LINCOLN, Neb. (January 13, 2000) - One of the best short track drivers ever to don a helmet passed away this week. Lloyd Beckman of Lincoln, Neb., was born May 6, 1927, and nearly a century later, his presence will be missed but his mark will forever be left on generations of sprint car drivers and fans everywhere.

Beckman began his racing career in 1949 and quickly became a force to be reckoned with. Driving Bill Smith's Modified Sedan no. 4X, he won the Nebraska Modified Racing Assoc. championship in 1960 and 1961, winning 16 features in a row during the two-year span.

When the NMRA converted to Supermodifieds, Beckman adapted quickly. He won championships in 1964 with Smith, 1966 with Charlie Williams and Gary Swenson, 1968 and 1969 with Larry Swanson and again in 1971 with Smith.

Beckman finished second in the 1966 Knoxville Nationals and won ten features in a row en route to the season's NMRA title that year.

In 1977, at the age of 50, he stopped Doug Wolfgang's 10-race winning streak at Knoxville.

Five years later in 1982, Beckman again sported the Speedway Motors colors and captured the Track Championship at his hometown Midwest Speedway. He retired following the 1983 season with the record for career feature wins at both Midwest Speedway and Eagle (Neb.) Raceway.

The legendary racer was inducted into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1999, and is a current induction nominee for the 2000 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa.

Funeral arrangements are planned at Wyuka Cemetery, 3600 "O" St., Lincoln, Neb., on Monday, Jan. 17, at 1 p.m.

The family has requested that race fan memorials be sent to:

National Sprint Car Hall of Fame c/o Tom Schmeh One Sprint Capital Place Box 542 Knoxville, IA 50138