Monday, May 4, 2015

Come Out To Meet The #KPCHARITYRIDE Riders And Support Victory Junction

Saturday this #NASCAR fan packed up and traveled the four hours of freeways to Bakersfield. Bakersfield, California is hometown to the 2014 reigning Sprint Cup Champion, Kevin Harvick. The ninth largest city in California, it is located near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County.

Collection of Charity Ride Stickers #KPCHARITYRIDE
Collection of Charity Ride Stickers

However, what brought this enthusiast to “California's Country Music Capital" was the end of Day One of the “Annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride.” Their efforts raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction – a camp created to enrich the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

The KPCR route for this seven-day motorcycle trek, taking place May 2nd through 8th, bonds approximately two hundred motorcyclists along the 2,500 mile journey. This year’s route stretches from Santa Cruz, California to Branson, Missouri.

The route ends in Branson this year because that was as far as Don Tilley progressed in planning this jaunt before his unexpected death.

Tilley was a legend in racing and Harley-Davidson circles. He had led all the previous twenty Kyle Petty’s “Charity Ride Across America” events. He died in August of 2014, when he lost control of his motorcycle on the Blue Ridge Parkway, in North Carolina. Don was seventy-eight years young.

Event Participants Check-In At Their Hotel #KPCHARITYRIDE
Event Participants Check-In At Their Hotel

While the Charity Riders miss and mourn the loss of one of their leaders, they take pride in honoring him by finalizing the last route he drafted.

The 21st Charity Ride roared into Bakersfield just before 5:30 p.m. Their clusters of motorcycles lined the parking lots of the Hampton Inn and LaQuinta Inn North as they scrambled to obtain room keys. The riders had to rush a bit because dinner was scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the Bakersfield Harley Davidson dealership.

Kyle Petty Poses with  Dealership Staff #KPCHARITYRIDE
Kyle Petty Poses with
Dealership Staff
Fans at the dealership were treated to autographs, photographs with NASCAR celebrities, and dinner free of charge! NBC Sports NASCAR analyst and former NASCAR driver, Kyle Petty, even joined the band for a song. Also on hand was Rick Allen, a NBC Sports NASCAR analyst and NASCAR racing legends Donnie Allison and Harry Gant.

The “King” Richard Petty and 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, Matt Kenseth were in Talladega for the race, but are scheduled to join the ride in a couple of days. Rutledge Wood will also join the group later in the week. He is busy with a new show (Lost In Transmission) coming out this week.

NASCAR Race Mom stopped to chat with a jovial Donnie Allison as he made his appearance after refueling his motorcycle in preparation for the next day’s 9:00 a.m. departure to Tonopah, Nevada.

“Riding down the coast has to be one of my favorite parts of this ride,” Allison described. “Down on the East Coast we see the West Coast on the television; but the TV does not do it justice. It was so beautiful.”

Donnie Allison with NASCAR Race Mom #kpcharityride
Donnie Allison with NRM
Allison is possibly most remembered for his involvement in a final-lap crash and subsequent fight with Cale Yarborough at the 1979 Daytona 500. It all happened on the first nationally televised NASCAR race and drew quite a bit of interest in the sport. Donnie has been out to Victory Junctions on numerous occasions. He and his wife are good friends with all the Pettys.

“I will do anything I can to help with Victory Junction because it is such a good cause.” Donnie added.

NASCAR Race Mom and Harry Gant #kpcharityride
NRM and Harry Gant
An interesting fact NASCAR Race Mom learned about “Handsome Harry?” Mr. Gant never did like that nickname and even refused to appear should an announcer continue to introduce him as such! It wasn't until 1980 -- the year he turned 40 -- that he ran the first of his fifteen full seasons at NASCAR's top level. He can boost of eighteen sprint cup wins.

“I have done all the rides since it started twenty-one years ago. In fact we were riding to Phoenix several years before that.” Harry remembered. “The first official ride had about fourteen riders . . . . then it grew to forty-five and gradually picked up over the years.”

