Kyle Petty to lead group of motorcycle enthusiasts on coast-to-coast charity ride
Kyle Petty reflects on his son's dream to help others brought to life by the children who enjoy the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Network's approach 'reinvigorates' him as son Adam's entry into the sport did Kyle Petty has joined the race-day broadcast team for NBC Sports Group, the organization announced Thursday, and is the latest figure to join the network's ever-growing cast of NASCAR experts in preparation for the 2015 season and beyond. Petty will work alongside Krista Voda, whose hiring was announced in late October, as an analyst on pre- and post-race shows surrounding NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series coverage. He will also remain a regular contributor to "NASCAR America" on NBCSN. "Kyle Petty brings a lifetime of experience to our team that is unmatched," said Sam Flood, executive producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN. "As a driver, team owner, philanthropist and multigenerational observer of the sport, he has seen it all, and has great perspectives across NASCAR's full spectrum." Petty joins a group that already includes race announcer Rick Allen and on-air analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte, along with reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro and Dave Burns. The son of Richard Petty and grandson of Lee Petty , both NASCAR Hall of Famers, Kyle grew up entrenched in the sport and made 829 starts in NASCAR's premier series. A guest on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio when the news was released, Petty joked, "Breaking news after I've been on "NASCAR America" on NBC for 23 weeks this year. Breaking news, I have a job next year." From his work on the nightly NBCSN show, Petty said the staff has "reinvigorated" him. He compared the network's fresh-eyed return to NASCAR to his late son's approach to racing when Adam became a national series competitor. "…when Adam came along, it was like I was seeing these race tracks for the first time because he was so excited," Petty said. "Even though he had been around the sport, he hadn't driven, and he was so excited. "(He would) tell me what the race track felt like or tell me what was going on at the race track or what he learned today at the race track. And I get that same feeling from these people at NBC. "They're just excited to be at the race track, and they're excited to be a part of the sport." FOX and NBC have exclusive NASCAR broadcasting rights, beginning next year. NBC will broadcast the final 20 Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content, beginning next year. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Once an informal ride, event now sweeps through NASCAR
Wife of Hall of Fame engine builder passed away on Sunday
Get a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live 1. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Finding his way to clear air on the race's final restart, Johnson got all the encouragement he needed over the team's in-car radio: "Leg it, baby. Leg it." The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion did, pulling away to his fourth victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the 71st of his career in NASCAR's top series. Sign up for Scanner today to hear in-car audio. " Sign up for Scanner today to hear in-car audio 2. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. The defending Sprint Cup champion had to carve his way from the back of the field after suffering engine failure during Saturday practice, but was perched atop the leaderboard by the 87th lap in the 325-lap distance. Harvick wound up leading a race-high 116 laps in recording his second runner-up finish in two races thus far in 2015. " WATCH: Johnson holds off Harvick for the win 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Junior has opened the season by going 2-for-2 in posting third-place finishes despite sustaining front-end damage Sunday when he ran into a piece of debris in the late going. Though he consistently was near the front of the pack, Earnhardt led just one lap all afternoon. " WATCH: Dale Jr.: Crew chief Ives is 'a pretty good cheerleader' 4. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. The Daytona 500 champ continued his hot streak by winning the Coors Light Pole Award on Friday. Though he lacked the power to mount a challenge over the final green-flag run, Logano will enter next Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the Sprint Cup points leader. " WATCH: Out Front with Miss Coors Light 5. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. The JGR driver -- who led 10 laps Sunday and lined up second for the final restart -- watched his losing skid stretch to 46 races (dating back to 2013) after a slight fade just before the checkered flag. 6. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing. The modest rejuvenation continues for Truex and the Colorado-based team owned by Barney Visser. The Furniture Row bunch registered just five top-10 finishes in all 36 races last year; two races into 2015, Truex and Co. already have a pair of single-digit results. " MORE: Truex looks to put 2014 woes behind him 7. