THE COLONY, Texas – It's race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

As part of the weekend festivities, NASCAR driver Aric Almirola made a pit stop Thursday morning at B.B. Owen Elementary School.

Almirola was there to answer questions, visit with students and honor the two winners of Lionel Racing's diecast car design contest.

"I like the fire part on the hood," said second-grader Mariyah Wortman, one of the contest's winners.

Wortman's winning design was inspired by firefighters.

"I like the big red truck and how they help people," Wortman said.

"I thought that was so cool that she decided to honor the firefighters," said Almirola, who drives the No. 10 car for Stewart-Haas Racing.

As fate, or coincidence, would have it, Almirola's father is a fireman.

"My dad's going on 32 years of being a firefighter for the Hillsborough County Fire Department in Tampa, Florida," he said.

Oddly enough, Wortman had never met a firefighter until Thursday, when she met The Colony Fire Chief Scott Thompson and his crew.

"It's an honor that Mariyah chose firefighters for her inspiration," Thompson said. "I've been doing this for 30-plus years and I've gone to hundreds and hundreds of these school events, and this is right up there at the top."

That's where Almirola hopes to come Sunday's race.

This week's NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race is the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 from Texas Motor Speedway. Start time is Sunday at 1 p.m.