In HONOR of Adam Petty,
son of Kyle Petty,
who's father is
Richard (The King) Petty &
grand father Lee Petty
Overview of the Camp
Click Photo to Enlarge
4 Generations of NASCAR Racing Petty's
...in Respect of Adam Petty and the Rest of
the Petty Family.
The Opening of Victory Junction Gang Camp
||May 12th 2000
Sprint PCS Busch Car at Loudon N. H. Raceway, just seconds after his Car Crashed into wall During a Practice Session.
The Camp's opening is a victory.
The Petty's honor fallen son with NASCAR-themed refuge for chronically ill children
1998, NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his family
visited hospitals for children around the country in an effort to raise money for children's charities. One stop in particular made a lasting impression.
In Eustis, Fla., the Petty's saw Boggy Creek Camp, which caters to children who are seriously ill and cannot attend traditional summer camps. The Petty's fell in love with the idea and wanted to have
a similar camp in North Carolina. Their son Adam took a special interest in the project and began searching for land and contacting potential sponsors.
In May 2000, Adam was killed in a wreck during practice before a NASCAR race in New Hampshire.
Today, as a tribute to him, his parents open Victory Junction Gang Camp, a camp for children between the ages of 7 and 15 with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
Overview of the Camp
Finally, four years and $23 million later, the Victory Junction Gang Camp was ready to open.
|All the dignitaries were here, from North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley to NASCAR president Mike Helton to singer Sara Evans to four-time champion Jeff Gordon to actor Paul Newman.
The Petty family, of course, was center stage, from Richard and Lynda Petty to Kyle and Pattie Petty and Austin and Montgomery Lee Petty - Adam's siblings.
The camp was on display, from its brightly colored buildings to its Horsepower Garage to the racecar-shaped Adam's Race Shop. All that was left was to cut the ribbon.
The founding members gathered around a special show car with 8-year-old camper Haleigh Epperson. Kyle Petty grabbed the microphone and addressed the crowd gathered inside the Race Track. But the ribbon-cutting
wouldn't be done by Kyle or Pattie Petty, the driving forces behind the camp.
Nor would it be done by anyone with NASCAR. Or Newman. Or a prospective camper. No, after a lengthy discussion, Petty decided
there could be only one group of people to have that honor. Petty held back tears as he then called up "all the guys who worked for Adam on his Busch team when he was racing at New Hampshire" on that
fateful day in 2000 when Adam Petty lost his life.
Slowly, crew members walked to the car.
The crowd applauded earnestly, and more than a few tears were shed. Petty handed the scissors to Stephen Patseavouras, whom
Petty hired to look after Adam and his team.
Finally, the camp was open...
"We want you to take a little of Adam's smile with you," Kyle Petty said. "We want you all to be a part of Adam's team."
Campers will start arriving here Sunday, as the first group of 125 kids with chronic illnesses or life-threatening diseases get to go to camp.
The idea is simple:
let all kids go to camp, no matter what.
After Adam died, Kyle and Pattie came up with the Victory Junction idea, but that was only the start. Millions of dollars needed to be raised, and people needed to
get involved. The first driver to step up was Bobby Labonte, and the second was Dale Jarrett, Petty said. Later, several NASCAR drivers got involved, and both
Petty's made a special effort to thank
Tony Stewart, whose foundation pledged $1 million to the camp last year.
NASCAR itself also got involved, as did several corporations.
On Tuesday, the invitation-only grand opening honored all the people and businesses who helped build
the camp and fund its operation.
There was one building, however, that's not quite done. Adam's Race Shop, shaped like Adam's No. 45 car, is an interactive building that will teach campers about NASCAR
through hands-on exhibits - including a race simulator.
Austin and Montgomery Lee Petty will help finish sponsorship of the shop with a golf tournament at Pinehurst No. 2, the two announced Tuesday night. And that announcement
was the most poignant of them all. Montgomery Lee, the Petty's 18-year-old daughter, began to cry when talking about the shop.
"I know how important it was for Adam to have the best race shop," Montgomery Lee said. "Now he has the best."
Noting the rain drops falling on the camp, Montgomery Lee said they were Adam's tears falling from heaven because "he wishes he was here." The rain also caused Kyle
Petty to joke about his long hair, saying he was going to quickly go through his speech about the camp "because I don't know about y'all, but this weather is killing my hair." The rain later stopped,
allowing a full view of the 75-acre campground, built on land donated by Richard and Lynda Petty.
There's the Goody's Body Shop (hospital), the Fuel Stop (dining hall), a gymnasium, a Fab Shop (a beauty shop where you go to "get fabulous," Pattie said), an arts
and crafts building, a boathouse, a dock and fishing pavilion, a Soap Box Racer (laundry hall), an Aquatic Center, housing for campers and staff and other buildings.
Pattie wanted the camp to be "George Jetson meets NASCAR," and designers pretty much nailed that theme.
Victory Junction has designated eight disease-specific week-long sessions, with kids with hemophilia and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in the first group. The camp
will be ready to accept them with open arms ... fresh paint ... and plenty of smiles.
"Adam would be extremely proud," Gov. Easley said.