Personally, Gant is thrilled when he sees an ad in a magazine, then realizes that he has visited that location on the charity ride. Gant has also been to Victory Junction several times and expressed his passion regarding the wonderful experience the camp provides for the kids and their families.

  This is me standing on my tippy-toes and still Rick Allen is towering over me. #kpcharityride
This is me standing on my tippy-toes and still Rick Allen is towering over me.

This will be the first year Rick Allen has participated in the entire Charity Ride. However, that did not preclude him from being an excellent ride spokesperson.

“I am looking forward to meeting all the people along the ride stops. To be able to say hello and spread the word about Victory Junction. So come out and see us if you can. If you cannot donate, just go and see the message. We are trying to make sure that kids who do not have a lot of reasons to smile, get that opportunity. Victory Junction gives kids a reason to smile in the face of some very tough circumstances. Also when the kids get to go to camp, their families are able to take a break from their constant daily care.”

Kyle Petty Spends Time With Young Fans #kpcharityride
For this writer and NASCAR fan, it was a real treasure to witness an event where the attendees have such unlimited access to NASCAR Royalty. Kyle Petty works diligently to insure that the each and every fan who make it out to one of their stops are treated like a valued friend.

The Pettys have recognized an often hidden necessity to provide a fun yet nurturing and safe environment for children slowed a bit by illness and/or disabilities. Victory Junction allows these children to just be kids who can enjoy life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering, at no cost to them nor their families!

To follow Kyle Petty and the riders live, visit

“Come out to meet the riders and support Victory Junction at local pit stops located along our 2,500-mile trek. See you there! If you are not able to join us for this ride just go to to donate. You can also go to to see where we are at and how much havoc were are causing.” Kyle Petty

Get social with the 21st Kyle Petty Charity ride by following hashtag #kpcharityride

The 2015 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America is made possible by presenting sponsor Manheim, as well as Coca-Cola, Dodge, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Racing Electronics, FLUIDYNE Racing Products, WinCraft Racing, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the Petty Family Foundation, Headbands of Hope, Original Bike Spirits and the Beef Jerky Outlet.

About the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America (KPCRAA)

Led by former NASCAR driver and racing analyst Kyle Petty, the KPCRAA is an annual cross-country motorcycle trek that raises funds and awareness for Victory Junction. The KPCRAA is one of the most successful and popular charity events in the country. Now in its 21st year, more than 7,500 riders have logged 11.1 million cumulative motorcycle miles and raised more than $16 million for Victory Junction and other children’s charities.

About Victory Junction

About Victory Junction #kpcharityride
Victory Junction is a year-round camping environment for children, ages six to 16, with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. Co-founded by Kyle Petty family, in honor of his, son Adam Petty, the camp is located in Randleman, N.C. Victory Junction exists to provide life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering, in a safe and medically-sound environment, always free of charge. As a not-for-profit organization, the camp operates solely through the support of generous individuals, foundations, organizations and corporations to provide this experience at no charge to children and their families. Since the camp’s inception, more than 21,500 children and families have received not only a circle of support but experiences thought to only be possible by healthy children. Victory Junction is a member of the SeriousFun Children’s Network of Camps founded by Paul Newman, and is accredited by the rigorous guidelines of the American Camping Association. To learn more, please visit

About Manheim

About Manheim #kpcharityride
Manheim is the leading global provider of vehicle remarketing services, connecting buyers and sellers of used vehicles to the largest wholesale used-vehicle marketplace. The company helps dealer and commercial customers achieve results by providing physical and digital auction channels, data analysis, financing, transportation and mobile products and solutions. Manheim pioneered in-lane vehicle auctions and has been an innovator in both digital and mobile auction platforms. Manheim registers nearly 7 million used vehicles annually, facilitating transactions representing nearly $46 billion in value. Headquartered in Atlanta, Manheim has more than 20,000 employees in 122 worldwide sites and generates annual revenues of more than $2.5 billion. A subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, Manheim participates in “Go Green with Manheim,” the company’s sustainability program. For more information, please visit

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