Blogs > Nascar: Beyond the Track

Find out what's really going on in NASCAR. Look here to find out why your driver really lost his ride, or the real reason those two drivers can't stand each other. Learn about the hidden motives and reasons for the things that happen in NASCAR, from the drivers to the team owners.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kyle Petty bringing Charity Ride back to the road to benefit Victory Junction camp

Kyle Petty is known as many things: Son of King Richard, winner of many NASCAR races, a sometimes controversial broadcaster.

But perhaps the most important thing Kyle Petty does is help thousands of children each year at the Victory Junction Gang Camp, which allows children with chronic and terminal illnesses who can’t attend regular camps to enjoy some time where they can just be kids.

While we hear about an occasional big-time donation from a fellow driver, the nonprofit camp operates mostly thanks to donations from the public.

Next month, Petty and about 200 other people will get on their bikes and drive across the country as part of the biggest fundraiser for the camp, the 16th annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, which takes play May 1-9 and goes from Indian Wells, Calif. To Victory Junction in Randleman, N.C. Since its inception, the Charity Ride has donated more than $13 million to Victory Junction and other children’s charities, with 6,400 participants logging more than 9.1 million cumulative motorcycle miles.

Petty talked about the services provided at Victory Junction, and how important they are to the children who attend.
“We help 23 different disease groups. These are kids that cannot go to camp unless there’s medical supervision. We have doctors and nurses on the staff, it’s a working hospital within a camp environment,” he said.
“We empower the kids to just be kids. These children spend 25-30 percent of their time in medical treatment. These are chronic diseases they will fight their whole life. You’ll get a 7-year-old who’s never seen a another child with spina bifida. At camp, there are a hundred kids with her illness, and she says ‘I’m not the only one’. It changes the kids’ outlook. So many of them make friends. They can relate to each other.”

Petty said fans who aren’t riding in the event can still contribute, and even be part of the spectacle by forming what are being called Dream Teams. Dream Teams that attend one of the ride’s “pit stops” will be able to present their donation to Petty.

“If we come through your town, the Dream Teams come out and participate in everything we do. You don’t have to be a motorcyclist,” Petty said. “If you get together 10-15 people, and raise some money to donate, we send hats and T-shirts and you become part of the ride when we’re in your town. It’s a way of generating local excitement about the ride. You can follow us online, too (at”

Among the overnight stops the ride will be making are in North Las Vegas, Nev.; Richfield, Utah; Durango, Colo.; Amarillo, Texas; Texarkana, Texas; Choctaw, Miss.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Asheville, N.C.; before arriving at Victory Junction camp in Randleman, N.C., on May 9.

Petty said every penny donated is appreciated.
“We have never set a fundraising goal. The point is, every dime we get, we give away. If you give a nickel of 5 dollars, everybody is the same.”

The idea for the Victory Junction camps came from Kyle’s late son Adam, who died tragically (at 19 years old) in a racing accident while practicing for a Busch race in New Hampshire in 2000.
“We had stopped at a Hole in the Wall camp, and Adam brought it up as we rode away,” Petty said, noting that Adam was just a teenager at the time. “He said we should build a camp, not just give money to charity.”
Petty went on to say that Adam’s spirit lives on through the camp.
“Our ride is all about keeping Adam’s dream alive. His dream of having a camp and building that place, the ride keeps this alive.”

This year, Petty said the ride is more low-key than in the past.
“We’ve almost taken a step back this year. Last year we blew it out. It was our 15th year,” he said. “This year with the economy just now rebounding, we decided it would be a relaxing year. We’re low-key, we’re just going to ride. The first 3-4 days of the ride are some of the most scenic riding we’ve ever done. It’s more relaxing for the riders.”

The best part of the trip, he said, is meeting the amazing fans who come from far and wide to meet up with Petty and his fellow riders.

“It’s truly amazing. We ride through some desolate areas of Utah. There’s nobody within miles. Yet it’s amazing the number of people who come out to meet us at a gas station. We’ll get 300 people who drive 2 hours to get there,” Petty said. “We can drive through Detroit and no one will know we’re there. But we can take over a small town and have everyone come out. One time a couple drove 3.5 hours to meet us and get Terry Labonte’s autograph. How big a fan do you have to do that just to get a glimpse of your driver?”

As far as the future of the charity ride, he said it will survive even if he’s not involved.
“We never planned on doing in the second year. It took on a life of its own,” Petty said. “I’m gonna ride until I can’t breathe. I’ve been riding forever. I absolutely love it. And it’s the biggest fundraiser for our camp each year now. The riders aren’t going to let this thing die, even if I’m not involved.”

To help the Victory Junction camp, either by donation or through a Dream Team, check out the Web site for all the information you will need to help out. Fans are also encouraged to become a fan via Facebook (Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America and Kyle Petty) and follow on Twitter at (@kpcharityride and @kylepetty).


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home