Kyle Petty doesn’t have a Sprint Cup ride so far this season, and he certainly won’t be a part of the Petty- Gillette merger plans for 2009! Nevertheless, the legacy that Kyle Petty leaves behind is just as monumental as the one that his father, “King Richard” Petty leaves!
Kyle Petty’s legacy is born out of tragedy, not triumph! His son, Adam, died May 12, 2000 (Mother’s Day weekend) from injuries sustained in a crash during practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kyle Petty refers to his son’s death as “Adam’s accident”. Adam was just two months short of his 20th birthday, and was a very young and energetic teenager. As a driver, Adam was to take the Petty banner into the 21st century under the tutorship of Kyle and his grandfather, “King Richard”.
From that devastaing loss of his son came The Victory Junction Gang Camp, which Kyle and his wife Pattie established in Adam’s memory! Through this camp, which serves children ages 6-16, Kyle and Pattie have welcomed thousands of children into their extended family. In actuality, the core of this idea came from Adam prior to his untimely death. According to Pattie, it was Adam who had discussed the idea of helping out terminally ill children. This idea from a teenager, obviously a well grounded young man!
For reasons too many to list, Victory junction, as a concept, has resonated throughout the NASCAR community and now throughout the corporations sponsoring the NASCAR teams! The focused commitment of Kyle and Pattie Petty is a powerful magnet, one that attracts support from NASCAR’s top stars. Tony Stewart stages a race at his race track, the famed Eldora Speedway, in support of Victory Junction. That race, Prelude to the Dream, is the who’s who of racing. Stewart invites the stars of NASCAR, NHRA, and dirt track legends to race each other with all the proceeds going to TheVictory Junction Gang Camp. This year Stewart donated ONE MILLION DOLLARS to Victory Junction! The Jimmie Johnson Foundation donated $600,00.00 for a bowling alley at the camp. Mike Helton, NASCAR president, auctioned off his prized Harley for Victory Junction.
Kyle had announced that another Victory Junction Camp will be built in Kansas City to compliment the facility built in Randelman, N.C. Even though the economy is slowing, Kyle is still committed to building that facility. He further boosts that he committed to establishing facilities throughout the USA!
For Kyle, his tenure at Petty Enterprises ended with close of the 2008 season and the merger of Boston Ventures with Petty Enterprises. He will, however, be remembered for what he has accompolished off the track more than his racing prowess. While his father excelled in the racing game and IS NASCAR, Kyle has excelled as a human being and humanitarian!! The vision of his son, Adam, and the drive and desire to make Adam’s dream a reality, is very impressive.
When this reporter reflects on the Petty family and and their contributions to NASCAR the two men stand out head and shoulders above all their peers for very different reasons. For Richard Petty, there are no comparisons in his accompolishments of winning races. He accumulated 200 wins over his storied career. His closest competitor is “The Siver Fox” David Pearson at 105 victories.
On a different stage, Kyle Petty has become a huge fund raiser for many charities, and the founder of The Victory Junction Gang Camp. He and his wife have brought to fruition Adam’s dream and it has flourished bigger than anyone could have dreamed. The Victory Junction Gang camp invites these children to attend camp for one week at no charge. These children are around other children who also suffer from some of the same afflictions and enjoy one week of fun and laughter. They are able to, at least temporarily, forget about the seriousness of problems and just have fun!!
Kyle Petty’s fetes may just out live anything that his father did on the race track! As you can tell, this reporter is a huge fan of, and contributor to, The Victory Junction Gang Camp. After having two grandaughters that lived only a few hours, I have made a commitment to donate each year to this wonderful organization so that children will have a chance to be children. If you need more information on The Victory Junction Gang Camp go to the link, http://www.victoryjunction.org/ .
For those of you who are trying to tie the picture to the post, once again I will help you. That picture was taken by yours truly at The California Speedway. It is Adam Petty’s Busch Series car being pushed out on the pit road.
AS ALWAYS, I LOOKED IT UP SO THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO!!!