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Speedway History From Those Who Were There


On Day Five of Racer Appreciation week, we thought it might be great to sit down and talk with some former employees. Bob Mays introduces us to Bob Anderson, Larry Kruse, and Marty Bassett.

Bob Anderson starts by telling us about how he started with Speedway Motors in 1961. While enjoying his down time after a 6-month active duty rotation in the U.S. Air Force, Bill Smith called him and asked him to come in and help him out for a few days. Six and half years later, he was still there. Bob left in 1967 to make room for as he called it “Bill and Joyce’s 4 fast growing boys”, but came back several years ago to be a part of the Museum of American Speed.

Larry Kruse started with Speedway Motors “back in the day” building hot rods, and the one that consumed most of his time was a T-Bucket that still lives in the Museum today. Larry spent about three or four years with the company back then doing a multitude of various duties, and has fond memories of his time with Speedway Motors. After he left Speedway, he sold the car he had built to a guy he knew, who in turn sold it to a guy who took it to California. Long story short, the California owner sold it back to “Speedy” Bill, and it now lives in the Museum.

Marty Bassett started in 1958, building street rods and wishing he could afford a race car. In typical “Speedy” Bill fashion, Bill decided he needed another set of hands that knew what they were doing in an adjacent muffler shop. So Marty started out building headers and exhaust work. Marty looks back fondly at his time spent with Bill, who became a mentor and teacher in addition to being a friend. Marty remembers when Bill bought one of the first TIG welders in the state, and Bill sent him to Colorado for training on the machine. There were even a few rounds of hirings and firings during Marty’s 30 or so years with the company.

The guys take some time to reminisce about some of the work that went into the cars they built back then, like the iconic purple sedan you see in the background. They chat a bit about the work that was done to the car, like the several custom engines that lived in the car. Building 302 c.i. engines into winning motors, shipping an entire Pontiac engine in the luggage compartment of a Greyhound bus, all sorts of interesting stories become the topic of conversation.

The guys had a great visit chatting about several topics, and the best way to hear about them all is to watch the video! For more information on the Museum, such as tours, hours, and other information, visit the Museum Of American Speed.

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