Step on it! at NASCAR SpeedPark in Myrtle Beach

spalisin@thesunnews.comApril 25, 2014 

  • If you go

    What | NASCAR SpeedPark

    Where | 1820 21st Ave. N. Extension, at U.S. 17 Bypass, Myrtle Beach, across from the Palace Theatre and Broadway at the Beach

    Open | Through Sunday

    • 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily (but 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday)

    How much | Prices in effect through Sunday:

    • Free admission for spectators

    • Daylong wristband $29.99 (or $23.99 advance online, for use through Sunday) – covers six go-cart tracks (but not Thunder Road), two miniature golf courses, “The Rock” climbing wall, and seven children’s rides.

    • “April Spring Break Special” – Buy a wristband at park at regular price and receive a second-day band for $10, for use by Sunday

    Individual ride tickets | Available on site for (plus tax):

    • Go-cart tracks – $10 each

    • Children’s rides – $3.50 each

    • Climbing wall – $7

    • Mini-golf – $7

    • Qualifier children’s track – $3.50

    • Batting cages – $2 (eight tokens, 15 balls; minimum height to bat, 52 inches, with close-toe shoes)

    • Thunder Road – $10, with a valid driver’s license, for two laps; also driver must be at least 58 inches tall

    • Thunder Road with wristband – $7

    • Skycoaster – $20 per flyer (with room possibly for three people) – also for limited time, early bird $8 per flyer, noon-5 p.m.

    • Skycoaster with wristband – $15 upgrade, but closed for maintenance at this time

    • One roll of 40 arcade tokens – $10

    Also | With Horry County Police and other law enforcement agencies: “Drive N Live Teen Safe Driving Program,” free for ages 14-18, 8-11 a.m. Saturday, (registration on site 8-8:30 a.m.) to illustrate such dangers of texting while driving and driving under the influence of alcohol, let youth wear goggles that blur vision similar to a night of drinking, and hear firsthand accounts from officers who have worked wrecks of teen drivers who were texting or impaired while driving. More details from Horry County Police Officer Felix Cruz: email cruzf@horrycounty.org.

    Information | 918-8725 or www.nascarspeedpark.com/sc.aspx#

In a 1950s Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes short, “Thumb Fun,” hitchhiker Daffy Duck dupes Porky Pig into picking him up and later implores the driver to “step on it.”

Those words also apply perfectly after hopping into a go-cart at NASCAR SpeedPark in Myrtle Beach, fastening the seat belts, and accelerating for an adventure around and around.

Two hours can fly by for a family or couple seeking a revved-up outing. Open daily through Sunday, the SpeedPark will have new ownership as of May 1, an employee at the park answering the phone said Wednesday. The park is currently owned by PARC Management of Jacksonville, Fla., which has one other local attraction, Myrtle Waves Water Park, one mile south, at Mr. Joe White Avenue Extension and U.S. 17 Bypass.

Seven go-cart rides anchor the SpeedPark. After a walk through the SpeedDome Arcade welcome center and bearing right, visitors will encounter The Intimidator. Perhaps the most daunting part on this track might is the amount of drivers eager to pass, roll by and round every hairpin turn without fear.

Riders, maybe younger drivers at least 54 inches tall, might find the SlideWayz oval, inside next door, less intimidating, with a maximum seven cars out at once.

On the Intimidator’s other side, The Competitor might go a little more slowly than SlideWayz, but its oval encompasses two sharp turns.

A short walk across the park leads to two other large tracks.

The Family 500 looks longer, and coming with some hills and an extensive, loopy road path, in a pattern that looks like a piece from a jigsaw puzzle.

The Champions track nearby also looks challenging, with its narrow, curvy course, with no real straightaway in any portion.

Families with small children won’t see them left out of the fun, either. A 200-foot-long triangular track called The Qualifier lets youngsters at least 40 inches in height get behind the wheel. This ride is part of “The Beginner’s Circle” area, which also includes a carousel.

The whole park is built around two miniature golf courses, which lets parents and children unwind and relax after putting the pedal to the metal, or recharge before driving for some more thrills.

Two extra attractions not covered by the rides wristband, but for a small extra fee, might be just as fun to watch as ride. The Thunder Road track spans a half-mile, full of twists, for people who must show real-life driver’s licenses to qualify – really.

On a Saturday night earlier this month, three people walked to the rear of the park, maybe undeterred from any dare, to take a bungee journey on the Skycoaster, an A-frame tower on which riders, all facing downward, pull a ripcord to take off for at least three seconds of free fall before advancing to a descent in a pendulum-swinging motion that slows down gradually on return to solid earth.

Back in the arcade, a concessions area’s menu includes such cleverly named fare as the Gordon Caesar salad and J.J. Strips.

Look up, too, for a hall of fame per se of banners of NASCAR champions, with four men leading the title counts: Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr. with seven each, from 1964 to ’79 and 1980-94, respectively; as well as Jimmie Johnson with five (2006-13); and Jeff Gordon, four (1995-2001).

Don’t miss making a pit stop to scan the glass case of autographed steering wheels, either, with each driver, like any other athlete, including his respective car number, such as Rusty Wallace Jr., with No. 2, and Randy LaJoie, 74.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764 or follow Kicks! on Twitter @MBKicks.

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