, he spent hours as a child sitting at the local airport near his native Bellwood, Illinois home watching airplanes take off and land.
He carried the childhood fascination into adulthood as he earned his pilot's license in the Air Force and took more lessons after returning to civilian life. Not only did he fly; he went to work for Beechcraft selling airplanes.
In the mid-1980s Beverley decided refurbishing pre-owned aircraft made more financial sense than selling new ones. He moved to Tyler Texas where, after working with another airplane firm for 10 months, then he started Tyler Jet Aircraft Sales.
Starting a business is a big step for anyone. Starting a business like that in 1980s Texas surely wasn't for the faint of heart. Land values were falling, banks were in trouble, the oil business was slipping and not a whole lot of people were interested in private airplanes. But Beverley had a winning formula.
"We bought airplanes to overhaul them," said Beverley explaining his business plan. "We put all new interiors and painted the planes plus we did whatever maintenance that needed to be done including overhauling engines. In essence we made 20 year-old planes look new and obviously a used plane costs considerably less than a new plane."
But selling the airplanes was only the first step.
"Our philosophy then and still today is to concentrate on repeat business. Once we sold people an airplane we worked really hard to make sure they were happy with what they bought. We were selling people their second and third airplanes and through word of mouth we attracted even more customers."
The business outgrew the hangar.
Almost 15 years later Tyler Jet Aviation boasts over 150 employees and houses 26 jets and helicopters in four hangers that spread over 225,000 square feet. Customers are entertained in space age offices and boardrooms. Some of those customers include Rick Hendrick, Jim Mattei and Felix Sabates - all Winston Cup car owners.
It was standing on the frontstretch at Indianapolis in 1996 as a guest of Hendrick that Beverley took in the atmosphere of NASCAR racing and decided he wanted to be a part of the sport.
"Looking up and down at all the people in the grandstand I knew right then how bad I wanted in the sport," Beverley said.
"It's amazing the similarities between racing and flying airplanes. Driving and flying are all about doing something by the seat of your pants and feeling the limit. The guys who are the best can't put it in to words. Plus in both businesses you have to market the heck out of them and they are extremely competitive."
Only two years later Beverley returned to Indianapolis, but this time perched on top of the pit wagon as an owner watching his Winston Cup team make its debut. Months before, Beverley bought Darrell Waltrip's team in Harrisburg, N.C. and renamed it Tyler Jet Motorsports.
Since then the race team has slowly added components needed to make it a force in the new century.
Crew Chief James Ince came to Tyler Jet in May of 1999 and the team secured Benson at the beginning of the 2000 season. The team has already made headlines as Benson held the lead at Daytona for 38 laps and then finished sixth at Las Vegas.
"I walked through the shop and saw what Tim and James had put together and I was impressed," Benson said. "Then I talked with Tim and his competitiveness came out. I couldn't believe how strong his desire to succeed in this business was. That is what sold me."
Beverley makes no apologies. Airplanes made Tim Beverley everything he is today. But he quickly points out that racing is where he and wife Dianne plan to spend the next years of their lives.
Beverley is an active part of the team consulting with Ince and Benson on a daily basis and making calls to sponsors as well. Beverley secured Lycos as a sponsor the night before the Daytona 500 turning it into one of the biggest sponsor stories of the year.
"It's part of the job," he said. "Just like airplanes, selling our race team to sponsors and treating them well after the sale is how we are going to make our team a success on and off the track as well."
And when Benson starts visiting Victory Lane on a regular basis, who knows, his new boss might dust off the uniform in the closet and just might give that ARCA race a shot.
Tim Beverley Highlights
Name: Tim Beverley
Experience: Purchased Darrell Waltrip's team in 1998 and renamed it Tyler Jet Motorsports.
Date of Birth: June 22,1956
Weight: 220 lbs.
Born: Bellwood, Ill
Resides: Tyler, Texas
Family: wife Dianne, children: Alaina 24, Austin 12, Brent 12, Cristin 12, and stepson Christopher 12.