Kids, Families, and Education
Two days, two different drivers. That’s what happened at Richmond International Raceway on Tuesday and Wednesday. The common theme between the two? Kids, Families, and Education.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth and NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Dakoda Armstrong both made appearances in the Richmond area to get fans excited about next weekend’s NASCAR doubleheader at America’s Premier Short Track. But not just any fans. NASCAR’s youngest fans.
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, visited the Science Museum of Virginia located right here in Richmond on Wednesday. The Science Museum of Virginia powers the Virginia529 Kids Zone at RIR during race weekend and brings interactive educational exhibits to the racetrack.
Kenseth, a four-time dad, knows the importance of making education fun for kids, so that’s why he did a “test drive” of the exhibits that will be here race weekend. But, he didn’t do it alone. He was the guest chaperone for a 5th grade field trip. He joined the 5th graders for a slot car race and experienced the Science Unplugged Exhibit, which includes gravity-defying activities.
Kenseth was also a guest panelist for the Lunch Break Science series, featuring The Physics of Speed and NASCAR. Kenseth was joined by physicist Dr. Christine Helms, Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Richmond. The duo was asked questions about the impact of going 200 mph on Kenseth’s body, what shape racetrack provides the highest speeds, and what Kenseth does to train and prepare for the races.
Kenseth and Helms also participated in a speed round, but prior to that there was a pit stop of sorts. A quick change of the table cloth and coffee mugs, and Kenseth and Helms were ready for questions to be fired their way. They were asked to pick between Will Ferrell or Tom Cruise, the fastest they have ever driven in a passenger car, and more. Once they were done, the audience asked questions about racing and science. Kenseth reminded everyone to come see the science of NASCAR come to life when he battles for a coveted win sticker in the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at RIR on Sunday, April 24th.
The fun didn’t stop there though. There was another round of kids and education when Dakoda Armstrong, driver of the No. 28 JGL Racing Toyota in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, stopped in Richmond on Tuesday.
It wasn’t just any usual day for Armstrong, he went to school at Nuckols Farm Elementary. He made a new squad of friends, which included kindergartners, 1st graders, and 2nd graders at the elementary school. Armstrong read the book “Racer Buddies: Rematch at Richmond” to his new friends and answered all their questions. Some wanted to know how fast he goes in his racecar, how old he was when he started racing, and how many races he has competed in.
He ended his trip to Nuckols Farm Elementary by showing Mrs. Hudson’s kindergartners the official RIR pace car and posing for photos with group. Many kids asked if it was a police car with its blinking lights, but soon learned from Dakoda, that it was the “line leader car.”
Armstrong ended his with a stop at the Capital One Providence Park Boys & Girls Club near RIR. He was greeted as soon as he entered the door with signs and banners. The kids were ready for him with questions about his car and his racing career. Once he answered all their questions, the kids invited him to play a few games with them. From foosball to an inflatable, ring-toss game, Armstrong played alongside the kids. He told them good-bye and invited them to come see him in action at the ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at RIR on Saturday, April 23rd.