They say everything’s big in Texas, and that could not be more true about Ben Keating. Perhaps best known for being the largest Viper dealer in the world, or maybe as being the number one volume F-series dealer in the nation, Ben Keating has built an empire of dealerships that is as solid as his southerly ways.
Born into a family of Ford dealers, Keating tried to steer away from the business, telling himself he wanted nothing to do with cars. But after earning an industrial engineering degree from Texas A&M, and spending a summer interning at a financial services company where he visited dealers weekly, Keating realized that if these guys were his competition, this was the business he wanted to be in.
From there, the now 45-year old Texan launched his plan. First buying into a Ford store, and then a Dodge Chrysler Jeep store, Keating has amassed a bevy of dealerships that boast 15 brands, which sold 25,000 new and used vehicles in 2015.
But if being a successful dealer-operator is his forte, then car racing has become his passion. When his wife gave him a racing experience for Christmas in 2005, Keating was exposed to a world he never knew existed. And he was hooked.
As his skills and confidence blossomed, Keating quickly moved from weekend warrior to professional driver, racing his beloved Dodge Viper. Keating has been privileged to have competed in such prestigious races as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Grand Prix of Monterey and the Petit Le Mans.
To be sure, Keating is in it to win. Campaigning two Vipers, and employing a small army of engineers, Keating is dead serious about coming out on top. He won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2015, and was sourly disappointed to only finish third in 2016. While most would have considered it a success just to have finished one of the most grueling 24-hour endurance races in the world, Keating is satisfied with nothing less than victory.
Yet, notwithstanding his tremendous success, Keating’s greatest attribute is his southern charm, complete humility and exceptional manners. Ben Keating is a consummate gentleman, always willing to share a story or inspire others in ways they may have never considered.