Archive for Friday, February 22, 2008

NASCAR star to build camp in Wyandotte County

February 22, 2008


— A camp for children suffering from chronic illnesses is in the works for Wyandotte County.

NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, are planning to build the nation's second Victory Junction Gang Camp, and its location would be in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Victory Junction is a year-round camp in Randleman, N.C., that serves children ages 7 to 15 with a variety of health issues.

Wyandotte County was selected over 11 other communities based on its ties to NASCAR and the Pettys' love of the Kansas Speedway, local leaders said.

"For Kyle and Pattie Petty to choose to build a second camp in Wyandotte County is a huge boost for our area," said Kansas Speedway president Jeff Boerger.

An exact location for the camp hasn't been determined, but Wyandotte County officials are looking at three or four properties where it could be built. A decision could be made within the next 60 days.

Pattie Petty made the announcement Thursday with NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer at the Kansas City Kansas Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at the Jack Reardon Convention Center in downtown Kansas City, Kan.

After a location is chosen, the next step would be a fundraising campaign to pay for the camp, which Petty said could cost between $30 million and $50 million to build.

The climate in Kansas might make building the camp more challenging because more indoor activities would be needed than at the North Carolina camp, Pattie Petty said.

The construction start date would be contingent on the success of the fundraising campaign and donations, she said.

In its 2006 annual report, 29 donors gave more than $100,000 to the North Carolina camp.

The Victory Junction Gang Camp started as the vision of Adam Petty, Kyle and Pattie's son, who was killed in a racing accident in 2000. The camp opened in 2004 in his honor.

"I think he would be proud but humbled by its success," Kyle Petty said in a promotional video shown during the luncheon.

While Kyle Petty was unable to attend, Kansas native Bowyer was in town for the announcement.

"It means a lot to me that they are doing this where I am from, so I am excited to see it open," said Bowyer, formerly of Emporia. "This is important to the NASCAR family. I have been (to the North Carolina camp) two or three times, and it is the real deal. It is fun to see the vision of Adam Petty come alive."

Several drivers visit the North Carolina camp, and some donate time or have paid to help build portions of the facility.

Fundraising pays for the $2,500 cost per child to visit the one-week camp.

- Shawnee Dispatch reporter Nick Bratkovic can be reached at (913) 962-3000.


Staci Dark Simpson 10 years, 2 months ago

so cool. Sounds like a cool place to work at too.

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