Clouds and sun

Santa Rosa collector of NASCAR cereal boxes gears up for record books

  • Randy Ricci, collector of over 300 NASCAR-themed cereal boxes, sits among a fraction of his collection at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif., on February 21, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

Randy Ricci prays for dry weather on Wednesday, the day he'll drive to Sonoma Raceway to set a world record.

How fast must he go? Oh, Ricci's pursuit of historic achievement has nothing to do with speed.

It has everything to do with passion and breakfast-cereal boxes.

A 60-year-old Santa Rosa native, Ricci runs a pool service to pay his bills. To feed his joy, he follows stock-car racing like Jane Goodall tracks chimps or Copernicus studied celestial spheres.

And the 1972 Montgomery High grad collects all things NASCAR: Photos, miniature cars, autographs, trinkets, any memorabilia evoking the drivers and their muscled machines.

By far, he is proudest of his more than 300 NASCAR-themed cereal boxes.

His favorites?

"Here's one right here," he said, taking hold of a Cheerios box at his home and personal NASCAR museum near Montgomery Village. "It's got Richard Petty's autograph on it."

Maybe 20 of his unopened boxes bear the autographs of race car drivers. Some, Ricci obtained himself at NASCAR races. Others he bought online.

The oldest is the cereal industry's first NASCAR collectible, a 1990 Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats box bearing the likeness of a 19-year-old newcomer named Jeff Gordon, now one of the masters of the circuit.

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