FORT WORTH, Texas (April 3, 2013) – Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon is scheduled to serve as the special guest speaker and assist in the crowning of the “Speeding To Read” champions before 1,500 elementary school students Thursday, April 11, at Texas Motor Speedway.
Gordon will join the kindergarten through fifth-grade student bodies and faculty from Clara Love, Hatfield and Justin elementary schools on the speedway’s frontstretch at 11 a.m. CT to announce the individual, classroom and school champions of the NASCAR-themed reading program created by Texas Motor Speedway.
Gordon also will be accompanied by a special guest that should be familiar and to the delight of all those in attendance – the Cat in the Hat of Dr. Seuss fame. The distinctive pairing comes as a result of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation collaborating with Dr. Seuss on the “Hats Off To Hope” program, which is a year-long campaign to support and celebrate children with cancer.
“The dynamic duo of a legendary racer and a legendary children’s storybook character is going to make this quite a memorable experience for all the students involved in the ‘Speeding To Read’ program,” Texas Motor Speedway Vice President of Media Relations Mike Zizzo said. “We appreciate Jeff, the Cat in the Hat and our friends at Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Random House Children’s Books for joining us for the crowning of our champions and further enriching the event. It should be an incredible day.”
In conjunction with that campaign, Gordon and the Cat in the Hat will make a special presentation to Hatfield Elementary kindergarten student Chloe Brown during the upcoming “Speeding To Read” event. Brown, one of the leading K-2 division readers in the program, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at 15 months old and has endured 164 rounds of chemotherapy, 59 rounds of radiation and 17 surgeries. During this recent spring, she just celebrated 1½ years of remission.
Gordon also will discuss the importance of reading to the student body, take questions from the children and partake in the awards ceremony for the top readers.
The overall individual reading champions for the K-2 and 3-5 divisions will receive a “Speeding To Read” championship trophy, a Dr. Seuss book collection complements of Random House Books (which publishes Dr. Seuss books), 10 books for their home library from “Score-A-Goal in the Classroom,” signed hat from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick and a gift bag from Texas Motor Speedway.
The top individuals from the other two schools that did not have the overall champion will receive a trophy, “Score-A-Goal in the Classroom” books and gift bag as well. The top classrooms in the K-2 and 3-5 divisions will earn a team trophy as well as gift bags and “Score-A-Goal in the Classroom” books for each student.
The overall individual and classroom champions will receive four tickets each to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, April 13, and the top individuals and classrooms at the two others school that do not claim the overall honors will receive two tickets each to the race.
The awards presentation will conclude with the announcing of the overall school champion. At stake is a giant champion’s trophy for display at the winning school, pizza party for the entire student body and faculty complements of Domino’s Pizza and the lion’s share of 2,000 books being donated to the three school libraries through “Score-A-Goal in the Classroom.”
Random House Books also will support the libraries at Clara Love, Hatfield and Justin by donating a Dr. Seuss Book Collection series to each as well as 30 copies of the classic “The Cat In The Hat” to aid in classroom book reading.
Texas Motor Speedway’s Speedway Club is donating certificates for a free dinner and spa day that will be used to reward the teachers of the winning classrooms and principal of the school champions.
Heading into the fourth and final turn of the competition, the three schools had combined to read 190,362 books with more than 80 percent of the collective student bodies meeting or exceeding their reading goals. Hatfield enters Turn 4 with the lead in the school competition.
About Texas Motor Speedway's "Speeding To Read" Program: 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. "Speeding To Read" is an incentive-based, NASCAR-themed reading program created by Texas Motor Speedway to encourage elementary school students to read more frequently during the school year. Texas Motor Speedway selected Clara Love Elementary School in nearby Justin, Texas, to partner with on this pilot program that debuted at the outset of the 2011-2012 school year. The student body was split into two divisions - kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade - with the classrooms competing against each other to read the most books and earn the title of "Speeding To Read"champions. TMS crowned the leaders in the two divisions - as well as individual leaders - quarterly and provided each leading classroom with a trophy and a gift bag for each of the students.
The quarters are based off key dates in the NASCAR schedule and represent the four turns of a race track. Turn 1 is the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup in mid-September; Turn 2 is TMS' AAA Texas 500 NASCAR race week in November; Turn 3 is the start of the new season with SpeedWeeks and the Daytona 500 in February; and Turn 4 is TMS' NRA 500 NASCAR race week in April.