More than 900 North Bay students from 45 classrooms and clubs will take part in the 6th annual STEM Race Car Challenge, presented by Friedman's Home Improvement.

This curriculum-based program, a partnership with Sonoma Raceway, Kid Scoop News and Friedman's Home Improvement, focuses on educating students about the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and culminates at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event in June.

Groups of student engineers have been tasked with developing a gravity-powered race car utilizing recycled materials. Kid Scoop News works closely with teachers to develop a STEM-based curriculum that challenges students to think critically and work collaboratively to build the quickest car. Activities in the STEM Race Car Challenge, presented by Friedman's Home Improvement, a leading and locally-owned home improvement retailer serving the North Bay and North Coast, are designed to introduce and reinforce both national common core standards and 21st century job skills.

Students will put their purpose-built race cars to the test in a series of qualifying rounds at each school or Boys & Girls Club, which will narrow down to a group of finalists who will compete in the final round on Saturday, June 22, of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend. Winners will be named for Most Creative Car, overall winning team and winning teacher. New for 2019, all student racers and their families will take part in a behind-the-scenes tour of the NASCAR garage to experience STEM and racing in action.

In addition, the winning student engineers of the STEM Race Car Challenge will serve as VIPs during the Carneros 200 NASCAR West Series race on Saturday, receive a trophy and the ultimate Sonoma Raceway prize pack. Last year's winning team was "Speed Girls"; Alia, Birdie, Ella and Madison from Windsor Creek Elementary.

For the past five years, Sonoma Raceway has partnered with Sonoma-based Kid Scoop News, a children's literacy non-profit that publishes and distributes a free monthly reader to 500 classrooms and 18,000 kids in the North and East Bay, on the race car challenge. Kid Scoop News has been key to the program, as the organization is a leader in providing high-interest content that motivates kids to read and explore topics, including STEM. Through their effort, the program has reached more than 4,800 students since its inception in 2014.

North Bay schools and clubs participating in this year's STEM Race Car Challenge include:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County: Camp Cloverdale; Camp Guerneville; Camp Healdsburg; Camp Lucchesi Park; Camp Rohnert Park; Camp Sheppard Elementary; Camp Matanzas Elementary; Camp Brooks Road; and Camp Taylor Mountain Elementary.
  • Corona Creek Elementary (Petaluma)
  • Coyle Avenue Elementary (Carmichael)
  • Helen Lehman Elementary (Santa Rosa)
  • Hidden Valley School (Santa Rosa)
  • John Reed Elementary (Rohnert Park)
  • La Tercera Elementary School (Petaluma)
  • Loma Verde Elementary (Petaluma)
  • Lynwood Elementary (Novato)
  • Meadow School (Petaluma)
  • Napa Junction Elementary (American Canyon)
  • University Elementary (Rohnert Park)
  • West Side Union Elementary School (Healdsburg)
  • Windsor Creek Elementary (Windsor)

"Kids learn more and retain more of that learning when STEM subjects are tied to the real world," said Vicki Whiting, curriculum developer and publisher of Kid Scoop News.   "The partnership with Sonoma Raceway provides kids with a real-word, hands-on and super effective way to teach STEM!"

NASCAR fans and guests are invited to watch the finals of the STEM Race Car Challenge, presented by Friedman's Home Improvement at 10:40 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, in Sonoma Raceway's Sunoco Victory Lane located just south of the main grandstand. For tickets or more information on NASCAR's annual visit to Sonoma, visit or call 800-870-RACE.

About Friedman's

Friedman’s is a locally-owned home improvement, lumber and building materials retailer serving California’s North Bay and North Coast. Built on the strength of generations of hard work, investment and service to the region for more than 70 years, Friedman’s legacy of deep reverence and care for its customers and team is experienced through its four retail locations in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma and Ukiah, as well as its 3.5 acre Distribution Yard serving professional contractors. With more than 620 employees, Friedman’s is headquartered in Petaluma and upholds a longstanding commitment to community involvement throughout Sonoma and Mendocino counties. For more information, visit and follow the company on Facebook.