ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - There is a fun place to burn through a tank of gas, or two, once you get there.
Pro Karting Experience off of 34th Street North in St. Petersburg is a place where both the inexperienced and experienced racers can put the pedal to the metal and reach speeds of 50 mph. It's not any normal racetrack.
"We started as a 900-square foot building in the middle of a flat parking lot," explained Terry Downs, the owner and operator. "Over the eyars we have been expanding. Our end result was to have professional racing karts here. Started off as a rental facility, now we have it where you can own your own kart, store it here. I do all the maintence or you can or you can come out and enjoy it as family or corporate event, birthday parties."
It's for all experience levels. Even as young as toddlers through their monthly "Toddler-Dega" event, which allows kids to drive their "big" wheels on the track. One of his oldest and regular customers is over the age of 70.
Downs explained that the first-time drivers on his track can learn to become safer drivers on the public roads. He alters the track, so you won't get the same experience twice.
"I can start them off easy or an experienced driver can come here and wow him on the first ride," he explained. "It's more about their experience level. You watch their hands, you watch their lines, how they go into the corners. Are they doing it safe? Are they following the flags and the rules? We can work with them on getting faster and safer on the track."
Pro Karting Experience has been a family affair for Downs. It was his father that got him involved at an early age, and now it's something that bonds him with his children, even his son, Chase.
"He's really fast on the karts as well so it's definnitely not going to hurt him to have a name like that growing up," Downs said.
Pro Karting Experience is open 7 days a week. It's closed two days out of the year: Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"Whether you want to get into racing or want to come out and have fun with the family," Downs explained, "you'll definitely have fun with the track, and it's challenging for even the most experience drivers."
For more information, click over to Pro Karting Experience's website.