Timing is perfect for Pinellas Park racetrack to reopen during economic downturn

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - The old Sunshine Speedway in Pinellas Park hasn't hosted racing in nearly eight years. Recently, it's been used as a testing grounds for toll plaza equipment.

But that's about to change thanks to Robert Yoho; he submitted the winning bid to help put racing back on the Pinellas County map.  Yoho goes by the nickname Showtime.

"The name Showtime tells you right off the get-go that he's going to do some exciting things that most people wouldn't do out there," said sponsor Taylor Andrews

Lining up sponsors like the Dayton Andrews pace car is just the beginning for the owner of Yoho's Collision Center who is now saddled with making the racing a reality.

"I need to make this place look presentable, and make the families come back out here," explained Yoho.

Yoho used to sell soft drinks there in the 70's and knows the impact the speedway has on the community.

"What's good about this is it's going to bring aspects of everybody, every walk of life in from different cultures, and different people," said Yoho.

The positive economic vibe is already being felt for business owners like Herbie Cope.  

"I specialize in motorsports designs, so it hurt me bad.  I mean, I'm going to get a fifty percent build in my income alone for the race cars coming back in.  I've got guys already starting to call and book-up, which is nice that I haven't seen in many years," said Cope.

As the racing rolls back onto the track, Pinellas Park officials know that the timing couldn't be better.

Mayor Bill Mischler of Pinellas Park welcomes the racers.

"There are going to be a lot of businesses that are going to be affected by this.  You know, I don't care if they're in the food business or they're selling auto parts or, especially auto parts store, it has a terrific impact," said Mischler.

Yoho isn't in this to get rich, he just wants to enrich his community.

"I don't know if I'm the right guy or the wrong guy.  But I'm the guy that stepped up and did it," he said.

Showtime hopes to have the track ready by early May. 

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