Kyle Petty’s annual charity ride rolls into Bedford’s D-Day Memorial

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT
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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - A parade of motorcycles and other tricked-out rides pulled up Tuesday to Bedford’s National D-Day Memorial for Kyle Petty’s Charity Ride Revival, a miniature version of his annual Ride Across America, which serves to raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction, his camp for children with serious illnesses.

“Listen, I can only imagine what it would be like if the sun was out because this is crazy that these people have come out in the rain,” said Petty, a former NASCAR driver and current broadcaster. “It’s truly amazing what this city has done.”

Inspired by his late son, Adam, Petty rode from the Homestead Resort to Bedford along with a host of other riders, including his father, The King, Richard Petty, and former Cup Series champion Joey Logano.

“They’re just good guys who care and who want to give back,” said Petty of the guest list, which also included Harry Grant, David Ragan and Rick Allen. “This year, we came through Bedford and it’s pretty exciting to be here, because there’s a ton of racing fans here. When we leave here, they’re all going to be pulling for Joey Logano to win a championship.”

“I’ve been able to go [to Victory Junction] for years now and to be able just to see what they do there, talk about unbelievable,” said Logano, who drives the No. 22 Cup Series Ford for Team Penske. “Just top-notch. The kids there are so deserving to have a week like they get there. It’s spectacular.”

It wasn’t just celebrities on hand, either.

Stephanie Wilkerson first attended Victory Junction when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2006.

“They accepted me for who I am,” she said. “Camp just made me feel like I was at home. I never wanted to leave camp.”

The annual ride has been a tradition since 1995, and it’s raised more than $19 million for Victory Junction in the last 17 years.

After losing his own son in an on-track crash, Petty created the camp to give back to countless other children, and the impact has been infectious.

“It’s the typical Kyle Petty way of doing things,” said Logano. “You know every time you see Kyle, he has a smile on his face? Everyone around him is the same way. It’s just a contagious attitude.”

“Kyle Petty has been awesome,” added Wilkerson. “If it wasn’t for Kyle Petty, I do not think this would ever happen.”

“That’s what it’s all about,” said Petty. “We rode over this morning from Hot Springs in the rain and there’s fans standing out here. They’re standing in the rain, we rode in the rain, and it’s all about sending her to camp. That’s what it’s about. You do whatever you can to help other people, and that’s what it’s about, and her words were very touching.”

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