Hotrod & Restoration Magazine and the Petersen Automotive Museum have announced that "Speedy" Bill Smith, Founder and Owner of Speedway Motors, will be the eighth recipient of the prestigious Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award.
This annual award recognizes significant contributions to the business and hobby of hot rodding and restoration. It will be presented at the 11th Annual Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show, which takes place March 12-14, 2009 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. The award presentation is part of the Grand Opening Breakfast, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 13.
This is the first time the Petersen Award has been presented to an individual whose impact on the industry was made from somewhere other than Southern California. Smith founded Speedway Motors in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska in 1952, turning his passion for racing and hot rodding into a fulltime vocation. From humble beginnings, Smith built Speedway Motors into one of the largest retailers and manufacturers of performance parts for street rods and race cars. Known as America's Oldest Speed Shop?, Speedway Motors was also an early pioneer in the use of mail-order service in the automotive aftermarket.
"Robert Petersen's wish was that 'Speedy' Bill receive this honor," said Dick Messer, Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum. "Bill's success is a reflection of his passion for hot rodding and racing. He has made so many contributions to hot rodding - in racing, business and on a personal level - and he continues to give back to the hobby in so many ways."
"We are proud that 'Speedy' Bill Smith will receive the 2009 Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award," said Travis Weeks, Group Publisher for Hotrod & Restoration. "Bill built his company from the ground up and has found tremendous success through a combination of hard work, ingenuity and exceptional customer service. It's an honor to be recognizing such a dedicated individual."
In addition to the success of Speedway Motors, "Speedy" Bill Smith has campaigned a variety of champion race cars - everything from roaring roadsters to dragsters, NASCAR stock cars, modifieds and sprint cars. He also introduced many innovative products to the hot rod market, including some of the first fiberglass bodies and T-bucket body-and-frame packages. More recently, he developed the Signature Series '32 roadster, a fully assembled all-steel street rod requiring only an engine, transmission and exhaust to complete.
Smith has provided support and leadership through his active participation in industry organizations, including the Specialty Equipment Market Association, Performance Warehouse Association, National Street Rod Association, and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association. He continues to give back to the hot rodding community with the Smith Collection Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, Nebraska, an incredible facility dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of automotive performance.
At age 79, "Speedy" Bill Smith can still be found in his office every day at Speedway Motors. Smith's wife, Joyce, also remains actively involved in the business, as do the couple's four sons - Carson, Craig, Clay and Jason. For more information on "Speedy" Bill or Speedway Motors, visit www.speedwaymotors.com.
The Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented annually since 2002. Previous recipients include Carroll Shelby, George Barris, Vic Edelbrock, the Ford family and Alex Xydias. For more information on the award or on the 2009 Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show, visit www.hotrodshow.com.