CONCORD, N.C., (Oct. 6, 2001) - The last time Tony Stewart arrived at Charlotte Motor Speedway it was by helicopter, as the driver of the ...
CONCORD, N.C., (Oct. 6, 2001) - The last time Tony Stewart arrived at Charlotte Motor Speedway it was by helicopter, as the driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series had just returned from a little extra-curricular activity - racing in the Indianapolis 500.
It was May 27, and Stewart had just finished sixth earlier in the day driving a Home Depot/Target G-Force Aurora for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Approximately five hours after touching down on the infield grass, Stewart notched a third-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600.
It was one of Stewart's greatest feats, not just in a display of his racing acumen, but also in a display of compassion.
Before the green flag dropped for either race, Stewart pledged to donate $100 to charity for every lap he completed. It was a noble gesture, and soon The Home Depot, Joe Gibbs Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing agreed to match Stewart's total.
The charity of Stewart's choice was the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a planned extension of the original Hole In The Wall Gang Camp founded for kids by Paul Newman. Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Sprint Dodge and wife Pattie, who created the annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America in 1995, plan to build the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., in honor of their late son, Adam. Like the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp and its six other sister organizations, the Victory Junction Gang Camp will be a permanent, year-round center that will accommodate children with chronic and life-threatening diseases at no cost to the children or their families.
Stewart wound up completing all 1,100 miles that day in May, which translated to a total of 600 laps. The magic number for each pledge was $60,000, and with the combined support of Stewart, The Home Depot, Joe Gibbs Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing, the total amount donated to the Victory Junction Gang Camp was $240,000.
Nearly five months later at the track where Stewart's marathon day concluded, the $240,000 check was presented to Brian Collier of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, along with Kyle and Pattie Petty.
The 65-acre site in Randleman is currently being logged, with construction slated to start in the summer of 2002. The camp will eventually be comprised of 36 buildings including a medical center, camper cabins, dining hall, pool, arts & crafts, stables, boathouse, gym and theater.
"I'm proud to be a part of this great cause," said Stewart. "I believe in what Kyle and Pattie are doing, and hope that the money we raised in one day helps them build their dream."
"A lot of folks have put in a lot of long hours to get the camp on track toward construction," said Petty. "This gift reflects a truly impressive relationship amongst the NASCAR family of drivers. The impact of this gift will help in reaching our ultimate goal of enriching the lives of children."
For additional information on the Victory Junction Gang Camp or to send a donation, please contact/write: <pre> 311 Branson Mill Road Randleman, NC 27317 Office: (336) 498-9055 Fax: (336) 498-1460 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org