PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - An old Charlotte County racetrack is shifting into high gear. Saturday, the newly opened "Three Palms Speedway" in Punta Gorda hosted a stock-car-racing school.
"Opened up our gates to the community and get them excited that racing is coming back to Southwest Florida," said Andy Haase.
The once-run down property has a new lease on life.
"We're repainting now, we've got our catch-fence on its way, our grandstands are on the way.
Haase Enterprises is leasing the track from the Charlotte County Airport Authority and hopes to makes the business profitable again.
"We're looking for sorts of small businesses, we have great promotional packages that we are going to offer," said Haase.
Saturday morning, drivers took to the track and put their skills to the test.
"I'm really nervous but be got a great crew here, think I'm gonna have a lot of fun," said Nita Roberts of Fort Myers.
Gentlemen aren't the only ones starting their engines, Roberts says she comes from a racing background and says having the track nearby will get more people behind the wheel.
"It was awesome! Would I do it again? Yeah," said Roberts.
Seasoned drivers like "Buzzie" Reutimann showed the racecar rookies how to take the turns and says he sees big things for the short track and the surrounding community.
"This would be the ideal place for them to try their Nascar short track cars out. It would be very profitable and bring a lot of money in the area too, be a plus for both," said Reutimann.
The new tenants say they have plans for weekly races, beginning after the 1st of the year. They say the property will host a variety of events to keep the venue profitable year round.