Green Flag Drops on 2009 Read for Speed Program

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Watkins Glen International dropped the green flag on this year's "Read for Speed" reading program during separate assemblies at two local elementary schools this week. The students at Watkins Glen Elementary School (WGE) began their fifth year as part of the highly successfully program on Monday, February 23rd and Fassett Elementary School in Elmira, NY kicked off their third year of participation on Tuesday, February 24th. The program offers gift certificates from area businesses, exclusive track access and once in a lifetime opportunities at the track as rewards for reading comprehension and will run until May 15th.

Watkins Glen International initially launched the Read for Speed program at Watkins Glen Elementary in 2005. Students read over 19,000 books in 2008 and as a reward they had the opportunity to “sink” Principal Rodney Weeden in a dunk tank at the end of the school year. Aside from tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at The Glen or Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen weekends, WGE students will be awarded gift certificates from Friendly’s restaurant at the Arnot Mall in Big Flats, NY, McDonald’s restaurants in Elmira, NY and Watkins Glen, Johnny’s Bowling Lanes in Watkins Glen, and swimming passes to Chemung County Buildings and Grounds operated aquatic facilities Harris Hill Pool and Park Station Waterfront.

“This is the fifth year for the Read for Speed Program here at Watkins Glen Elementary and it continues to be very successful,” said Rodney Weeden, principal of Watkins Glen Elementary. “It is a great reading incentive program that is supported by our local business community and it helps many of our students gain a love of reading by simple positive reinforcement”.

This will be the third year that the Read for Speed program officially runs at Fassett Elementary School. The first grade classes at Washington Elementary in Elmira, NY, participated in a scaled down version of the program in 2006. Those classes moved to Fassett Elementary in 2007 and will once again participate in the entire program which includes the chance to win tickets to The Glen’s two biggest weekends. Students will also have the chance to win gift certificates from Friendly’s restaurant at the Arnot Mall, Rossi Bowling Lanes and McDonald’s restaurants in Elmira, NY, and swimming passes to Harris Hill and Park State Waterfront.

“Read for Speed has been encouraging our 1st graders to read since 2006 and is a wonderful program,” said Sarah Welliver, 1st Grade teacher at Fassett. “We appreciate all the support The Glen provides for such a worthwhile cause. It is a great way to jumpstart reading.”

The “fastest” classes at Watkins Glen Elementary will be rewarded for their reading with a bus trip to The Glen in June prior to the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Students will be treated to three laps around the historic road course behind a pace car and head over to the FrontStretch Grandstand to eat their lunches and be treated to ice cream cake provided by Friendly’s restaurant.

The program also features a reading “Pit Stop” in April where individual classrooms can play racing games, hangout with Read for Speed mascot Max Traxx, check out the Official WGI Pace Car, and get their picture taken with The Glen’s NASCAR Nationwide Series show car.

Tickets for the entire 2009 season at Watkins Glen International are on sale now! For tickets and information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen website at www.TheGlen.com. Tickets, gift certificates and track merchandise can be all purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen, Open Monday-Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4, Closed Sunday; 607-535-2338.

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