Popular YouTube personality Cleetus McFarland has purchased the former DeSoto Speedway in Bradenton, Florida, with plans to produce content and bring automobile events to the 3/8-mile venue.
McFarland, the pseudonym for Garrett Mitchell in YouTube car culture, has purchased the speedway, with plans to host events for various motorsports enthusiasts and to produce YouTube content from the venue, now called the Freedom Factory. McFarland announced the purchase on his YouTube channel with a 14-minute long video featuring several clips of him and his colleagues driving at the circuit as well as his plans for the facility.
“It’s simply a fact that every young boy has dreamed of having their own place,” says McFarland in a theatric intro to the 14-minute video. “A place where they can do whatever they want. Last year, an opportunity presented itself for us to obtain our own place, the perfect place where we can do anything we please. A place where original content can thrive and our people can have the time of their lives.”
McFarland has 1.74 million subscribers on YouTube for videos centered around various car projects and traveling to various automobile events. Now, he will be able to produce those videos and share the former DeSoto Speedway space with other content creators.
DeSoto Speedway opened in 1972 and hosted some of the most well-known short track racing series during its run of more than 45 years, including the All Pro Series and the ASA ACDelco Challenge Series. The venue has been dormant for more than two years since its last racing event on May 27, 2017.
The first major event at the Freedom Factory will take place later in 2020.
“The plan is, where we’re standing [the infield] will be poured as a burnout pad. Our goal is our first event will be our Cleetus and Cars Grand Championship at the end of this year, 2020. It will be a two-day event between Bradenton Motorports Park, our favorite dragstrip, and the Freedom Factory on November 20 and 21.”
“People can finally sit in stands and watch insane burnouts, or come right out on the wall and be close to the action.”
While McFarland does not have plans at this time to return circle track racing to the venue, he is open to the possibility of short track racing at his Freedom Factory given the right circumstances – and after some quality care is provided to the facility.
“We’ve had a lot of circle track racers catch wind of this and ask us, ‘What’s the deal? Are you going to keep it a race track?’ The situation on that is, the track needs some work, but we would be up to the idea of having races out here if the right promoter comes along and says, ‘Hey, you just need to help me with this, this and this, I’ll get the cars, this is what it would cost.’
“We would be happy to have some circle track races. It would be great to take this place back to where it was. Years ago, this was a thriving race track. I would love to see that running through its veins again. But for right now, we’ve got to get this place cleaned up. There’s a ton of work. It hasn’t been touched in years, it’s abandoned, there are problems in every corner. We’ve got a lot of weeds to pick.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Cleetus McFarland (YouTube)