Kyle Petty stops in Craig as part of tour across US
As a third-generation NASCAR driver, Kyle Petty is used to pit stops.
And that’s what he was doing Monday, when he and more than 160 riders stopped in Craig as part of the Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.
Petty traded in his number 44 race car for a motorcycle as part of the 15th annual charity ride, and brought along professional golfer Davis Love III and NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth.
Former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, who is also part of the tour, did not appear in Craig as scheduled. He was supposed to meet up with the tour in Steamboat Springs – the next stop after Craig.
The ride, which began last week in Stevenson, Wash., and will end Saturday in Greensboro, N.C., is to benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp for terminally ill children.
Victory Junction Gang Camp, in Greensboro, N.C., opened in 2004. It gives children with chronic medical conditions an opportunity to experience summer camp.
While stopping at the Kum & Go on West Victory Way, Petty and the rest of the group refueled and signed autographs.
As the group came in to Craig, Petty said the weather had been cooperating.
“We’ve just finished a good stretch starting in Jensen, Utah,” Petty said. “It really is a beautiful part of Route 40.”
Petty said the tour has grown since its inception in 1995.
“When we started there were 20 other riders, and now we have 150 to 160,” he said. “It’s like the pet rock – it caught on for some reason, but it’s all for a good cause.
“Over the past 15 years, we’ve had a lot of fun, made a lot of friends.”
During the tour, the group will stop in Kansas City, Kan., this week for the opening of the second Victory Junction Gang Camp.
During the first ride, Petty and the other riders stopped at a children’s hospital in California. The group now makes stopping at hospitals a regular habit; this year, they will stop at more than 20 hospitals during the trek.
Petty said there are no goals for fundraising.
“We just raise all we can and give it all away,” he said. “That’s what we’ve always done.”
Golfer Davis Love III traded in his clubs for a white Harley Davidson motorcycle.
“I joined the tour in 2005, but I had been trying to join for a few years before that,” he said. “My golf schedule usually got in the way – the ride usually takes place during the British Open.
“But, one year they didn’t match up, and it happened to work out.”
Love, who joined the group in Sun Valley for the second day of the ride, said he now plans his schedule around the ride.
He said he knew Petty for several years before taking to the open road on the tour, and that his daughter, Alexia, volunteers at the Victory Junction camp.
“We just do whatever we can,” he said. “It’s just such a great cause and you get to meet people along the way.
“It becomes more than just a ride through America.”
He said the best part of the experience is the people he meets.
“I’ve made 20 to 30 friends just over the last few years,” he said. “And they’re just the type of people I want to meet – golfers and riders.”
Love said that when he leaves golf he might consider going for a longer drive.
“I want to ride up to Alaska,” he said. “But, that will have to wait until I’m not playing full-time.”
Last year, Love rode for 1,700 miles on the tour.
“I get almost two weeks off to do it all,” he said. “It’s hard not to have fun.”
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