May 23, 2017
  • 2013 Indy 500 Champ Tony Kanaan, Rising NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Star John Hunter Nemechek Serve As Special Guests
  • 10 DFW Elementary Schools, 5,049 Students Combine To Read Nearly 700,000 Books During Year-Long Competition

FORT WORTH, Texas (May 23, 2017) – E.P. Rayzor and B.B. Owen elementary schools punctuated their perfect seasons by being crowned co-champions of Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read competition during Tuesday’s championship assembly in the frontstretch grandstands of the world-renowned motorsports facility.

Before 4,000 students and faculty from seven of the 10 Dallas/Fort Worth schools that competed this year as well as Verizon IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John Hunter Nemechek, Rayzor and B.B. Owen were honored for their entire student bodies meeting the program’s pre-set reading goals through all four turns of the year-long competition.

For Rayzor, it marked the third consecutive school championship in the Speeding To Read competition for the Denton ISD school with 466 students in Lantana. Rayzor, however, needed to be perfect to earn a share of the school title with B.B. Owen. The Lewisville ISD Title 1 school, in just its first year in the program, was up to the challenge and matched Rayzor’s perfection with its student body of 480.

Four of the 10 schools had 91 percent or better of their student bodies reach the reading goals with J.A. Hargrave of the Crowley ISD (94%) and Justin Elementary of the Northwest ISD (91.9%), the Frontstretch Division champions, joining co-Backstretch Division champs Rayzor and B.B. Owen in that elite group. Also competing this year were Cox and Hatfield of the Northwest ISD; Tom C. Gooch and Nathan Adams of the Dallas ISD; Carroll Peak of the Fort Worth ISD; and Brent of the Little Elm ISD.

The group, representing six of the 25 largest school districts in the Metroplex, combined to read 678,887 books during the school year. Since the program began with one pilot school in 2011, 43 schools and more than 23,000 students have combined to read more than 3.6 million books.

Kanaan was among the 33 drivers that will make up the starting field for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 that visited 21 cities across North America on Tuesday to promote the 101st running of the Verizon IndyCar Series race.

“When they told me I was coming here for the media day, you know with such a busy month, you have a tendency to always like not wanting to leave Indianapolis,” said Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion. “But here I knew it was going to be a hit, especially when they told me that I’d be dealing with kids. I’ve always loved kids, I have three of my own and a lot of my fans are little guys. A lot of them now are like 30 years old because they were like 10 when they started following me, but a cool event.

“Those (elementary school years) were the best times of my life. You don’t realize that back then, I think we can all share that, and these kids enjoy especially a healthy competition like this, you know? You can see them happy and the classrooms getting extremely excited that they won and at the same time they are learning a lot. They’re becoming smarter; they’re committed to become somebody in life. It’s really cool what you guys (Texas Motor Speedway) do.”

The students were treated to the animated “Turbo” Indy-car movie on the world’s largest TV at the speedway; a six-lap stock-car race from the Team Texas High Performance Driving School; Q&A, champion photos and water pistol shooting contest with Kanaan and Nemechek; and of course the numerous trophies and prize packs for the top readers.

“It was definitely awesome,” Nemechek said. “It was cool to see the kids pumped up about race cars, books and academics. We walked underneath the grandstands and it was hard to hear. You didn’t know if the cars were running or if that was all the kids screaming and stomping on the bleachers. It was definitely awesome to be able to see how pumped up they were and when their schools won and their fellow classmates read the most books, everyone was yelling and screaming. It’s just a great environment to see kids so focused on academics and the NASCAR Acceleration and Speeding To Read programs helped to excite them a little bit.”

Kanaan and Nemechek presented trophies to the top readers throughout the assembly that recognized the following students:

  • Kindergarten Champion – Ellie Evans, Cox, 2,219 books read
  • 1st Grade Champion – Karina Singh, Rayzor, 2,172 books read
  • 2nd Grade Champion – Alysson Delloro, Rayzor, 3,444 books read
  • 3rd Grade Champion – Jayson Washington, Hargrave, 585 books read
  • 4th Grade Champion – Camryn Rose, Brent, 469 books read
  • 5th Grade Champion – Ace Olson, B.B. Owen, 351 books read
  • KG-2nd Grade Classroom Champions – Renee Clark, KG, Rayzor, average of 1,614.5 books per student
  • 3rd-5th Grade Classroom Champions – Charmaine Campbell, 3rd grade, Hargrave, average of 209.9 books per student
  • KG-2nd Grade Most Improved Reader – Savannah Henderson, 1st grade, Cox
  • 3rd-5th Grade Most Improved Reader – Maddy Newton, 3rd grade, B.B. Owen
  • The Speeding To Read program also partnered with NASCAR’s Acceleration Nation for a STEM book reading contest during the final turn of the overall competition. Nemechek presented the champions with full-sized helmet trophies that consisted of Rayzor (school champion), Rayzor first-grader Evan Elmer (KG-2nd grade), Rayzor fifth-grader Logan Steele (3rd-5th), Rayzor first-grade teacher Aleisha Moore (KG-2nd classroom) and Hargrave fourth-grade teacher Alma Bell (3rd-5th classroom). The schools combined to read more than 11,000 STEM books during that period of the competition.

    Kanaan and Nemechek will be returning to Texas Motor Speedway on June 8-10 for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 INDYCAR/NASCAR doubleheader. Kanaan, with 10 top-five finishes in 17 career starts, will be looking for his second career win at Texas when he competes Saturday, June 10, in the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 (7 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Network). Nemechek, whose best finish in three career starts was seventh last June, will chase his first top-five finish Friday, June 9, in the Rattlesnake 400 (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1).

    Among the various prizes, the individual and classroom champions also received tickets compliments of Texas Motor Speedway to either the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 or Rattlesnake 400 to return and watch Kanaan or Nemechek race in person.

    “When I come back here in a few weeks, I’m pretty sure today we made some new fans and those are the people we need because you need the kid to ask the dad to come to the race track and the dad will definitely come over,” Kanaan said. “I’m excited. I love it.”

    The Speeding To Read program has built its success on the generosity of its sponsors and partners that include aai Trophies and Awards of Plano, BenQ America Corporation, Domino’s, Lionel Racing, NASCAR, Score A Goal in the Classroom, Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Properties, Team Texas High Performance Driving School, The Speedway Club, Verizon IndyCar Series and Woolley’s Frozen Custard.

    For more information on Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read program, please visit speedingtoread.wpengine.com. For schools interested in competing in the program in 2017-18, please contact the Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department at [email protected].