FORT WORTH, Texas (October 31, 2013) ? Texas Motor Speedway and defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion James Buescher had more treat than trick on Halloween morning for the 3,500 elementary school students that came to Texas Motor Speedway for Thursday's Turn 2 assembly of the "Speeding To Read" competition.
Buescher and Texas Motor Speedway treated the top readers to tickets to Friday evening's NCWTS WinStar World Casino 350, trophies and speedway gift bags as six of the 11 schools competing converged on the frontstretch grandstands for the awards presentation at the midpoint of the competition. Buescher, a native of nearby Plano, Texas, was joined by E.P. Rayzor Elementary of the Denton ISD, Chisholm Ridge of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and Roanoke, Haslet, Sendera Ranch and Carl E. Schluter of the Northwest ISD while fellow competitors Samuel Beck, Kay Granger, Clara Love, Prairie View and J.C. Thompson from NISD will visit later in the school year.
The 11 schools combined to read 340,288 books since the program kicked off during the first week of school in August. Roanoke Elementary, one of three division leaders, was crowned the Turn 2 leader among all the schools as it earned the top position by having 99.2% of their entire student body reach their reading goals. The other division leaders were Rayzor (87.6%) and Clara Love (87.02%).
"This is the best way to start the weekend, spending it out here with you guys," Buescher told the students. "I get to do a lot of really cool things with the race track like the Speeding to Read program and spending time with all you kids. ? This is awesome. If you keep going, I think you can read a million books by the end of the year."
The top individual for the kindergarten-2nd grade division was Roanoke first-grader Lillian Smith, who read 777 books. The other division leaders were Clara Love kindergartner Thatcher Hochstetler (636 books) and Rayzor first-grader Ethan Harmon (460 books). In Grades 3-5, the top individual was Beck third-grader Ashton McRae, who read 124 chapter books. The other division leaders were Sendera Ranch fourth-grader Elizabeth Rasmussen (101 books) and Clara Love third-grader Dominic Duarte (81 books).
The top K-2 classroom was Ms. Peterson's first-grade class from Rayzor, which read 6,053 books and averaged 302.65 per student. The leading 3-5 classroom was Ms. Kiplinger's third-grade class from Beck, which read 720 chapter books and averaged 40 per student.
During the assembly, Buescher awarded trophies, presented race tickets, posed for photos and signed a few "Speeding To Read" t-shirts on stage with the top readers and also conducted a Q&A with students from each of the six schools. The questions ranged from the humorous on whether he had a door on his truck or had to climb in through the window to the more serious of pursuing the dream of how to become an aspiring race-car driver.
"I'd say the best advice that I could give is to work hard and follow your dreams," Buescher told the assembly. "There are a lot of things that get in the way, but if you keep working hard and want it bad enough you can get whatever you want in life. I wanted to be a race-car driver and here I am. You work hard and anything can happen, just follow your dreams."
"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. The program debuted in 2011 with Justin's Clara Love Elementary serving as the pilot school. After expanding to three schools in 2012, "Speeding To Read" swelled to 11 schools this year and is reaching eight North Texas communities, three school districts and more than 6,500 children.
This year's competition features three divisions, each of which is based off enrollment size and student body demographics, to determine the "Speeding To Read" champions for Kindergarten through 2nd grade and Grades 3-5. The Frontstretch Division consists of Beck, Granger and Rayzor. The Backstretch Division is comprised of Clara Love, Prairie View, Chisholm Ridge and Thompson. The Pit Stop Division consists of Roanoke, Sendera Ranch, Haslet and Schluter.
- Texas Motor Speedway