Denver: Grand Marshal Mile-High Nationals

Mopar announces Special Grand Marshal ' Race to Read' program tackles Denver-area illiteracy. MORRISON, Colo. (July 10, 2002) -- The lessons that Mopar's drag racing engineers learn can occur in just 4.80 seconds. The lessons that Denver-area ...

Mopar announces Special Grand Marshal ' Race to Read' program tackles Denver-area illiteracy.

MORRISON, Colo. (July 10, 2002) -- The lessons that Mopar's drag racing engineers learn can occur in just 4.80 seconds. The lessons that Denver-area children learn from Bandimere Speedway's' Race to Read' program last a lifetime.

Mopar Parts, long-time supporter of Bandimere Speedway, has selected' Race to Read' program director Tami Shrader as Grand Marshal for the 23rd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals on July 18-21. Shrader, who is the daughter of Bandimere Speedway owner John Bandimere, also serves as the track's public relations director. In addition, 15 of the' top readers' of the' Race to Read' program and their parents will be in attendance to celebrate the occasion.

"This is such a great honor," Shrader said."The children are so excited to be here. Each of them have already received their tickets. We can't thank Mopar enough for all the support they lend Bandimere Speedway and the surrounding community. This program has received a great deal of positive feed back from area schools and we hope that it only grows from here."

The program, started by Shrader in 1995, is a six-week, incentive-based, race-themed reading curriculum serving Denver-area elementary schools and students. Rooney Ranch Elementary School in Lakewood, Colo., was the first to participate in the' Race to Read' program seven years ago. The program had served 18 schools by 1999 and 35 schools in 2002; and currently helps nearly 17,000 children tackle illiteracy.

"I couldn't think of a better way to reach our neighbors," John Bandimere said."' Race to Read' has been a tremendous positive for the track and our community. It focuses on goal setting, and gives children rewards for their hard work. It also exposes the parents to Bandimere Speedway, and the family oriented programs we host on a weekly basis."

Students from kindergarten to second grade are required to read (or be read to) in 15-minute intervals, while third- through sixth-grade students need to read in 30-minute intervals. A race-themed, take-home reading sheet allows K-2 students (primary) four hours and 3-6 students (intermediate) eight hours of additional reading. To finish the' Race to Read' curriculum, primary students have to complete 16 hours and intermediate students have to complete 32 hours of additional reading. A prize is awarded for each take-home reading sheet completed.

"The' Race to Read' program is unique in many ways," said Brett Fischer, DaimlerChrysler Drag Racing program manager."The great thing about this curriculum is that it really helps the students learn. When students finish this program, they not only know how to read, but they truly enjoy their new skill. That's why the' Race to Read' program is so effective.

"It also keeps children involved in reading through their elementary school experience," Fischer added." DaimlerChrysler, Mopar Parts and the Mopar Parts Denver Service Guild are fully behind this outstanding reading program."

In 1999, the' Race to Read' program won the prestigious Jefferson Foundation Crystal Globe Award for distinguished service and Jefferson County's (Colo.) Good News-Good Neighbor Coalition Award for contribution to the community. Recently, the program earned the 2002 Jefferson Economic Council Chairman's Choice Award.

Mopar Parts, the parts arm of the DaimlerChrysler Motors Corp., sponsors three professional teams and four drivers in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, including Nitro Funny Car driver Dean Skuza of Skuza Motorsports, the factory-backed Pro Stock team of Nickens Brothers Racing with drivers Darrell Alderman and Gene Wilson and the Pro Stock team of Larry Morgan Racing with driver Larry Morgan.

-Mopar.com-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Gene Wilson