For Immediate Release
November 21, 2016
Contact Information

Neal Gulkis,
Stephanie Gonzalez-Solis, 305.336.4907,
Greg Rios,
Seth Levit,


(Black PR Wire) MIAMI- Ford Championship Weekend is certainly about world-class racing and crowning champions in each of NASCAR’s three premier series – Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Trucks. It is also about community, and Homestead-Miami Speedway has continued in its commitment to have kids excel in school through programs such as “Racing to Read.”

This year, the championship track partnered with Miami Dade Public Schools and the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network of the Jason Taylor Foundation to launch the “Write Track Poetry” competition. Starting in September, students from three Miami-Dade County middle schools – Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts, Richmond Heights Middle and Hammock Middle - submitted poems based on the theme, What Does it Mean to be a Champion? In addition, pep rallies were held at these middle schools where more than 2,000 participating students listened to bluapple Poetry Network poets perform spoken word.

The winning poem was submitted by 8th-grader Paolo Casti of Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts. Not only was Paolo honored prior to Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series championship race, but he will now also have a chance to perform at the bluapple Poetry Network’s Louder Than a Bomb Florida spoken word competition, which will be held in April 2017.

The top 10 students in each grade (6-8) from all three schools are in attendance for today’s Ford EcoBoost 300.

“The Jason Taylor Foundation, and specifically the bluapple Poetry Network, has made a profound impact on the youth of South Florida, and this competition is a prime example of that,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. “Reaching out to students and encouraging them to express their feelings while at the same time allowing them to enhance their writing skills is imperative in their development. We are thrilled that we were able to partner with such a great organization to help achieve these goals.”

“Education and empowerment are the critical pillars on which our organization is built, and all of the students who participated in the competition this year personify that spirit,” said Seth Levit, Executive Director of the Jason Taylor Foundation. “Homestead-Miami Speedway helps to produce champions not just on the track, but in the classroom as well. Collaborating with a like-minded partner to help young people improve upon their literary skills, think critically and develop their own voice speaks to the core of why Jason established this Foundation.”

About the Jason Taylor Foundation

In July 2004, Miami Dolphins legendary Defensive End, Jason Taylor, established the Jason Taylor Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization. The Foundation’s mission is to support and create programs that facilitate the personal growth and empowerment of South Florida’s children in need by focusing on improved health care, education and quality of life.

Since opening its doors, the Jason Taylor Foundation has impacted tens of thousands of children through innovative programming including The Jason Taylor Reading Room, Cool Gear for the School Year, the Jason Taylor Children’s Learning Center, Jason Taylor Scholars and the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, among others. For more information on the Jason Taylor Foundation, please visit the organization’s website at www.JasonTaylorFoundation.orgor follow on social media sites including Facebook: or Twitter and Instagram: @jtfoundation99

About Homestead-Miami Speedway
The Speedway has been open since 1995 following an initiative to spur economic recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. The track, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015, is a 650-acre facility that features a 1.5-mile oval and 2.21-mile road course. The track is active nearly 300 days per year and generates more than $301 million annually for the region. NASCAR has crowned its champions in all three of its premier series at Homestead-Miami Speedway each of the past 14 years (2002-15) at Ford Championship Weekend. Champions crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2015 were Kyle Busch (Sprint Cup Series), Chris Buescher (XFINITY Series) and Erik Jones (Camping World Truck Series). The 2016 Ford Championship Weekend will be held November 18-20.