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DI 30 Under 30 2023: Mike Pryka

Mike Pryka found his place in drag racing when he began taking photos of his family members competing at the dragstrip. He was 12 years old when his dad purchased a bracket car and began taking Pryka to the track. 

[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #185, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in Nov/Dec of 2023.]

“I would go to the races with my dad and my uncles and my cousin, and I would take pictures of them racing, just because I thought it was cool and, you know, something to do,” says Pryka. 

From there, his passion for photography and the sport evolved into an opportunity for Pryka to get behind the wheel of a Mustang when he was 16 years old. His experience of growing up at the track, racing, and taking photographs, turned into a full-time opportunity in 2018 with Motion Raceworks and TBM Brakes. Now Pryka is the lead Website Manager and Photographer, handling social media, marketing graphic design, product photos, and event photos. Of course, the 29-year-old is happy to switch the many hats he wears and helps out with customer relations and sales from time to time. 

However, his main passion still lies in event photography. 

“Those are a great thing that we provide to get back to the industry,” explains Pryka. “I travel to many events around the country to shoot photo galleries of each race, and then we post them on the Motion Raceworks Facebook page. We’ve been doing that for three or four years now just as a way to say thank you to our existing customers and welcome new customers by treating them with a photo of their car and making them aware of the brand.

“We’ve definitely made a pretty big impact on providing quality photos and memories of the racers at certain events and certain times.”

Looking back, Pryka is grateful for those early connections, especially with the late Bob Curran.

“Bob Curran set me up with my first media pass for an NMCA race and with that, I got connections with Mike Galimi and Scott Sparrow, who were editors of Fastest Street Car at the time,” explains Pryka. “Those two guys really helped me out, spread my skills, and set up the right connections with the right people, and that led to working for 1320 Video. I did some freelance stuff for Drag Illustrated back in the day and tons of other companies, like Garrett Turbo, Dragzine, LSX TV – basically anybody and everybody I could freelance for back then I did.”

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One thing led to another, which included an award from the National Muscle Car Association for his Outstanding Sportsmanship and Contribution, and Pryka was getting noticed for his hard work and passion for the sport.

“When I got that media credential for the NMCA, from there, it kind of grew from one thing to another,” says Pryka. “All the hard work was able to get me to a job where it’s now a full-time job where I get to do cool stuff and travel the country, talk with customers, take photos, and hang out at the racetrack and get paid.”

This story was originally published on February 19, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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