In The Big Wheel, Mickey Rooney plays Billy Coy, a garage mechanic who matriculates into a champion race-car driver. On the way to the top, he steps on friends and foes alike. He even manages to briefly alienate his saintly mother (Spring Byington). The cocky Coy eventually kills another racer when he forgets that gas and alcohol don't mix. It takes some doing, but Billy finally redeems himself. The climax blends stock footage of the Indianapolis 500 with newly-lensed racing sequences. The Big Wheel lapsed into public domain in 1976.