Andersen RacePark in Palmetto promoted as tourism draw

PALMETTO -- The local tourism bureau is hoping to attract a new niche of vacationers to Manatee County -- motorsports enthusiasts.

The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has agreed to partner with Andersen RacePark in Palmetto on tourism marketing opportunities.

Through the partnership, the tourism bureau plans to boost the appeal of Andersen RacePark by promoting and marketing the facility and its events outside the area as well as recruiting more sporting events to the park.

“It’s a hidden gem in that north part of the county,” said Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Part of promoting the county as a tourism destination is finding more attractions for our visitors to enjoy, and this is one of them.”

Andersen RacePark, an 18-acre facility on U.S. 41 North in Palmetto, is popular for professional and amateur kart racing, The track is open to the public on select days and times for kart racing. It hosts corporate team building sessions and also serves as a training track for race car drivers.

“This partnership will give us the opportunity to get some more exposure and get the race park in the minds of some people who are visiting the area,” said Eddie Kish, director of karting operations at Andersen RacePark.

Andersen RacePark will be abuzz this weekend.

For the second straight year, the track is hosting the Florida Karting Championship Series, a three-day racing event that drew 950 people last year. The event is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

An estimated 220 contestants are expected to participate in the event and Kish is expecting the spectator turnout to be as successful as last year.

Kish also is hoping this race will be the first of several large-scale racing events held at Andersen RacePark.

As a result of the race park’s partnership with the local tourism bureau, Manatee County Sports Commissioner Joe Pickett also will be placing bids on events that he sees fit for Andersen RacePark.

Pickett said he already has three bids he’s working on for the Palmetto facility.

“We’re going to be working with them on some pretty large scale competitions,” Pickett said. “These will include teams from South America, Latin America, Canada ... . If we can get those kind of countries to come and stay here for a couple of weeks for the event that will do a great deal for our hotels and tourism.”