NASCAR's Jeff Gordon, The Cat in the Hat greet reading program students

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA Sports

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 11 at 11:10 PM

FORT WORTH -- NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon made an unusual entrance to Texas Motor Speedway Thursday.

Gordon arrived on a motorcycle with The Cat in the Hat -- the furry mascot of Dr. Seuss fame. Both were guests of the speedway's "Speeding to Read" program, attended by 1,500 students from three schools of the Northwest Independent School District.

“We began with them two years ago, and it has really motivated the kids," said Julie Nerby, principal of Clara Love Elementary School.

The three schools combined to read more than 283,000 books for the school year, something even Gordon can't top.

"Aw, that's impressive -- that's a definite no," Gordon said. "I don't think I’ve read that many books, or will, in my lifetime."

Katie, a kindergartner, read 2,890 books on her own. Or, "A lot!” (as she put it).

It wasn't long before Gordon was on the track for the first practice session, getting ready for Saturday night's NRA 500.

"We've run good here, but we've also run really bad here at times and struggled here," Gordon said. "Like I said, this is a very challenging race track, so it can go either way."

Gordon is currently 12th in the Sprint Cup standings. His only win here at Texas came four years ago. He's started from the pole position on three different occasions -- more than any other driver.

"It's not an easy mile-and-a-half track," Gordon said. "I love how the grove has really moved around."

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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