Petty began his life as a Christian when his uncle Randy Owens was killed during a pit stop at one of his father’s races. He began his walk with Jesus at a time when it was not cool to be a Christian – at the age of 14. When he lost his son, Adam, also a race car driver, during a 2000 practice run, he fruitlessly turned to self-help books only to find that his strength, answers and hope were in the Bible. He has dedicated himself to placing God first and then family; after those things come his career. Reading his Bible and praying are the first and last things he does in the course of a day.
Petty also lost his uncle, Lee Petty, just weeks before Adam’s death, during a pit road accident. Although their faith was tested, as time went on it became stronger. God turned tragedy into hope and triumph for the Pettys and subsequently for many children in their own struggle.
Petty began a camp for chronically and seriously ill children where they can have some fun in a place equipped to suit their special needs. Victory Junction Gang Camp was founded by Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie, in honor of their son Adam.
Victory Junction Gang Camp opened its doors in June of 2004. The camp serves children ages 7-15 who could not otherwise attend camp because of their particular needs. It is a year-round camp with a racing theme on 72 acres, donated by Richard and Lynda Petty, located in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina. President George Bush visited the camp in 2006, calling the Pettys “great humanitarians.”
In December, just a few months away, Petty will be trading his race car for running shoes. Petty is set to run in The Run to Victory Half Marathon and 5 Mile Run/Walk in Randleman, North Carolina, on Dec 2, 2007. Kyle will participate in worship services just before the race, and benefits will go to Victory Junction Camp.
Earlier this month at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Petty enjoyed some time with Christian musicians MercyMe, along with Cleveland Cavaliers player Lebron James and NASCAR driver Bobby LaBonte, and they all joined together in NASCAR’S chapel service.
Kyle Petty continues his racing legacy in honor of his son, Adam, and God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. His faith has sustained him with a no-quit, press on attitude, which carries over into mirroring Jesus by showing compassion for some very special children. As for racing, it is obviously a sport that comes with risks. Kyle says that he does prepare himself spiritually and racing is something he could not do without having Jesus Christ with him.