Former NASCAR driver and NBC Sports racing analyst Kyle Petty has a new route for his longtime charity motorcycle ride this spring.
For the first time in more than seven years, 225 riders will travel the East Coast on the ride’s 24th-anniversary trek, Petty announced this week.
The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has raised more than $18 million over the years for Victory Junction, the year-round camp in Randleman for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Because of the ride, nearly 8,100 children have attended Victory Junction at no cost to their families.
The 84-acre camp was the dream of Kyle Petty’s son Adam. The fourth-generation race car driver died at age 19 during a practice session for the Busch 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on May 12, 2000. Petty was killed instantly when his throttle stuck wide open and his car hit the outside wall nearly head on.
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Victory Junction opened in 2004.
Last year, the riders traveled more than 2,400 miles from Portland, Ore., to Milwaukee, Wisc., in seven days. The ride has visited 48 states over the years.
Requests from riders and fans drove the decision for an East Coast route May 5-11 through nine states, Kyle Petty said. The ride will start in Portland, Maine, and end in Greensboro.
Petty is calling this year’s version “the Americana Tour.”
Riders will take victory laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway and visit the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival in upstate New York.
Riders will wind south through Shenandoah National Park and end at Victory Junction. Riders will also tour the Petty Museum in Randleman.
Ending at the camp “always brings everything full circle,” Petty said. “Year after year, all the miles we travel are for the kids at Victory Junction. They’re the reason we ride.”
Celebrities expected to ride this year include Kyle Petty’s father, NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time champion Richard Petty; NASCAR legends Harry Gant, Hershel McGriff and Donnie Allison; current NASCAR driver David Ragan; and former NASCAR driver and ESPN racing analyst Ricky Craven.
Also, former NFL great and 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker; 1980 Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Super Bowl 22 champion George Rogers; and NBC Sports NASCAR personalities Krista Voda, Rutledge Wood, and Rick Allen.