Following the 1963 racing season, the Nebraska Modified Racing Association (NMRA) changed its rules to allow supermodifieds. “Speedy” Bill Smith immediately set about building “The Roadster.” Based on a design by Greg Weld, the roadster applied many engineering elements of Indy 500 roadsters of the day, with the engine offset to the left and the driver offset to the right.
With Lloyd Beckman turning the wheels, The Roadster won with regularity throughout the Midwest, easily capturing the 1964 NMRA title. Beckman drove the Speedway Motors roadster with great success at Knoxville, Topeka, Eagle, Lincoln, Kansas City, Sioux Falls and many other tracks.
They also competed with the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) and the Big Car Racing Association (BCRA).
The Roadster was the catalyst for one of the most famous Bill Smith/Lloyd Beckman episodes in Speedway Motors history. At the 1965 North Central Kansas Free Fair in Belleville, Beckman was comfortably leading the feature race, when the white flag was displayed Lloyd mistook it for the yellow flag and slowed down.
As second place Grady Wade whizzed by, Beckman realized his mistake, but it was too late and he finished in the runner-up position. Bill was so mad he fired Beckman on the spot and left him in Belleville. Smith was further infuriated when he arrived back in Lincoln only to find Lloyd had hitched a ride with another team and beat Smith home!
Don Brown drove the Speedway Motors roadster during the 1965 Nebraska State Fair and was very impressed with the way it handled, coming from 35th to finish 3rd. He then got the idea to build an updated version after talking to Greg Weld and Joe Saldana. These new cars became the famous “Mechanical Rabbit” sprint cars of which only three were built.
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