ROANOKE, Va. – Hundreds of people on motorcycles will be traveling through Southwest Virginia on Friday as part of the 24th annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride, including Petty himself.
Riders with the tour will be taking off from the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs Friday morning, making their way down Route 220 through Botetourt, Roanoke, Franklin and Henry counties. It’s the final leg of a weeklong charity ride that kicked off in Portland, Maine on Saturday.
More than 150 riders have traveled through New York and Pennsylvania and through the Commonwealth, as they make their way to Greensboro later Friday afternoon. It’s a charity ride that former NASCAR driver and racing personality Kyle Petty started 24 years ago, and still has the same excitement for today.
“We’re coming down, through in around Roanoke and Martinsville, and that’s my home country right there,” says Petty. “We’ve raced there a million times in Martinsville and all that. Once you hit that North Carolina line, we're headed to Victory Junction to the camp.”
Victory Junction is a cost-free kids camp for children and teens who face chronic medical issues or serious illness. It was created by the Petty family in memory of Kyle’s son, Adam Petty, who was killed in a crash at New Hampshire International Speedway back in 2000 while practicing for a NASCAR race. The camp is been the main benefactor of the charity ride since 2004.
As part of the tour through our area, riders will be making a stop at the Sheetz on Route 220/Virgil H Goode Highway in Rocky Mount. The riders will be filling up on gas just after 10 a.m., giving racing fans a chance to stop in and say hello.
It’s part of a tour that’s raised more than $18 million for children’s charities over the past 24 years, and gives racing fans all over the country a chance to come face to face with the legends they love.
“We invite fans to come out and meet Donny Allison, Harry Grant, Ricky Craven and myself,” says Petty. “Herschel Walker and people like that too, some of the celebrities. Come talk some racing or talk some football if you want to and just have a good time with us.”
Each year the tour makes a stop in a different part of the country. This marks the first time in seven years it’s been on the East Coast.
Along with traveling to the camp that was built in honor of his late son, this tour has even more sentimental value for Petty, whose wife is currently eight months pregnant. He says even though she’s due on June 8, she’s continued to play huge role in organizing this year‘s event and is even traveling along for the more than 1,200-mile journey.
“We are so excited,” he says. “We don’t know whether it’s a boy or a girl, everybody on the ride keeps guessing. Everybody on the ride keeps telling us it’s going to come in a different state other than home. They are frayed she’s going to have the baby on the road here somewhere.”
So far, no baby. But Petty says they’re ready for anything.
If you’re looking to catch the charity ride as it is headed through town, they will be traveling on Route 220 from Hot Springs, passing through downtown Roanoke, and making a stop at the Sheetz at 10:10 a.m.
From there they’ll head down to North Carolina making stops at Victory Junction, the Petty Museum and eventually ending up in Greensboro.
For more details on the tour and how to donate, click here.