Andretti takes time to drive for literacy

by Dave Yaeck
April 25, 2003

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John Andretti carries the Literacy logo on his car this weekend in Fontana
Photo courtesy Dodge

Starting out the weekend’s festivities at California Speedway in Fontana was a breakfast for over 400 elementary school kids from the Fontana School District sponsored by Team Cheerios and Betty Crocker. John Andretti, driver of the No. 43 Cheerios Dodge was the special guest.

Andretti, read from a book “Adventures of Erasmus Twiddle” that was being handed out to all the children in attendance while they were treated to breakfast and prizes. This event is part of the weekend promotion from Cheerios and it’s commitment to childhood literacy. This weekend the #43 car will have something different on it’s hood and that is a promotion for childhood literacy and Team Cheerios and First Book, a national children’s literacy organization, will donate 43 books per lap to children in need in the Fontana and Los Angeles California area.

“As a father myself, I know the importance of reading and the critical role it plays in children wanting to learn,” Andretti said. He and his wife Nancy have three children, two in elementary school.

If Andretti completes all 500 miles on Sunday, 10,750 books will be donated to children participating in Boys and Girls Club of Fontana, Sivaland Head Start and The Agape House, in Fontana and LA’s Best, an after-school program in Los Angeles.

Kevin Sandoval

All the children were very excited to be at the breakfast. So excited, that they forgot they were there to listen as Andretti read to them, except for nine year old Kevin Sandoval of Fontana. Kevin listened attentively to Andretti and was rewarded by the Cheerios driver who acknowledged his good listening skills and signed the book he was reading and gave it to the youngster. A fourth grader, Kevin was excited to be chosen but admitted that he prefers horror stories to the book that was given to him. Sandoval, a fan of NASCAR, told this writer that his favorite driver is Jeff Gordon but he thought Andretti was pretty cool.

Andretti and Petty Enterprises are partnering in this effort in the Auto Club 500 by encouraging children to read more, and by reaching out to help others. For further information in the program you can contact the Williams Company of America at www.williamscompany.com.

The author can be contacted nascar@autoracing1.com

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