Fourth-grader Whitney Thomason of Trophy Club's Samuel Beck Elementary School may have a future in NASCAR.
Thomason is not an aspiring race-car driver, but exhibited the artistic talent for creating the winning paint scheme in Spin Master's NASCAR Authentics "Design A Die-cast" competition among the 11 local elementary schools and more than 6,500 students participating in Texas Motor Speedway's "Speeding To Read" educational program.
On Friday in front of nearly 4,500 students at the "Speeding To Read" assembly crowning the year-long champions at Texas Motor Speedway, Spin Master's NASCAR Authentics presented Thomason with a die-cast with her design and surprised her by unveiling an actual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series show car bearing her paint scheme. She also received tickets to Sunday's Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from Texas Motor Speedway and a gift bag with NASCAR officially licensed merchandise.
Thomason's winning design, as voted upon by representatives from Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR and Spin Master, incorporated her school's colors and logo as well as reading into the overall theme. The car featured a blue design with black trim - Beck's school colors - while utilizing the school's bulldog paw prints throughout. Thomason added "Speed To Read!" on the hood and three open books on the deck lid. She also had flames coming off the paw prints and books as well as a flame design on the side and hood of the car.
"We are so excited to present Whitney Thomason with her very own Die-cast car," said Krista DiBerardino, Spin Master chief marketing officer. "Her design was exactly what we are looking for. She incorporated her school's colors and logo as well as reading into the overall theme. She should be very proud."
NASCAR Authentics and Texas Motor Speedway partnered to create the program as an incentive for the students participating in the speedway's third-year "Speeding To Read" program. To be eligible to participate in the "Design A Die-cast" competition, students had to meet or exceed their reading goals through Turn 3 of the "Speeding To Read" competition that concluded Feb. 3. The students had the month of February to work on their designs and then each school selected their top choice in both Kindergarten-2nd Grade and 3rd-5th Grade.
Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR and Spin Master then reviewed the paint schemes of the 22 finalists and selected the top two overall - which were both Grades 3-5 - as well as the best among K-2 students. Alyssa Cappadona, a fifth-grader at Haslet's J.C. Thompson Elementary School, was the runner-up in the overall competition with a design that was highlighted by a book on fire on the hood and JCT on the deck lid of a green-and-yellow paint scheme. Chloe Pace, a second grader at Lantana's E.P. Rayzor Elementary, had the top K-2 design featuring the school's mascot - a wolf - on the hood and "Read" on the deck lid on a blue car.
The 11 schools competing in the third year of the "Speeding To Read" program designed by Texas Motor Speedway as well as Spin Master's NASCAR Authentics "Design A Die-cast" competition encompass eight communities and three school districts (Northwest, Denton, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw) in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The schools consist of E.P. Rayzor (Argyle), Kay Granger (Keller) and Samuel Beck (Trophy Club) in the Frontstretch Division; Chisholm Ridge (Fort Worth), Clara Love (Justin), J.C. Thompson (Haslet) and Prairie View (Rhome) in the Backstretch Division; and Carl E. Schluter (Haslet), Haslet, Roanoke and Sendera Ranch (Haslet) in the Pit Road Division.