Revheads feed the need for speed at Full Throttle Adrenaline Park in Sterling Heights

While temperatures fall, things are heating up at Full Throttle Adrenaline Park. The Sterling Heights location offers a wide range of activities to get visitors’ blood pumping. The main feature is its indoor go-kart track, which allows 10 to 13 karts to race at a time.

“We really have a good community here,” says Zack Palmer, who has been working at Full Throttle for 5 years, “Almost everyone who works here came from the same high school. It helps keep us all in sync.”

Not a big fan of the track? Folks can take a swing at axe throwing, or those looking for a different kind of escape can experience multiplayer VR games. There are two rage rooms for a half-hour of smashable fun, and Full Throttle has a bar and dining area. The location also has a private meeting room for hosting events.

Walk-ins are $25 a race or visitors can purchase an Adrenaline Pass for two hours of unlimited racing, starting at $45. After registering, racers have a quick photo taken then are taken to the briefing room for full instructions on the track and how to secure their safety gear.

Individuals as young as 14 years old can race in the larger Pro Karts. These karts can go up to 40 mph and hold up to 325 pounds. There are Junior Karts available for younger kids. Racers are recommended to be at least 7 years old and no shorter than 48 inches tall.

Once the briefing is over, racers enter the track and are given their number and kart. Races are usually 6 minutes. After the race, lap times are posted on a monitor with a photo for everyone in the lobby to see.
Full Throttle Adrenaline Park has been located in Sterling Heights for over 20 years. Originally started as Kart2Kart, owner Tony Eckrich, partnered with Aaron Banfield and Kenton Noran during the COVID-19 pandemic to evolve the business from go-karting to a full recreational experience.

Tony Eckrich, owner of Full Throttle Adrenaline Park.

"My favorite part of the job is that we offer a very unique service and it excites people. There is a lot of spill over since all the activities are so close to each other. Everyone gets excited when they see a great lap time on the track. It's fun to watch it all unfold in front of your eyes," says Eckrich.

With this new partnership, Full Throttle currently operates out of three states and has five locations. It's one of the rare cases of a business expanding because of the pandemic. 

Palmer says, “It was really hard during the pandemic. Once we merged with Full Throttle it changed everything. People can do a bunch of other stuff while they wait for the karts. Things are a lot better now.”

Eckrich's long history in the city has led to numerous local partnerships. In 2015, the business partnered with Sterling Heights' police department for SHARP (Sterling Heights Alcohol Reduction Program). The program worked to bring awareness to drunk and distracted driving.

"Students used our karts at low speeds with vision impairment goggles. We also gave them cell phones to demonstrate the dangerous effects of alcohol and distracted driving. It was a great experience to show them during homecoming, just how dangerous it can be to drink and drive.” 

Thomas Gray explains the safety rules.

Full Throttle has worked with the Detroit Grand Prix to bring residents and media figures together for a Q&A and a night of racing. According to Eckrich, the most rewarding partnerships come from the smaller local businesses.  

"A third of our business comes from group events. We have a lot of team building and celebrations from companies in the area."

Full Throttle is hosting the Motor City 2023 Kids Racing Series. Kids, 8 to 15 years old and at least 50 inches tall, can race competitively from September to the last race on Dec. 20. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and racers should expect to stay till 8:00 p.m. Each race has two qualifying races and final feature one. The cost per child is $55 and a $5 sign-in fee. There are also competitive and recreational leagues for adults and kids.

All photos by Martha Mejia.
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Read more articles by Blake Woodruff.

Blake Woodruff is a feature writer based in Southeast Michigan. He believes the best way to impact is to inform.