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Jess (MacKichan) Gasper's Articles
Jess (MacKichan) Gasper
Member since Feb 10 2017

Jess grew up a car kid. Always going to car shows and swap meets, there always had a car project in the shop. Attending Americruise when it came to Lincoln, and making trips to the Speedway Motors parts counter with her dad, Jess feels lucky to have been born into the car world.

Living in the country outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, Jess and her siblings spent summer days playing with Hot Wheels in the tree lines and in the shop helping their dad on various projects. In 1988, a Bonneville streamliner took over their lives and dominated his time and energies. The race car fully integrated into the day-to-day; the family even celebrated our young birthdays with the race car team... eating cake on the trailer with the many young gear heads from their dad's work or from UNL's engineering department. Everyone had jobs to do, like "find me six more of these bolts," or pulling tape from the fiberglass molds or holding the light. Jess and her twin sister were six, and little arms can get into little spaces, so they were tasked with cleaning out the fuel and water tanks for the streamliner. An all-hands-on-deck sort of family, it didn't matter if you were a boy or girl or young or old, there was work that needed to be done and only so many days before the next trip to the salt flats.

From then on, summer vacations were spent on the salt flats in Utah, trying to break land speed records. Being so young, Jess had no idea how lucky they were to be involved in land speed racing. When finally able to put into words what it meant, Jess joked about how our classmates thought driving their farm truck over 90 MPH was fast. "No, 350 MPH is fast. Your truck is not fast."

Jess set her sights on working for Speedway Motors as a career path really young and charted her path here through graphic design. She loved Speedway's catalogs and there were always plenty to study in the family shop. A high school art class taught the program basics. Jess dove in deeper as a member of Skills USA/VICA in high school and competed in graphic design at the State competition in 2000 and 2001.

In the meantime, Jess worked in receiving all through high school, and on the Speedway Motors website and at the Museum of American Speed through college. Graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2006 with a Fine Arts degree, the Smiths made a place for her in the Advertising Department. From there, Jess grew up alongside Speedway. Very small teams grew into large departments and new positions were developed to focus energies where the industry and technology dictated. She floated to where she was needed. As departments grew and were restructured, the Creative Department found its home within Marketing. Today, Jess is the Production Manager in Marketing, helping turn ideas into reality.

Working alongside her dad on the '33 coupe has had a profound impact on Jess. She attributes much of her life to the fact her mom raised strong, independent daughters who take care of themselves and handle any situation with grace and confidence.

The family streamliner retired in 2010 and is now on display at the Museum of American Speed. To this day, Jess rarely misses a car show. "Vintage Torquefest in Dubuque, Iowa, is a great low-key event with tons of things to do. It's quite a drive from Lincoln, and about every other year it's snowy or wet, but it's great fun." Her family also attends the Hot Rod Hill Climb in Central City, Colorado; "It's also a family-friendly event with tons to do. And if your car is period correct, you get to race up the pass with crowds cheering you on."

Jess built her garage and a 1933 5-Window Coupe with her father, John MacKichan. Her garage also hosts her husband’s 1931 Model A and his many motorcycles, including his grandfather’s 1975 Moto Guzzi.

  • Jess was recognized in Rod Authority as a Leading Lady in 2014. SEMA gave her recognition as a SEMA 35 Under 35 winner in 2016. To top it off, she was on Speedway Motors Bucket Beauties build team.

Jess (MacKichan) Gasper's Articles

12/21/2021
Like many of you, our New Year's resolutions often involve car projects. Jess Gasper tells us about a hot rod roadster project that followed her home and is going to keep her busy in the year ahead!
10/8/2021
For 95 years, Garton Toy Co. was the largest wheel goods toy factory in the world. Follow this guide on how to identify various Garton vintage pedal cars including the Kidillac and Tin Lizzy.
4/27/2021
Hot rod moms work hard to keep traditions alive.
8/24/2020
Jess Gasper's coupe was built with her dad, and it's been in the family for a long time. Check out her story in this episode of the Employee Rides.
7/30/2020
Learn how to assemble our Model A pedal car. Jess Gasper leads you through the process and shares her experience as well as tips and tricks.
6/15/2020
Learn about the defining differences between 1933 and 1934 Fords, including interior and exterior differences.
4/10/2020
This Model A coupe was built with family, friends, and a lot of heart.
1/17/2020
Learn the step by step process of how to use 3X Chemistry Rust Converter to restore your vintage piece.
10/2/2019
Read about the wheel and tire combination that was chosen for a 1931 Model A Coupe. Learn tips for choosing wheels and tires and how to complete the installation.
6/14/2019
From the Model A coupe body to the dropped axle and chrome OEM wheels. This car project is a basic, but cool traditional hot rod. Comparable to the American Graffiti coupe. Read more on how to start planning your hot rod car build.
4/18/2019
Preventative maintenance is crucial for hot rods. In this article, Jess shows you how to place a front wheel cylinder on an early Ford.
9/24/2018
Speedway's own Jess MacKichan ran her hot rod '33 Ford up the mountain at this year's Hot Rod Hill Climb in Colorado! Here's her report, along with some great photography that will make you wish you had been there!
8/1/2018
Are you a collector of automotive signs? This is a DIY project where you will learn how to convert a hardwired sign to a plug in. Jess M. explains each step to get the job done!
5/4/2018
Jess M. gives you a step by step process on how to apply vinyl graphics to your pedal car. Each step is explained through pictures and detailed instructions.
3/1/2018
Jess walks you through a t-shirt pillow DIY project. This is a great way to re use those favorite tees of yours instead of throwing them out.
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