Chasing Championships at Kartona Electric Speedway

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 11:18 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - There are few feelings like driving at the limit.

There’s no better place to feel the need for speed than Kartona Electric Speedway in Panama City Beach.

“In here, we can get them up to forty-five miles per hour,” said Lee Eshelman, a co-owner of Kartona.

Kartona operates electric go-karts on an eight-turn indoor road course. Every corner presents its own challenge…

“With all the turns there’s so many different driving styles and so many different techniques you can use,” Gavin Choosakul, a co-owner at Kartona said.

The real challenge was last Sunday when racing enthusiasts gathered as part of a new Kartona racing championship.

NewsChannel 7′s Dan Nyman joined racers in round one of the eight-week championship. The experience and competitive strength of the field was evident the moment the rubber hit the road.

“Every driver was within tenths of a second of each other and it’s just very exciting and we’re so blessed to have drivers on an even playing field like that,” said Choosakul.

Participants have the opportunity to compete with some of the best drivers in the area and learn from them too.

“That’s what made me sign up to learn from other drivers - how to take corners, when to brake because everyone has their different experience on how to brake or how to take corners,” Daniel Lewis, a participant in the championship said.

In a way, Lewis is chasing his dreams by participating in the championship.

“Growing up I always wanted to do F1, F2, and F3, but, I don’t know, I’m getting older and the sponsorship is expensive,” said Lewis.

Thankfully karting is relatively inexpensive; that allows Lewis to itch his desire to race and keep doors open for his future.

“So who knows, maybe one day I could be Lewis Hamilton,” Lewis said.

Between those with greater aspirations.. and those who simply see karting as a hobby... it’s a sense of community amongst the racers.

“You guys are rivals on the track but when you come off the track I saw the camaraderie, I saw the friendship, I saw the willingness to help a fellow racer right? We want friendly competition,” Choosakul said.

In the end, it was a day of community, competition, and laser fast lap times. Nyman left the first race with a win and the lead in the championship.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at the championship, you can sign up on Kartona’s website.