"I always wanted something to happen, like me getting famous for singing or dancing, but then this just happened out of nowhere."
Former B.B. Owen Elementary (Lewisville ISD) student Xavier Gooden knows all too well what can happen when you win the Lionel Design-a-Diecast competition through Texas Motor Speedway's Speeding to Read S.T.E.A.M. Powered by Fun 2 Discover program. He won in 2017.
Gooden watched his NASCAR paint scheme design transform from paper to a real, three-dimension, metal 1:24 scale die-cast car. He had that car presented to him by an actual NASCAR driver (in his case it was Bubba Wallace). He saw it turned into the 1:64 scale models we all played with as kids. Then he was given hundreds of those 1:64 models to give to his classmates. Finally, his design (remember these kids are between the ages of 6-12) was sold in stores like Walmart and Target across the country.
That's the power of this contest, and that's why nearly 8,000 students at the 14 Dallas/Fort Worth elementary schools participating in Texas Motor Speedway's Speeding to Read S.T.E.A.M. Powered by Fun 2 Discover program showcased their artistic talents this week.
This is the fifth straight year Lionel Racing, the "Official Die-Cast of NASCAR", has sponsored the event. Students are given a sheet of paper with the outline of a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stock car on it. Their challenge is to make a design that means something to them and write a short essay explaining why it's special.
Diamond Hill Elementary School's Alondra Villa was last year's champion, receiving her winning design from Cup Series driver Aric Almirola. Her design honored America, her school, and peace throughout the world, and those themes were prevalent again at Diamond Hill.
"I love my country, so that's why I painted it like this," Diamond Hill 2nd Grader Ivan Herrera said, motioning toward his American flag design.
"I used the eagle because it represents our school and the United States," said Diamond Hill 4th Grader Ashley Aguelera as she showed off her bright yellow chassis with an eagle filling the hood.
Winners will be selected in both the KG-2nd and 3rd-6th grade divisions and each will receive an actual 1:24 scale, hood-opening, trunk-opening die-cast with their paint scheme presented to them during a school assembly coinciding with March's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR tripleheader race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The two winners also will receive four tickets each to the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, March 31.
The overall winning design among those two students will have the distinction of having their paint scheme added to Lionel Racing's commercial NASCAR Authentics line that will be available at various national retailers including Walmart, Target, and more. Lionel Racing also will celebrate the winner at his or her respective school by providing every student and faculty member with that die-cast as a memento of the accomplishment at a later date.
The 14 Speeding To Read schools, which represent four of the 10 largest districts in the Metroplex, are B.B. Owen (Lewisville ISD), Brent (Little Elm), Carl E. Schluter (Northwest), Carter Park (Fort Worth), Diamond Hill (Fort Worth), Dolores Huerta (Fort Worth), Homestead (Lewisville), Jay R. Thompson (Mesquite), Price (Mesquite), Ruby Shaw (Mesquite), Sidney H. Poynter (Crowley), S.M. Seabourn (Mesquite), Stewart's Creek (Lewisville) and Tom C. Gooch (Dallas).
Each school will vote on and submit their top design in grade categories K-2 and 3-6 to Texas Motor Speedway, where speedway officials and Lionel Racing will determine the winners. The designs will be judged on originality, incorporating reading and/or school elements into the design, having an orderly appearance that can be transferred to an authentic die-cast, and the essay behind the theme.
Lionel Racing is among the proud partners of Texas Motor Speedway's Speeding to Read S.T.E.A.M. Powered by Fun 2 Discover program. Speeding to Read is also supported by: NASCAR, NTT IndyCar Series, Lionel Racing, Speedway World, Levy Restaurants, The Speedway Club, Food for the soul, aai Trophies and Awards of Plano, Jostens, Woolley's Frozen Custard, Reunion Tower, Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter, and Team Texas High Performance Driving School.