What Is the History of Speedway Motors in Lincoln, Nebraska?


Quick Answer

Speedway Motors was founded in 1952 by Bill "Speedy" Smith, who was a racer and street rodder at the time. Since then, the company has become the world's largest manufacturer, distributor and retailer of street rod and racing products. It is America’s oldest speed shop and is a trusted source of specialty rodding, racing products and friendly expert advice. Bill's wife, Joyce, and their four sons are all involved with Speedway's day-to-day operations.

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Full Answer

Smith began racing motorcycles as a teenager in the mid-1940s; he transitioned to car racing in 1948. After graduating in 1952 with a degree in education from Nebraska Wesleyan University, Smith opened Speedway Motors. The company grew quickly, and about a decade later he opened his own fiberglass manufacturing facility, which made street rod and race car bodies and parts.

The 1960s also marked Speedway's arrival as a major player on the local racing scene. In 1968, Smith met a young Californian named Jan Opperman who was looking to race sprint cars. Opperman drove the Speedway sprint car in 1969 and won the Big Car Racing Association championship that same year, bringing Speedway to the national scene. Other important drivers in Speedway's history include Lloyd Beckman, David Wolfgang and Danny Wallace.

In the early 2000s, Speedway purchased a new facility in downtown Lincoln, allowing further expansion of what is recognized as America's oldest, largest, and best speed shop brands.

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