It could have been a night club act -- The “Oriol and Simona Show” – as Racing For Kids® drivers, Oriol Servia and Simona de Silvestro, entertained 80 students at Santa Rosa’s (CA) North Valley School Thursday, August 23.
The drivers found a willing audience for their lively banter and good-natured joking. When one of the 80 students, from grades 1-12, asked whose autograph would draw a higher price on eBay, Oriol laughed: “depends on who the audience is.” He added he thought his signature would do quite well.
Simona countered that her signature won the top bid in a Racing For Kids eBay auction in 2010.
North Valley School is a well-run facility that works with troubled youth some of whom are hearing impaired. The students were engaging and deeply interested in IndyCar Racing asking intelligent, probing questions:
“How does the aerodynamics of the car work?” “Stick shift or automatic?” “When did you start racing?” “How do the courses differ?” What tire pressure do you usually run?” “How does tire pressure affect performance of you car?” “Are the tires all the same for each track?” How is the IndyCar Series different from NASCAR?”
Oriol and Simona both said they found the student-engagement especially enjoyable and answered every question precisely.
“I get more out of these Racing For Kids visits than they do, “offered Servia, who drives the #22 TranSystems Chevrolet Dallara for Panther Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
“These kids are racing fans,” effused de Silvestro, who gained assurances that the North Valley School students would be glued to their TVs on Sunday (August 26) for “The GoPro Grand Prix Sonoma.” She drives the #78 Nuclear Lotus Dallara for HVM Racing.
Overseeing the visit was Lorna Kenney, North Valley School principal, who scheduled three separate groups into the two hour program. Each student was delighted with the opportunity to sit in the IZOD IndyCar Series “Racing For Kids” show car, patiently waiting in line for their turn.
“Did this car race in the Indy 500?” asked one surprised 7th Grader. “Raced a whole season,” answered Servia.
As one youngster reached toward a dashboard button on the decommissioned show car, Servia snapped: “Oh don’t push that” as if the car was about to take off. Then he smiled and confessed to the startled, wide-eyed youngster,”I was just kidding.”
As the program wound down the last group headed back to school with a resounding “Thank You” to the two drivers.
One youngster yelled to Servia: Good bye, Mr. Chubs.”
“What was that all about?” deadpanned the affable Spaniard, who finished 4thin this Year’s Indy 500.
“He thinks you’re chubby,” chided a laughing de Silvestro, who quickly tweeted Servia’s new moniker.
Be sure to check the local newspapers for the arrival of the “Oriol & Simona Show” in your town this off-season.