Victory Junction Gang gets boost from Best Western

by Dave Yaeck
May 1, 2004

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Michael Waltrip and Richard Petty flank Tom Higgins for the announcement

Today at Fontana the Petty family dream project, the Victory Junction Gang Camp got a boost from Best Western Hotels with a $150,000 check to go towards the continuation of building the facility. On hand for the presentation were Richard Petty, Michael Waltrip, and Best Western President and CEO Tom Higgins.

“The purpose of this check is to fund the staff lodge at the camp that the Petty family is opening in honor of Adam and all of the children that will be attending.” Higgins said. “We hope that this is just the initial contribution and participation in this unbelievably worthwhile project.”

Best Western is in the first year of a three-year agreement as NASCAR’s Official Hotel and is also serving as an associate sponsor of Waltrip and the Dale Earnhardt Inc.-owned #15 NAPA Chevrolet of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

Michael Waltrip, driver of the #15 NAPA Chevrolet has always been a strong supporter of the camp and has volunteered to help during his off time. He was very excited with Best Western’s participation in the program.

“I think that when you see video/pictures of the camp, it just makes you want to give, it makes you want to do all you can do, to ensure that every child in America has a chance to come to the camp,” Waltrip said. “I know that Best Western’s involvement certainly ensures that more people will be able to take advantage of the camp and I want to encourage everyone to get the word out that the camp is coming together.”

NASCAR Legend Richard Petty also announced that the camp is going to open on June 20, 2004 for business and the Petty family is eager to open up for the kids.

“Every time you walk over (to the camp) and it gets closer I think we get more excited,” Petty said. “The big deal is going to be, no matter how excited we are, when those kids come through that tunnel and pop over that hill and see the camp, I think that’s going to be worth everything that we spent days and nights worrying about.”

“The kids are what’s going to make the final payment in the deal and that’s the bottom line.”

This weekend is also the start of the 10th anniversary of the Kyle Petty’s Charity ride that supports the efforts and building of the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

The ride starts Saturday morning from Palm Springs with 160 to 170 riders and will trek through the country and arrive at the Camp at the Petty compound on Mother's Day.

“It’s the 10th year, and it’s a pretty big deal for us,” Kyle Petty said. “It was a stupid idea that has hung on for a little while, kinda like NASCAR really.”

“The original intent of the ride, we stopped at different children’s hospitals all across the country. It was all about giving restricted funds, and what we mean by restricted funds is we wanted our money to go to pay the bills for kids that couldn’t pay the bills. We talked about building a camp before Adam’s accident. After Adam’s accident we put everything on hold. After a little while we thought it was one thing we could do to honor his memory.”

“It gives these kids an opportunity to be kids. Most of the kids we see will come straight from a hospital to the camp. If they’re well enough they’ll go home for a short period of time but a lot of them will go straight back to the hospital. We’re really excited about having our first group on June 20 this year,” Petty said.

The Victory Junction Gang Camp was founded by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie in honor on their late some Adam. The camp is a year-round, multi-disease camp serving children from ages seven to fifteen with life-threatening illnesses.

For more information on the camp or to make a donation, please visit the following site, http://www.victoryjunction.org.

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