The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America in May raised $1.3 million, the family announced Tuesday.
The money raised during the Petty family’s 24th annual motorcycle ride will directly benefit Victory Junction, a camp dedicated to providing life-changing camping experiences for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. The ride’s donation supports maintenance programs, building projects and camperships.
“It was more emotional for me this year than past rides because we ended at camp,” Petty said. “I’ve said it a million times _ when I see a camper, I see Adam in their smile, and I know he’s still here with us. There were campers everywhere as we pulled into camp.”
It's been 18 years since Petty's son, Adam, was killed during practice for a NASCAR race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Just 19, Adam died on May 12, 2000, only weeks after running in his only Cup race, a debut that had made the Petty family the first four-generation family in NASCAR.
Four years after Adam Petty's fatal crash, the family opened Victory Junction Gang Camp — on Father's Day 2004. The summer camp is a way to honor Adam, who rode with his father on a couple of the charity rides before his death.
Since its inception in 1995, the annual ride has attracted more than 8,400 riders and logged more than 12 million miles while raising $19.3 million for Victory Junction and other children’s charities.
The annual trek this year was a 1,200-mile venture that traversed nine states on the East Coast, from Portland, Maine to Greensboro, North Carolina. Among the 225 riders who took part were: former NASCAR drivers Harry Gant, Hershel McGriff, Donnie Allison, and Ricky Craven; current driver David Ragan; and former Heisman Trophy winners Herschel Walker and George Rogers.
Kyle Petty's 80-year-old father, Richard, joined the ride after the NASCAR Cup race at Dover, Delaware.