NASCAR TEEN STAR NEMECHEK, 6,000 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS KICK OFF TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY’S SPEEDING TO READ PROGRAM
FORT WORTH, Texas (September 29, 2015) – If there is a driver in NASCAR that can truly relate to 6,000 elementary school students, Camping World Truck Series rookie John Hunter Nemechek would be at the top of the list.
Nemechek just graduated high school in December and turned 18 in June, but the most remarkable perspective is that the North Carolina teen is roughly seven years older than the fifth graders that were sitting among the 11 schools from seven Dallas/Fort Worth Independent School Districts at Tuesday’s kick-off assembly at Texas Motor Speedway.
Seven years removed, but a world apart as he already is embarking on his dream of being a future NASCAR star. Nemechek, who competes for NEMCO Motorsports that is owned by his father, NASCAR veteran Joe Nemechek, had his breakthrough Sept. 19 at Chicagoland Speedway when he became the fourth-youngest winner in Camping World Truck Series history.
On Tuesday, it was the teen transitioning into the adult role off the track as Nemechek extolled the importance of reading and education. He is a perfect example as he graduated from Davidson (N.C.) Day School in an accelerated learning program, continues to be an avid reader and exhibited his proficiency in French by sharing some phrases with the students. He also is enrolled at Central Piedmont Community College and will eventually transfer to UNC-Charlotte to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.
“To come out here and talk to these kids is something special because they all look up to someone and if you can be that someone then they are going to be fans of yours for their entire life,” said Nemechek, who drives the No. 8 SWM-NEMCO Chevrolet in the truck series. ” The Speeding To Read program is something that I never would have thought of. It is very cool to see all these kids so enthused about their education and about reading. These kids are here to speed to read, so if they can speed up their learning curve all through their grades then they will be very smart in the end.”
The schools competing for individual, classroom and overall school titles in the fifth year of Speeding To Read are defending champion E.P. Rayzor of the Denton ISD; Nathan Adams of the Dallas ISD; Carroll Peak and Riverside Applied Learned Center of the Fort Worth ISD; O.A. Peterson, Samuel Beck and Sendera Ranch of the Northwest ISD; Old Settlers and Rockbrook of the Lewisville ISD; Northbrook of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD; and J.A. Hargrave of the Crowley ISD. The school year-long program will culminate in late May when Texas Motor Speedway holds an all-school assembly at the venue to crown all the champions.
The kindergarten through fifth-grade students and faculty that visited for the assembly were entertained by videos and armadillo races among the schools on Big Hoss TV, the world’s largest HD video board; a Q&A with Nemechek along with his arrival in a motorized bathtub; and a “Minute It To Win It” game with students representing each school during the hour-program in the frontstretch grandstands.
“Reading proficiency is critical during these elementary school years and Speeding To Read focuses on motivating, rewarding and recognizing all the students that are achieving their reading goals throughout the year,” Texas Motor Speedway Vice President of Media Relations Mike Zizzo said. “The last time we had 11 schools in the program (2013-14), they read over one million books so we are making an impact on students reading more frequently. I’m optimistic that this group of schools will challenge that record.”
Nemechek will be returning to Texas Motor Speedway in November for the NASCAR tripleheader weekend that consists of the Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 (Friday, Nov. 6), XFINITY Series O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (Saturday, Nov. 7), and Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 (Sunday, Nov. 8). Nemechek will be competing in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 and the start will be his first at Texas Motor Speedway.
“Each mile-and-a-half race track is different and so you have to figure out what is important from setup-wise to track position, but Chicago and Texas are somewhat similar,” Nemechek said of the 1.5-mile ovals. “They’re both rough and we will pretty much come back with the same setup. I think we have a little bit of work to do in order to get past where you can run. The top, the bottom, wherever you want on the race track in order to make passes and run up front.”
Tickets for the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR tripleheader weekend are available by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 817.215.8500.
Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read program is supported by the following partners: aai Trophies and Awards of Plano, Domino’s, Kid’s Beach Club, Lionel Racing, NASCAR, Score-A- Goal in the Classroom, Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Properties, The Speedway Club, Verizon IndyCar Series and Woolley’s Frozen Custard. For more information on Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read, please visit speedingtoread.wpengine.com.