There are NASCAR fans, and then there are super fans. Randy Ricci is definitely in the super fan category.
The pool service technician in Santa Rosa, Calif., loves to go to the races and in his spare time has accumulated NASCAR memorabilia. In fact, his collection may land him in the Guinness World Records.
Ricci, 60, has been accumulating NASCAR-themed cereal boxes for years. Major cereal makers such as General Mills and Kellogg’s sponsor race teams and have featured drivers on boxes. Ricci has amassed 305 boxes of cereals (no duplicates), 20 of which are autographed by racing legends like Richard Petty and John Andretti.
The first box Ricci acquired was a Frosted Mini-Wheats in 1990, featuring a photo of then-19-year-old driver Jeff Gordon. He spied it in a local supermarket and, as a NASCAR aficionado, he couldn’t resist. Ricci’s been collecting ever since.
The boxes are kept in pristine condition, never opened. Ricci said insects aren’t a problem because the collection is kept out of direct sunlight, stored in 32 bins at Sonoma Raceway and four bins at his home. Only one box has ever gone bad.
When he asked Guinness if he had set the record for the most NASCAR cereal boxes, he learned they didn’t have such a category. So they set requirements for him to meet. On Feb. 26, he was ready. A nine-person team would help display all 305 boxes on the Sonoma Raceway track, to be videotaped and photographed. He had two witnesses lined up, but that day it rained. Drought-stricken California needed it, Ricci said, but it was still a big disappointment. He hopes to try again soon.
His most prized NASCAR possession recently was delivered to his home: the front end of Marcos Ambrose’s No. 9 Ford Fusion, raced in 2013. “I got it on eBay,” Ricci said. He added with a laugh, “It will probably be smelly to have it in my office, near my [NASCAR driver] autographed drum heads.”
For Ricci, it’s a chance to own NASCAR memorabilia of a driver he’s come to know and respect. Ambrose periodically competes at the local speedway, and the two often hang out at the track when he’s in town. It’s how they discovered they share a hobby. “He’s a gold prospector like me,” said Ricci, who is vice president of the Santa Rosa Gold Diggers club.
And what does Ricci’s family think of his many interests, especially the unusual cereal box collection? His two grown sons are “happy to see what I’ve got going,” said the soon-to-be Guinness record holder.