Ivy Bound Academy School News
Ivy Bound Academy’s Middle School Read to Race winners ‘ride’ with Julien Penaruiz in NASCAR’s Toyota All-Star Showdown.
When Julien Penaruiz got the call to be the guest speaker at the Sherman Oaks, California Ivy Bound Academy’s Middle School Read to Race winner’s luncheon, he had no idea what he would encounter. In all, 6 teams of 30 kids, 5th thru 8th graders, participated in the Motorsports Institute’s Read to Race program.
The Read to Race program had the children reading books, accumulating pages of material read, challenging for the top honors. The Toyota Speedway at Irwindale sponsored the contest, and was closely monitored by Ms.Erica Hill, the MSI-LA Program Director. Ultimately, a 6th grade class of 30 students read over 40,000 pages (Harry Potter books included!) to get a come-from-behind NASCAR-like victory over the second-place team that read over 35,000 pages.
The room was abuzz with excitement as the winning 6th grade team got to meet and question this accomplished international race car driver, Hollywood actor, (Tornado, Nature Unleashed) and International fashion model. Julien Penaruiz (pronounced Pen-a-ruse), born in Paris, France, started driving in European Formula C where he drove against the likes of Sebastien Bourdais and won the division before coming to the United States. He has competed here in the U.S. in both NASCAR and ARCA events. Today, Julien calls Beverly Hills, California his home.
“Being in front of a camera for a movie shoot, doing stunt car driving or working with a photographer for a fashion magazine is so much easier compared to standing in front of a room filled with such educated children!” he said. “The questions these kids had for me really took me by surprise! These students had much more knowledge about motor racing in all forms than you would ever imagine. Questions about NASCAR, Formula 1, off-road, karting — they knew it all.
“It was fantastic, these kids were so smart!” said Penaruiz. “I am so happy to be able to compete not only for the kids, but for my hometown fans in the Los Angeles area.” After a fun-filled lunch and Q&A session, the kids lined up for autographs and photos that seemed to never end. The winning students were his honorary crew members for the race, and each of the children that competed autographed their name on the hood of his #16 Super Late Model and thereby ‘rode’ with him at the Showdown for the the 100-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model feature at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on Friday, January 29, 2010.
MaryAnne Howland, President of the Motorsports Institute in Tennessee, said recently that a study done at a member school showed measurable results in a skills measurement taken after the Read to Race program was given. The institute has other learning programs that may interest students in art, math and science. The Motorsports Institute is designed to provide the educational opportunity, practical experience, training and equipment that will provide all participating students with the tools necessary to secure meaningful employment in the motorsports industry, regardless of race, gender or financial resources. The Motorsports Institute is headquartered at 1024 17th Avenue South in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I have heard so many great things about the Toyota Speedway at Iwrindale, and can’t wait to drive this speedway“ said Penaruiz before the race, as this was his first time competing at the super-fast facility. “The progressive banking makes this feel more like a track of larger proportion, so I hope to get the feel of it very quickly.” The Penaruiz-driven, Big Apple Motorsports entry had John Soares as crew chief, Larry Wells Sr. and Larry Wells Jr. as his pit crew. The #16 Chevrolet is sponsored by VHS Diamonds of Los Angeles, Scheidecker Fabrications of Rialto, CA, JSR Motorsports of San Bernardino CA, and KSR graphics of Hesperia, CA.
The Jan. 29-30 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown was highlighted by the 225-lap NASCAR Camping World Series all-star race. The 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown schedule also included the 100-lap Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model Friday and 75-lap Late Model races Saturday. Race results are posted here.