FORT WORTH, Texas (May 20, 2013) – IZOD IndyCar Series driver Marco Andretti showcased his “serve-and-volley” skills in vastly different styles while in Dallas on Monday to promote the June 8 Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Andretti had his best serve of the day during his visit to Campisi’s Restaurant, the original on Mockingbird Lane that produced Dallas’ first pizza pies in 1946, when he created and served pizzas to the local media to highlight his Italian heritage. He then exhibited his volleying skills when he visited at nearby Highland Park High School to congratulate the boys and girls tennis teams on their most recent Class 4A state championships and then proceeded to play eight games of doubles competition with the squad.
At Campisi’s, Andretti was presented a black restaurant chef’s coat by restaurant proprietor David Campisi and the two headed to the kitchen to create Campisi’s famous “All The Way” pizza pie. Andretti received a lesson in pizza making from the area’s best, starting with kneading and flattening the dough; spreading the sauce and smoked provolone cheese; and then topping the signature pizza with its savory ingredients of Italian sausage, mushrooms, salami, green onions, green peppers and oregano. After sliding the pizzas in the oven, they came out to perfection shortly after and then Andretti learned how to cut Campisi’s unique rectangular pizzas and art of sliding it onto the serving plates for the presentation.
Pizza was just part of the fun for Andretti as he joined a distinguished group of special guests who have visited Campisi’s. He presented Campisi with a personally autographed photo of him from Texas Motor Speedway and the two added it to the restaurant’s prestigious Wall of Fame that has hundreds of celebrities and athletes from throughout the years.
“Campisi’s is such a cool place,” Andretti said. “I’ve heard a lot about it. I’m just kind of in awe, taking in all the pictures on the wall and all the people that have been here. They were making me look good in the kitchen. I’m a little rusty, but the pizza came out amazing so that’s a good thing.”
Andretti burned off his calories from a few slices of the “All the Way” pizza he created with a stop at Highland Park High School to take on the Scots tennis team, winners of 15 4A state tennis championships. Andretti discussed with the team members about having to have the passion to achieve your dreams and then showcased his athletic skills as he took on members of the 2013 state championship team.
Andretti, a novice tennis player who enjoys the sport and has a court at his home in Nazareth, Pa., partnered with state singles champion Elizabeth Porter to take on the other team members in a doubles event. The Andretti/Porter tandem competed in two games each against the teams of Connor LaFavre (mixed doubles state champion) and Hunter Holman (boys doubles state champion); Nan Porter (girls doubles state champion) and Elizabeth Burgos (girls doubles state runner-up); Sarah Cannon (mixed doubles state runner-up) and Avery Schober (mixed doubles state runner-up); and Maddie Gordon (girls doubles state runner-up) and Burgos.
Andretti celebrate the team’s recent accomplishment of winning titles in girls singles, girls doubles, boys doubles and mixed doubles by providing them with a pizza party compliments of Campisi’s after the match.
“It’s not fun; I’m getting my butt kicked,” Andretti said, laughing. “I actually enjoyed myself; those kids are unbelievable, especially for their age. But, I haven’t seen tennis played like that in person ever, so that was pretty fun for me. Those kids are impressive, so I’m not surprised they are as successful as they are.”
Andretti will return to Fort Worth for the Firestone 550 on Saturday, June 8. Tickets for the Firestone 550 are available by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.