Off to the Swamp Buggy Races

Malcolm Lightner grew up in a trailer park down the street from the original “Mile O'Mud” swamp buggy track, a DAYTONA-inspired race course in the everglades. Drivers reach 75mph in their half boat, half-dragster hybrids, splashing spectators with abandon. Lightner photographed the races for nearly a decade, documenting the beauty contests, Confederate Flags, fried food, and revelry with the affection of a native Floridian. But Lightner wasn't always drawn to the competition; his childhood encounters with the track consisted of searching for his father, who would go missing for days. Returning as an adult to witness the wild weekend-long events at Florida Sports Park allowed Lightner to explore his own heritage (his great-uncle was one of the original racers) as well as preserve the Frontier sport. “I unveiled family connections that I did not know existed and heard numerous stories about my father,” Lightner said. “The races demonstrated to me the All-American desire to compete to win—as well as the power of family and community.” The resulting images have been published by PowerHouse Books and a selection can be found below.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Marcelo Hernandez / Getty

    The Lasers of Discontent

    Images from unrest in Chile, Hong Kong, and Iraq over the past few months, where demonstrators are using laser pointers as tools of defiance.

  • Ng Han Guan / AP

    Riot Police Lay Siege to Hong Kong University Occupied by Protesters

    Some of the most violent clashes so far of the five-month-old pro-democracy protest movement in Hong Kong took place this past weekend, as riot police stormed the campus of a university where protesters had barricaded themselves.

  • Ivan Alvarado / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Prehistoric Tongue, First Snow, Panda Scan

    Autumn colors in Belgium; chess-boxing in Paris; dinosaurs in India; bushfires in Australia; impeachment hearings in Washington, D.C.; Santa Claus in Germany; tennis in London, and much more

  • NASA

    The Flight of Apollo 12: Photos From 50 Years Ago

    A look back at the second mission to land humans on the moon, which blasted off on November 14, 1969.