Galesburg Speedway Rookie of The Year–Makena Snyder
Brandy, Makena, Madison & Bob Snyder at the Galesburg Banquet Makena was named Galesburg Speedway 2017 Most Improved Driver, Outlaw Burg Stock Class 5th in points, and Rookie of the Year
Makena Snyder is not new to the sport of racing, but she is new to racing against drivers three times her age or more! She comes from a family of race fans and now has fans of her own.
Makena grew up driving 4-wheelers and dirt bikes at a very young age. She started racing when she was 9 years old after attending a Try-N-Ride at Little Kalamazoo Speedway in Kalamazoo, Michigan. To her mother’s surprise, Makena and her dad came home with a quarter midget and that was the beginning of her racing career.
Her biggest worry is that she will be wrecked or hurt due to dirty driving. Brandy said, “Racing is a good family activity. It is something our whole family enjoys that we can do together. We often go to other tracks to watch people we know who are racing, and have made many friends due to the sport.”
Makena began racing in the Outlaw Burg Stock class at Galesburg, (MI) Speedway in April of this year. It took her a few races to get comfortable in the bigger car, but before long she was competing with the veterans.
July 4th, an inexperienced racer had been following Makena around the track in the heat race and bumped her a few times but she finished ahead of him and was ready for the feature. The same driver was behind her in the feature and they were running 5th & 6th when he decided to run her into the wall. Needless to say her car was toast, but thankfully the safety crew at the speedway got to her quickly, got her out of the car and into the ambulance to get checked out, and other than being sore for a few days, was just fine.
By the weekend she had a different car ready to race, a pontiac grand prix, and never looked back. Makena won 4 heat races during the season, finished 5th overall in her class, and was named the 2017 Rookie of the Year for her class, and 2017 Most Improved Driver for Galesburg Speedway. She also raced a few times at the NASCAR Sanctioned Track, Kalamazoo Speedway.
She loves racing because it is exciting and she likes to go fast. She likes to compete against adults on a level playing field, and when she wins, she feels proud of herself for that.
“I’ve had people say to me, wow you are a girl and only 14? It surprises them. I want younger girls to know they can do whatever they want if they work at it and have the support of their family .”
She raced Heavy Honda, Heavy 160 and Unrestricted Animal classes. For the past two years she kept telling her family that when she was 14 she was going to drive a “big car”. Her mother, Brandy Snyder, was not excited about the idea, but her dad and biggest supporter, Bob, knew Makena was serious.
Makena’s mom says her favorite thing about watching her 14 year old daughter race is to see her so confident on the track, and able to compete with people of all ages, most of whom are way older than her.
Makena with a young fan, Faith Wood.
Makena is a freshman at Gull Lake High School. Her sister Madison, who also raced quarter midgets for several years, is 12 years old, and her older brother Andrew is 23. Her niece Alannah, and lots of other family love to go watch her race. She also plays basketball and enjoys watching racing as well. Her favorite food is mac & cheese.
Her favorite family vacation was when her aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins all went to the Lake of the Ozarks, MO one summer.
Her classmates think it’s pretty cool that she drives a race car. She got interested in racing when her uncle had a race car and raced at several area tracks in Michigan, including Kalamazoo and Galesburg.
Her marketing partners this year were The Yogurt Co, SendOutCards, A Cut Above Welding, and her family. Her dad, brother, cousin Caleb,
his friend Jeremy, and some other family friends helped her with her car in the pits, which she was very grateful for.
Makena’s number one goal for next year is to win a feature and keep the car in one piece!
The best piece of advice Makena was ever given was “Never race dirty!”
Makena with her marketing partners, Linda & Brian DeDoes, owners of The Yogurt Co. in Kalamazoo, MI.
Madison Snyder Follows in her Sister’s Footsteps
Makena’s younger sister, Madison, is already looking forward to once again racing against her sister. Five years ago the sisters began their racing careers at Little Kalamazoo Speedway, racing quarter midgets. Next year they hope to both be racing at Galesburg Speedway in Galesburg, MI
When Madison raced she was nervous but also excited to get out on the track. “Winning a race was fun; I was happy and proud.” she said. She made new friends and enjoyed racing against them. She did not race last year, but continued to go to LKS and watch her friends. “I wanted to try some new things this summer, but I still went to watch my friends at LKS quite a bit.”
Madison is looking forward to driving a big car and race with much older people. She told me, “Watching Makena gives me confidence to know that I can race as good as they can, no matter how much older they are than me. I like being a girl and racing in what most people think is a guys sport.”
I have no doubt these sisters will be competing against each other, if not this year, in the future. Regardless, you will find this race family spending every Saturday night at Galesburg Speedway!