Apr 05, 2012 • By

A collection that laps the competition

It all started in 1991 when Randy Ricci of Santa Rosa, Calif., was shopping in his local grocery store.

While in the cereal aisle, he noticed a box of Urkel-O’s featuring character Steve Urkel from the television show “Family Matters.”

He figured the cereal wouldn’t be on the shelves for long, so he grabbed a box in case it ever became a collector’s item. On the shelf above it was a box of Frosted Mini Wheats featuring a NASCAR vehicle. He’d always been a NASCAR fan, so he picked that up too.

Since then the 58-year-old Ricci has focused exclusively on consumer packaged goods products (primarily cereal) with auto racing tie-ins, and his collection has grown into something more.

“It’s an obsession, but why should I stop?” Ricci laughs. “To me it’s a surprise, like finding an egg on Easter morning. Those boxes are few and far between and I really enjoy this.”

Ricci, who owns a pool cleaning business, stops frequently at stores along his route to see if he can find any auto racing cereal boxes hiding on the shelves. But his favorite destination is to the nearby Infineon Raceway – a year-round motorsports complex that hosts many NASCAR and other prominent races.

In fact, Ricci’s collection has grown so big – he’s the proud owner of 325 auto racing-themed cereal boxes – that they are now stored and occasionally displayed at the raceway (though Ricci is hoping the entire collection will someday be featured in a restaurant or in the Guinness Book of World Records.)

Because of his relationship with the Infineon Raceway, Ricci can often gain access to the pits and garage to chat with the drivers before and after races. Many of his cereal boxes are autographed by the drivers featured on the products – everyone from Richard Petty to John Andretti.

Of his hundreds of boxes of cereal (including Cheerios and Wheaties), most are still full and none are the same.

When all the boxes are displayed together “it’s an incredible work of art,” he said. “My savings are this collection of cereal boxes, I’m sure it’s worth a heck of a lot of money.”

Ricci is, however, missing two very important boxes – Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs featuring a Daytona 500 series, similar to these.

He’s hoping to hear from anyone who might have one of the boxes in their pantry.

If you can help him, let us know in the comments below.

Someday, he could have a world record-setting wall of cereal!