March 6, 2009 2:50 PM

Straight from 2008 Roush Fenway Racing Fan of the Year, Jon Ritt

“When I learned that I was voted in as the 2008 Fan of the Year, I was ecstatic to say the least!  I learned about my good fortune after checking my email while I was in my classroom.  My students were working independently on an assignment I had given and I decided to check my emails, and wouldn't you know it?  There it was, the message I had been hoping for!  When I opened it up and read that I had won the 2008 FOTY contest, I pumped my hands up in the air and exclaimed, "Yes!!"  It caught my students off guard briefly, and it only took a few seconds for one of them to say to me, "Did you win the voting Mr. Ritt?" and I replied, "I won, I won!"  The roar from my classroom was so loud that other teachers and students in the hallway came into my room to see what was going on. 

“After telling them the good news, they joined in the celebration also.  It was just a great feeling, and to have had my awesome and supportive 5th grade students right there when the announcement came made it even more special.  They had been asking me for over a week if I had heard anything or if I had won the FOTY voting, and I kept telling them, "Not yet but we'll find out soon I'm sure."  Well, that "soon" couldn't have come at a more opportune time with all of them around me.  It was an exciting, yet humbling moment to say the least.  To have been selected as the winner over so many other awesome Fan of the Year articles written and submitted by the other great Roush Fenway Racing fans, was just a dream come true for me.  As I told Amy Rowell, director of internet marketing for Roush Fenway Racing, being selected for this honor was my "lottery winning moment in my life".  I'm on "cloud nine" right now, and I don't want to come down.  I am such a big fan and supporter of Roush Fenway Racing and have been since the 1990's.  I couldn't be happier right now.

“When asked who my favorite driver is in the Roush group, I always hesitate to pick just one because I am a fan of all of them.  Who they are, how they drive their race cars and trucks, and their intensity and professionalism makes it difficult to have just one favorite.  I admire all of them.  But with that being said, if I had to choose, I'd lean in Carl's direction.  I truly admire Greg and Matt and have so much respect for them as drivers and as individuals, as well as the other guys too, but I guess Carl's personality, demeanor on the track, and friendliness to other people would make him my top choice.  After all, I do believe Carl did some substitute teaching at one time (if I'm not mistaken), and has been a fine spokesperson for the National PTA.  I guess that'd have to be a "no-brain-er" for me, a teacher myself.

“What people might want to know about me is that I have a wonderful and supportive wife named Lisa, and we have two beautiful daughters, Andrea and Abby, ages 3 and 7.  They all know daddy loves NASCAR, and especially Roush Fenway Racing.  I have been a 5th grade classroom teacher for 15 years now, and I teach at Westmore Elementary School in Lombard, Illinois.  I teach all academic areas to 27 awesome students, who by the way, are becoming little NASCAR fans themselves.   They always hear me talk about Roush Fenway Racing drivers and I have to admit, I am trying my best to convert them into Roush Fenway Racing fans.  It's working for the most part, but it can be a tough task to try and change a Dale Jr. fan into another driver's fan.  I guess you can't win them all over, but I'm up to the challenge of trying! 

“My favorite subject to teach is probably math because I get to use real racing items (all from Roush Fenway Racing of course) in my instruction to make their learning more valuable and fun.  I use tires and pistons for teaching radius, diameter, and circumference; race used sheet metal/body panels for measurement; lug nuts in a big container for estimation skills; charts with finishing positions or race results for finding the mean, median, mode, and range for the Roush drivers in a complete racing season; as well as calculator/computation skills for trying to figure out how much racing fuel might be used during a race or even the fuel mileage.  That last one is tricky for even me.  I might have to get some pointers from Bob Osborne or the other extremely skilled and knowledgeable Roush Fenway Racing crew chiefs on just how exactly that is done properly.  They're all great math guys in my opinion.

“In 2007, I had this big NASCAR/Roush Fenway Racing math event in my classroom for my students and I was in one of my local papers up here with a brief article and some photos of what I did with my kids.  I really tried to pump in the Roush Fenway Racing name to get the organization some PR (albeit on a smaller scale) as well because of how much I love the organization and all.

“I am really looking forward to coming to Charlotte/Concord in May, and representing Roush Fenway Racing as their 2008 Fan of the Year throughout the 2009 racing season.  It had always been a goal of mine to make it down to Charlotte, North Carolina at some point in my life to see the "home of NASCAR" and visit the Roush facilities.  That goal has now been reached, and the month of May can't come soon enough for me.  This is a tremendous opportunity and I intend to make the most of it!”

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