OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Kyle Petty Charity Ride brings race car royalty to Utah

Apr 21, 2023, 2:39 PM

Kyle Petty Charity Ride motorcyclists pictured...

Kyle Petty Charity riders make their way through Capitol Reef National Park in southern Utah. (Kyle Petty Charity Ride Facebook)

(Kyle Petty Charity Ride Facebook)

The Petty name is synonymous with race car driving dating back to NASCAR pioneer Lee Petty whose son Richard Petty will forever be known as “The King” after winning a record 200 career races including seven Daytona 500 contests. 

A rare opportunity for Utah race fans to meet him will happen next week as the 84-year-old legend joins his son Kyle, who is a 30-year racing veteran during the 28th annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride to benefit the Victory Junction camp.

 The full itinerary with times and locations can be found on the Kyle Petty Charity Ride website

How it all started

The dangers of racing are no secret for drivers or fans. Each time someone gets behind the wheel at top speeds with competitors inches away, disaster can occur.

Those fears were realized when Kyle’s son Adam, of the Petty family’s fourth generation, died during a practice session for the Busch 200 in New Hampshire in May 2000.

Before his death, both Kyle and Adam had visited a year-round children’s camp for seriously ill children in Florida during a charity motorcycle ride. 

Adam envisioned building a similar camp in North Carolina. After his death, it felt like the natural way for a father to honor his son’s memory by following through on that dream on a piece of land that Adam had picked and Victory Junction was born in 2004.  The funds raised by the annual charity ride now go to the camp.The camp is now the beneficiary of funds raised by the annual charity ride.

Victory Junction

Kyle likes to say that he “may have lost a son but gained 115,000 children.”

That’s the number of kids who for various conditions like cancer, spina bifida, epilepsy or other illnesses cannot attend other camps but who have benefited from the Victory Junction experience. 

Even though the cost is $2,500 for a week at camp, no child or family incurs that cost. That’s thanks to the generosity of corporations, organizations and individuals.

Campers can participate in archery, boating, swimming, fishing and of course a NASCAR-themed program area with 24-hour medical supervision.

The ride

This year the Kyle Petty Ride Across America marks its 27th year.  The ride’s journey through Utah will see one of the most beautiful landscapes and roads the country has to offer.

It comes at the request of many who complete this ride year after year and are eager to return to ride through Utah.

Since the ride’s inception, 8,875 riders have logged nearly 12.6 million miles, raising more than $20 million for Victory Junction.

 This year’s ride kicks off on April 29 in Woods Cross. It’ll travel more than 1,500 miles in seven days. 

 Cedar City, Escalante, Moab, Wellington and Springville will have opportunities to rub shoulders with Racing Royalty at scheduled stops before wrapping up May 5 in Salt Lake City.

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Kyle Petty Charity Ride brings race car royalty to Utah