Iconic Lil 500 Go-Karts closing after 54 years

Track will close permanently on Saturday

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A Central Florida staple, Lil 500 Go-Karts, announced Tuesday that it will close permanently after more than 50 years in business.

In an announcement on its website and Facebook page, the track said it will close up shop when the facility closes at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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“Effective Saturday, January 8th, 2022 at 7pm, Lil 500 Go-Karts will close permanently. We thank you Central Florida for supporting our family business since Feb 1st 1968, just shy of 54 years. We hope to see you come out for 1 more ride,” the post said.

The owner of Lil 500, Randy Kline, told News 6 that the iconic attraction is closing because there’s no one in the family to keep running the business.

“It’s time to just worry about life a little bit more than making a living quite honestly,” Kline said.

The family has not yet decided what they’re going to do next, but the property has not been sold, Kline said.

“Eventually that will come down the line. There’s no plans or nothing. Quite honestly we just knew this was the right date,” Kline said.

The track has been open for almost 54 years, opening on Feb. 1, 1968.

Shannon Crimi brought her two sons to the track on Wednesday after learning about the closure.

“We heard they were closing and I was like there is no way that we’re not going at least one more time,” Crimi said.

Crimi said she likes going to Lil 500 because she feels like family at the smaller attraction.

“We’d go to bigger theme parks with go-karts in them and it’s overwhelming for the little kids. It’s a lot of people and here you can jump right on, jump right off, three tracks. It’s simple and they always take care of it,” Crimi said.

Sarah Ridge grew up coming to the tracks. She is in town for the holidays and brought her four year old son Brendan to race.

“It was really sad to hear a piece of my childhood was going. So glad we were able to come out and Brendan got to ride around on the go-karts, relive a bit of my childhood,” Ridge said.

That’s what drove customers of all ages to Lil 500. Many wanted to get one last lap in before it closed.

Rice Glover wanted to make a new memory with his daughter, Madeline.

“My wife is from here and she always told us when we moved back, ‘Oh we used to go there all the time,’” Glover said. “Unfortunately we haven’t made it, but when I saw it was closing I wanted my daughter to experience it before it shut down,” Glover said.

Even when the engines turn off for good, drivers said they will never forget the thrill of the race.

“Every time we come we always take lots of pictures and we’ll always remember it,” Crimi said.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help all 10 employees losing their jobs. Click here to visit.

About the Authors:

Penny De La Cruz started working at WKMG-TV in September 2021. Before joining News 6, Penny worked at KSAT 12 in San Antonio, Texas.

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!