Sterling Heights

A new name but ‘the same great faces’: Indoor entertainment center undergoes merger

A Sterling Heights entertainment destination is racing toward the future.

Since first opening the Kart 2 Kart entertainment center in 2000, owner Tony Eckrich has made a few adjustments over the years. Featuring a full-service bar and racing go-karts that top out at speeds around 40 mph, Kart 2 Kart was initially an adults-only destination, ideal for groups and corporate outings. Adapting to the recession of 2008 and ‘09, Eckrich expanded the facility to accommodate junior karts, turning Kart 2 Kart into a destination for the whole family. He would expand with axe-throwing in 2018.

2020 would lead to their biggest changes yet.

“With the COVID-19 craziness, there was the question of, Are we going to be here next year?” Eckrich says.

It’s a question that led, in part, to Eckrich merging Kart 2 Kart with Full Throttle Adrenaline Park, a like-minded business that first opened in Cincinnati in 2012. He’s now part of the Full Throttle ownership group, a growing company with six indoor go-kart racetracks in Michigan, Kentucky, and Ohio. They’ll be celebrating the rebranding of Novi’s JD Racing Indoor Karting into another Full Throttle location later this month.

“There might be some new signs with new names, but we still have the same great faces,” Eckrich says. “And we’re looking to add more activities in Sterling Heights.”

Earlier this year, Eckrich introduced the Adrenaline Pass, a hint at what would later be a company-wide rebranding this May. Guests can purchase the two-hour pass, which guarantees entrance to the park and access to its amenities.

“The two-hour pass came out of Covid and having to manage capacity restrictions. Historically, we have a one- to two-hour wait on a Saturday night. The pass allows us to manage that and have a better experience for our guests. And better value,” he says.

“And the staff is enjoying it more because they’re not as stressed out and overworked managing the crowds.”

In addition to indoor kart racing, axe-throwing, and its food and beverage offerings, the Sterling Heights Full Throttle will soon be adding some new activities, too. Eckrich says to expect a virtual reality center and “rage room” to be added somewhere in the next 90 days. Rage rooms, a growing trend, welcome guests to smash TVs and old appliances with sledge hammers and other tools.

“With Full Throttle, I find confidence in the fact that we do things similarily. We’ll retain the integrity of what I developed over 20 years ago,” Eckrich says.

“We have the same opinions on safety, and that’s that it’s our number one priority.

“The experience will not change, but it will be enhanced.”

Full Throttle Adrenaline Park is located at 42705 Van Dyke Ave. in Sterling Heights.
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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.