100,000 expected at Bradenton Area River Regatta

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Before Formula 2 racers hit top speeds on the water, there's a lot of maintenance and work to be done on land. 

John Ludwig and his crew of Crazy Fast Racing have traveled from Buckeye Lake, Ohio to Palmetto and are working overtime to get their Formula 2 boat in tip-top shape.

"With bringing the boat so many miles we pretty much have to assemble the motor, the drive system on it and being the first race of the year work through some issues," said Ludwig. 

Like Ludwig, many racers come from up north. Traveling to a different area means they need to be prepared for any fix their boat may need. 

"We bring two of everything except for the boat. We have two motors, two drives, many different props because the conditions will change with the wind," he said. 

The Bradenton Area River Regatta is one of the largest in the country. Nearly 100,000 people will line the Manatee River to watch Ludwig and others take off. 

"It's like opening up for Daytona it's their biggest race for NASCAR and that's how we look at this race. It's our biggest race," said Ludwig. 

It's also a big opportunity for Bradenton and Palmetto. Both cities are ready to welcome a massive crowd. They hope spectators come for the races but leave with a lasting impression of the area. 

"It's very important for us because a lot of people have never been to manatee county. They've never been to Bradenton or Palmetto. It gives them a chance to come and see what we have here. We all really believe we have a gem," said Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant.