The family that races together stays together.
Over the years, the Svoboda family of David City has built somewhat of a racing dynasty and remains a prominent racing force today.
Tom Svoboda and his sons, Austin and Justin, all race across the state, including at U.S. 30 Speedway in Columbus.
Tom competes in both the modified and late model division, Austin runs a modified and Justin races in the sport mod class.
Racing has been in the family since Tom's father, Leander, bought a few cars. While he didn't race himself, he imparted his passion for the sport onto the rest of his family.
Tom has now been racing for 40 years, and has passed on the joy of dirt track competition to his sons.
Austin, who is 24, has been racing for around seven years.
"I like the competition of it," he said. "I’m very competitive. I think it’s that way a little bit with my dad and brother, too. That’s one thing other racers and I have always talked about. Your high school sports and college sports, you can do that one time and you’re done.
"The racing thing you can do your whole life if you want to. There are guys that have done it that long. It’s just something you can continuously go blow off steam and still compete at. I always strive to get to the top and be the best. With my dad racing and my brother racing, it’s just a huge family sport for us."
Last year, Austin competed against Justin in the Sport Mod class, but this year he now competes alongside his dad at US 30 when the track runs the modified division.
"It’s not a lot different," Austin said. "I thought it would be a lot different, racing with my dad versus racing with my brother. It’s a little different just because my dad and brother race a little differently. You wreck your brother and you're like, ‘Oh, he’ll get over it.’ I don’t think I ever did. You wreck your dad you’re going to have to hear about it and you’re probably in some deep trouble over that deal."
Austin said he made to move to the modifieds to test himself as a driver.
"I just moved up to the A-Mod class this year just for something new," he said. "It's a little more of a challenge and seeing what I can do there. It’s been alright. I’ve had a better experience at U.S. 30 Speedway just because I’m so familiar with the track. It was that way in the B-Mod (sport mod), too. I won most of my races in the B-Mod at Columbus. Now in the A-Mod Class, I’ve ran third, fourth, and sixth have been my finishes since we’ve raced there this year."
Justin said having the sport mod division to himself has made it more enjoyable.
"Honestly, it took a lot of stress out of it," Justin said. "Never having to worry about where he was at or what he was doing. If he was in my way or if I was in his way causing conflict between us a little bit. We never wrecked each other, but it’s just a big weight off your shoulders not having to worry about damaging two cars in one race."
While he enjoys having the division to himself, Justin also enjoys that the sport is still a family ordeal.
"I feel like we’re really close because of it," he said. "We spend a lot of time in the shop together, spend a lot of time at the track together. It’s just a lot of fun to be able to hang out with my dad and brother all the time and do something we enjoy."
Nearly a third of the way through the season, Austin and Justin are both racking up the points.
Justin is the current leader in the state of Nebraska and is fifth in the national standings.
Austin is fifth in the rookie national standings and third in the state of Nebraska.
Austin and Tom are both in the top 10 for US 30 Speedway standings in modifieds, and Justin is fourth in the sport mods.
Tom said he enjoys watching his sons have success and looks forward to more in the future.
"It’s just fun to see my boys compete and continue on the legacy we have," he said. "Hopefully they can keep running and winning and doing a good job."
The family also wanted to send out a thank you to their friends, family and sponsors that help make racing a possibility.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org