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Drivers, Start Your Engines


When it comes to the sporting world, there are many that come to mind right away - basketball, soccer, hockey, and the like.
But, one unique sport, which has been in the Valley for more than three decades, and gaining in popularity, is stock car racing.
The Swan Valley Stock Car Club holds races a few weekends each summer, inviting those with a need for speed and some good competition to join in the fun.
“I am so proud to be a part of such a good group of people, that we’ve been able to keep the club going for so long,” said Swan Valley Speedway builder George Lumax, who has been racing off and on for the entire duration of the track.
“When we built the track, I never dreamed it would still be going more than 30 years later.”
Looking back to the very beginning, Glen Maga recalls that safety didn’t play such an important role.
“We just got in the car and drove, but now safety is more of a concern, so there have been some big changes,” he said. “When we started it was just a barrel cut out, and a homemade seatbelt, but now we use racing seats with full containment and five-point harnesses.”
Lumax added that the club has focused on safety for everyone involved, including the spectators.
With a growing club, more and more people are taking the plunge to begin their stock car racing dreams.
“I was at the track every weekend, with my dad, mom and uncle all racing, and my grandma running the concession, but I was a bit chicken to get in the car,” said Taylor Bednarski, who began her third season of racing this summer.
Robert Vessey and Glen Maga also see racing as a family affair, as each of them have a relative competing.
“I started out helping because both of my sons raced, and then eventually I bought my own car,” said Vessey. “I think the best part is racing with my son, but unfortunately, he wins more races.”
Of course, the races are what makes the sport so much fun, and for each person, their focus is on driving a good, clean race, giving their fellow drivers a run for their money.
“The excitement starts as soon as I get into the car and all strapped in,” said Bednarski. “The adrenaline is pumping, and my legs are shaking. It’s just go hard until you see the checkered flag.”
“For me, I just like to drive things,” added Maga. “The thrill is just driving (the car) to the edge to see if you can compete. I just go out to drive the car to its full potential, and if I happen to win, so be it.”
Vessey noted that when the race is on, the goal is just to get ahead and then stay out front.
“It’s all you think about,” he said.”
For each driver, the experience behind the wheel may be a little different, but for each of these four drivers, fun was what continues to bring them back to the track.
“Stock car is just a big group, all joking around and out having a good time,” said Vessey. “But, it helps to be a bit crazy.”
“I have nothing but good memories with the Swan River track,” added Lumax. “There is just a good core group of people that work well together and it’s just awesome.”

Jessica Bergen