In 1995, Kyle Petty started a cross-country trek from California to North Carolina. After two decades, this journey evolved into the annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. This year, riders in the event are admiring the stunning vistas of Utah for the second time as part of the annual event.

“I just wanted to do it for the last time as an adventure,” said Kyle Petty who is an ex-stock car racer and commentator on racing events. Kyle says that this was meant to be their last drive so they could do away with the adventure permanently. But the following year, they still returned for an additional drive.

Victory Junction origin

It was in the 2000 when Adam Petty, the eldest son of Kyle Petty, passed away in a racing accident. This occurrence was a life-changing experience for the Petty family and changed Kyle’s outlook on the Ride Across America.

To remember Adam, they founded Victory Junction,  a camp where chronically ill children can spend time all year round and have fun. This was established in 2004 as a memorial honoring his son.

It’s been more than two decades since, and his charity journey has raised more than $20 million for the Victory Junction camp. This money has allowed more than 115,000 children with chronic illnesses to go camping for free.  

cast of participants

In the present more than 100 riders join the annual event, including prominent figures from NASCAR and other sporting backgrounds. These include Richard Petty, Kyle’s father and a former stock car racer, Herschel Walker – an NFL star who ran for the United States Senate, plus Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader – both ex-NASCAR drivers. Rick Allen, a well-known sports broadcaster, also supports the ride. Together these individuals make up an impressive cast of participants who support the charity endeavor.

According to Kyle Petty, the ride has journeyed through 48 of the 50 states in the past three decades. Of those visited, one state always seems to leave a lasting impression on the riders. Utah always seemed to stand out in their minds.

He mentioned that the landscape is so beautiful when riding a motorcycle through it, which prompted them to return year after year. Furthermore, he humorously commented that they might never do away with this adventure. It looks like they will be revisiting Utah in the future.

The scenic route

This time, the ride will depart from Salt Lake City and go through Ely, Tonopah, and Las Vegas in Nevada before returning via Cedar City, Escalante, Grand Staircase, and Moab.

Don Ipson – a Republican senator from St. George – is among the participants this year who has a personal connection to the charity event.

Kyle Petty’s annual ride is an example of how a personal endeavor can turn into something much bigger with a positive impact on many. Autistic children, chronically ill youngsters, and others from disadvantaged backgrounds have benefitted from the charity’s work and donations over the years.


As 15-time NASCAR winner, Richard Petty says: “The ride lets us do what we like to do – ride motorcycles, see the country, and raise money for a good cause.” This year for the 24th edition, the ride will take riders through Utah and Nevada, sure to be unforgettable.

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