May 19, 2015

Lantana’s E.P. Rayzor Earns Seven Individual And Classroom Crowns En Route To Speeding To Read School Championship

FORT WORTH, Texas (May 19, 2015) – Three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Justin Wilson of Andretti Autosport didn’t have to wait until Sunday’s 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 to find themselves in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd.

Dixon, the Indy 500 pole sitter, and Wilson earned the adulation of more than 3,000 local elementary school students at Texas Motor Speedway on Tuesday as the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers served as special guests for the speedway’s Speeding To Read championship assembly held in an overflowing infield race team garage.

Dixon and Wilson, in town to promote the upcoming Indy 500 as well as the Firestone 600 on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway, served as trophy presenters, conducted a Q&A session, participated in some light-hearted “Minute To Win It”-themed games with the students and snapped a few selfies during a celebration of the top readers in the school year-long Speeding To Read program.

“What just occurred was pretty awesome,” Dixon said. “My ears are still ringing and it’s obviously a very important part with the whole initiative of reading. Just to see the expressions and the excitement of the kids is cool. I haven’t seen that in quite a while.”

The seven schools that participated in this year’s competition – Roanoke, Nance and J.C. Thompson of the Northwest ISD; Carroll Peak and Riverside Applied Learning Center of the Fort Worth ISD; E.P. Rayzor of the Denton ISD; and Eagle Mountain of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD – combined to read 533,707 books in the nine-month competition. In the four years of existence of Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read, students that participated in the educational program have combined to read more than 1.9 million books.

“Seeing all those kids today and seeing how many books they’ve each read and read combined as a group is very inspiring,” Wilson said. “Also seeing their passion was great. Definitely brightened up my day and put a smile on my face just watching them and seeing their reactions. It was very cool.”

Rayzor was the big winner as the Lantana-based elementary school captured the overall championship as well as seven of the 12 individual or classroom crowns. Rayzor, tops in the Frontstretch Division, won the school title by virtue of having the largest percentage of its student body (99%) meet or exceed the pre-established, year-long reading goals.

The school had three of the five individual grade champions, led by Noah Temer who was the top-ranked third grader and overall champion for Grades 3-5 with 658 chapter books read. Also winning grade championships for Rayzor were Alysson Delloro (kindergarten, 2,276 books), Ella McNamara (2nd grade, 1,360 books) and Grace Brown (5th grade, 176 chapter books).

Gracie Guerin, the first-grade champion from Roanoke, also earned the K-2 overall title by reading 3,000 books while Hannah Strickland of Nance (416 chapter books) captured the fourth-grade title to round out the individual titlists.

Rayzor also swept the top classroom categories as Melanie Peterson’s kindergarten class won the K-2 championship (averaging 1,284 books per student) and Kyle Malinowski’s third-grade class took the 3-5 crown (averaging 109.28 chapter books per student) in addition to the Frontstretch Division crowns. Nance won the Backstretch Division classroom titles for both grades, with Lauren Armstrong’s first-grade class in K-2 and Kimberly Spittler’s fourth-grade class in 3-5.

Paced by Rayzor, four of the seven schools had 84 percent or better of their student bodies meet or exceed their reading goals. Roanoke, the 2013-14 school champion, was second at 96 percent; Backstretch Division champion Nance was third at 90 percent and Thompson was fourth at 84 percent.

“It’s just an incredible sight to see the enthusiasm from the students for the Speeding To Read program and a huge thanks goes to the principals, teachers, librarians and parents that help motivate them to read more frequently,” Texas Motor Speedway Vice President of Media Relations Mike Zizzo said. “It’s a great feeling for everyone at Texas Motor Speedway knowing that we are making a positive impact on children in our communities.”

Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read program was supported by the following partners for the 2014-15 competition: aai Trophies and Awards of Plano, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Domino’s, Kid’s Beach Club, Lionel Racing, NASCAR, Score A Goal in the Classroom, Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter, Texas Motor Speedway, The Speedway Club, Toyota of Fort Worth, Verizon IndyCar Series and Woolley’s Frozen Custard.

About Speeding To Read: The mission of Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read program is to utilize motorsports, its drivers and our races to incentivize elementary school children to read more frequently and enrich their educational experience and future. Speeding To Read is an incentive-based, motorsports-themed reading program created by Texas Motor Speedway to encourage elementary school students to read more frequently during the school year. The student bodies are split into two divisions – kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade – with individuals, classrooms and schools competing against each other to read the most books and earn the title of Speeding To Read champion. Since Speeding To Read began with a one-school pilot program in 2011-12, the program has reached more than 12,000 students that have combined to read more than 1.9 million books. Schools or administrators interested in competing in Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read program for the 2015-16 season can contact the speedway media relations department at [email protected] or 817.215.8520.