Rossi cools his wheels at Tall Pines |

Rossi cools his wheels at Tall Pines

Teacher Debby stood at the head of the class and introduced the semicircle of Tall Pines Nursery School students to Alexander Rossi ” aka “the race-car driver” to the crowd on hand.

Rossi, a 17-year-old world champion driver raised just up the highway in Nevada City, stopped by the school Wednesday at the Nevada County Fairgrounds to show the 3-5 year-olds the importance of chasing your dreams.

“Ever since I was your age, my dad was taking me to races in Monterey,” Rossi told the group of wide-eyed youngsters. “And when I was 10 years old, he got me into a go-kart and I fell in love with it.”

And seven years later, he became the first American to win the Formula BMW World Championship and is currently testing with European teams for the upcoming season.

“See friends,” Debby Biddinger, aka “Teacher Debby,” told her class members, “he had a dream and now he’s doing it.”

And how. Rossi dominated the series with 10 wins, many of which he relived with the students via a DVD player.

“There you are!” one boy shouted, pointing to blue race car speeding around the track on the TV screen before him.

“Everything was going well,” Rossi said. “I was leading the race. But then the car broke.

“I’m sure you’ve had toys that have been broken before. It’s not real fun.”

“But my toys,” 5-year-old Christopher Newell added, “they are re-fixable.”

Fortunately for Rossi and his EuroInternational team, his car was “re-fixable” enough to win the series championship.

Throughout his presentation, Rossi relayed lessons he learned along the way to the title. He discussed the importance of forging ahead in the face of adversity, finding a way to resolve problems with teammates and also addressed topics such as the difficulty of racing in rainy weather, when a car in front leaves a spray of water in your line of sight.

“That’s why our cars have windshield wipers,” the young Mr. Newell noted.

After the video footage had finished, and the children had applauded each checkered flag and Rossi reaching the top spot of the podium, the racing phenom fielded a few questions while posing for some photos.

“Was that guy who bumped into the wall OK?” Ani Dixon asked.

“He was OK,” Rossi reassured her. “He raced the next day.”

“How many girls do you know racing?” Quinlin Schug wanted to know.

“Six,” Rossi said, after some thought.

“Could you sign this?” Brandon Weaver asked, handing him a small wooden race car that he had painted blue in anticipation of Rossi’s arrival that morning.

“Of course,” Rossi said, offering the first of many autographs for his newfound friends, who thanked the “race-car driver” for stopping by and showing them that their dreams can come true.

To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail or call 477-4240.

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