Randy Ricci stood on the track at Sonoma Raceway on Wednesday, his arms raised in triumph, and savored the sweet, crunchy taste of victory.
After two false starts, the Santa Rosa native completed what appears to be a successful attempt to set a world record for assembling the largest collection of cereal boxes that promote and celebrate NASCAR.
Ricci, the 60-year-old operator of a Sonoma County pool service and a lifelong fan of stock-car racing, assembled along the track's START/FINISH line 324 unopened, non-duplicated NASCAR cereal boxes.
Even Ricci was impressed. "I thought I had 315," he said.
A team of family members and friends helped the 1972 Montgomery High grad photograph and assign a number to each box, then add them to a 10-foot by 20-foot mosaic on the track.
Here was a Honey Nut Cheerios carton with driver Bill Lester on the cover. Over there, a Richard Petty box of Wheat Chex. And over here, the beaming likeness of Jeff Gordon on box of Frosted Mini Wheats. Ricci has been collecting NASCAR boxes and other related memorabilia since cereal-makers began sponsoring and promoting the sport nearly a quarter-century ago.
He hoped to display his cartons at Sonoma Raceway and document them for the Guinness Book of World Records back in February, but he was thwarted by rain. He was all to set to go last month, but a scheduling conflict sidetracked him a second time. Wednesday afternoon, the weather was good and the section of track right in front of the main grandstands was all his.
A cheer rose up from the clutch of helpers and spectators as NASCAR cereal box No. 324 dropped into place.
Now, Ricci waits to receive confirmation from Guinness. He thinks the experience will be complete if he can find a home for his boxes, someplace where race fans can enjoy and inspect and have their photos taken alongside.
He'd love to hear, one day, that the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., will display his collection.
Maybe that will happen, maybe not. There at the racetrack on Wednesday, Ricci was happy to take in the sight and the moment.
"I'm a world record holder," he said with a smile to rival the one Dale Earnhardt Jr. wears when he wins. "Isn't that cool?"