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG-Daugherty Racing. A strong finish on an intermediate track helped lift the spirits of the single-car organization, which qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs for the first time last year. After just two races, Allmendinger is slotted in a tie for eighth in the series standings. " MORE: Chase Grid after two races 8. Brett Moffitt, No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. The former NASCAR Next driver needed to receive the free pass two times to do it, but Moffitt closed the deal on the lead lap on a day of firsts for his career-best finish in just his eighth Sprint Cup start. Brian Vickers is scheduled to return to MWR's No. 55 ride next weekend at Las Vegas. 9. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. The 2012 champion had hopes for a top-five finish, but his aspirations were also tempered with temporary resignation over what he thought could have been a subpar 15th-place result. "We were just kind of up and down and floating all day long," Keselowski said after settling for somewhere in the middle of his expectations in ninth place. 10. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Newman appeared sunk after absorbing significant damage in a four-car crash on Lap 257, but hard work from his RCR crew in making repairs buoyed Newman to a surprising top-10. 11. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. After opening up 2014 with patchwork finishes of 39th, 15th, 25th, third and 43rd, Almirola has some consistency to crow about this season. "That's a big head start from last year!" Almirola tweeted after his second straight top-15 finish pushed him into a tie for eighth in Sprint Cup points. " MORE: Follow drivers on Social Drive 12. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards was the beneficiary of the race's next-to-last yellow flag, helping him recover from a seemingly disastrous flat tire in the 274th lap for a lead-lap finish. 13. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. The Wisconsin native couldn't shake the unluckiest of numbers, starting and finishing 13th as the final driver on the lead lap. 14. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The track that produced Kahne's last-ditch clincher into the Chase field last September wasn't so kind this time around. A pit-road penalty for a rolling-tire infraction in the 293rd lap forced the Hendrick Motorsports driver to make a pass-through on pit lane during green-flag conditions. 15. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. Sunday's top-15 finish wasn't quite the windfall the Germain team received from Mears' sixth-place run in the Daytona 500, but the solid day kept its driver in the same position in Sprint Cup points -- sixth. 16. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Atlanta provided the backdrop for Patrick's career-best Sprint Cup finish of sixth place last season. While 16th place marked a slip in performance, the effort -- coupled with 21st place the previous week at Daytona -- launched Patrick into the final spot on the provisional Chase grid. 17. Regan Smith, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Smith's second start as a substitute for suspended Kurt Busch had nearly the same result as the first, just one spot lower than his 16th place in the Daytona 500. The degree of difficulty may have been greater at Atlanta, though, after Smith's No. 41 was crumpled in a multicar fracas 20 laps from the end. " WATCH: Big wreck brings out the red flag 18. David Ragan, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Ragan pushed the No. 18 car up into the top five in the early stages of his first start as a fill-in for injured Kyle Busch, but said he was "a little timid" in making needed adjustments as the 500-miler went on. "I felt like we had a good, solid top-10 car and things just didn't shake out," Ragan said. 19. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne was at the head of the Roush Fenway class at Atlanta, but frustrated in finishing two laps down. The midpack result left him hoping to see the team's determination rewarded soon. "I see a lot of people trying to work together and that's where it starts," Bayne said. "We obviously haven't seen any results as far as speed is concerned." 20. Justin Allgaier, No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Allgaier made the most of his survival instinct after two instances of evasive action in the race's late stages. The second-year driver brushed the wall avoiding the Lap 257 pile-up that snared four cars, then dipped to the apron to dodge the Lap 305 snarl that grabbed seven more competitors. 21. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Inopportune timing put Hornish in the path of debris from Austin Dillon's blown tire in the 60th lap. Damage to the front end jolted the grille and left the RPM No. 9 crew fighting an uphill battle for most of the race; his own flat tire and a later brush with the wall only compounded the trouble. 22. David Gilliland, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Gilliland pressed on after a bump from behind in the four-car crash on the 257th lap. He also stayed on the track during the race's fourth yellow flag to lead a lap for the first time at Atlanta since March 2010. 23. Alex Bowman, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. After failing to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500, Bowman opened his season at Atlanta as one of the biggest movers in a race filled with them. The second-year Sprint Cup driver gained 19 spots from his starting position. 24. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer gained track position by staying on the track late in the race, but his day went from sour to downright acidic in a hurry. An engine issue developed with around 35 laps left, just before the race's final crash engulfed him with 20 to go. 25. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. The Biff fought an ill-handling car most of the day, but lost the most ground when he overcooked his entry into Turn 3 on the race's next-to-last restart, igniting the race's biggest crash. 26. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. The site of an eighth-place finish last season held much higher promise for 2014's Sunoco Rookie of the Year, but sustaining plenty of contact in the race's biggest crash near the finish prompted Larson to tweet afterward: "Such a frustrating race. Top 5 car but had no luck." " MORE: Follow drivers on Social Drive 27. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing. The small, family-owned team found some solace in McDowell's best result in five career starts at Atlanta, marking the first time he was running at the finish at the 1.54-mile venue. 28. Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. The Jay Robinson-owned start-up team recovered after failing to qualify for the Daytona 500 with Brian Scott. It marked the occasion of Gaughan's first Sprint Cup start since August 2013. 29. Michael Annett, No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing. Annett and Co. struck an 11th-hour deal to jump in the Joe Falk-owned ride after his regular HScott Motorsports No. 46 ride missed out on Coors Light Pole Qualifying. The last-minute move kept his goal of a complete Sprint Cup season alive. 30. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart was one of several drivers who started near the back of the pack after issues clearing Friday's pre-qualifying inspection. Smoke grappled with handling woes for much of the race, but matters got worse with involvement in the event's final multicar crash. 31. Mike Bliss, No. 32 Ford, GoFAS Racing. The 49-year-old veteran stayed on the track during a pair of early caution periods to pace two laps, marking his first lap led in the Sprint Cup Series since March 4, 2012 (Phoenix). It also was the first time since August 27, 2005 (Bristol) that Bliss has led multiple laps in a Sprint Cup race. 32. Josh Wise, No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise was among the first bitten by the new pit road officiating system, incurring a Lap 28 penalty for crew members coming over the wall too soon. Though seven laps down, Wise managed his best finish in three career starts at Atlanta. 33. Joe Nemechek, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. The man with the Front Row nickname made his first appearance in Front Row Motorsports equipment, but contact from Greg Biffle's spin left his car and hopes dented for his first Sprint Cup event of the year. 34. JJ Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Slight damage from debris early in the race slowed Yeley, who managed to improve upon the 40th-place result from the season-opening Daytona 500. 35. Jeb Burton, No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing. As the only rookie in the 43-car field, Burton made his Sprint Cup debut, forging on after a mid-race scrape with the wall. 36. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Stenhouse played the role of pinball in the race's biggest crash; though several cars were involved, the No. 17 was the only one unable to continue. 37. Cole Whitt, No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. An engine that would've made a 400-mile distance couldn't quite withstand the full 500, first dropping a cylinder before expiring altogether, dumping fluid on the track and causing the race's next-to-last caution period. 38. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin led twice for 14 laps, but found himself sideways in the middle of the track when he lost control on a late-race restart. Three more cars piled in, prompting Hamlin to offer sympathies: "I apologize to all those cars involved, but it's tough." " WATCH: Hamlin spins and collects several drivers 39. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. A pair of rear tire troubles in rapid succession, both of which sprayed debris on the 1.54-mile track, derailed Dillon's day. The second instance, with the car already laboring from earlier damage, sent the RCR No. 3 off into the muddy infield and later behind the wall for extensive repairs. " WATCH: Dillon spins after cutting a tire 40. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. After starting third, Jamie Mac didn't have visions of finishing in the bottom five Sunday at Atlanta. The tangle that also thwarted three others when Denny Hamlin lost control took him by surprise: "I didn't see any of that coming," McMurray said. "That was kind of out of the blue." 41. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The four-time champion drew a Lap 24 tribute from the track with his car number blanketing the main scoring pylon early on, but enduring a crash for the second straight week has his final full Sprint Cup season off to a ragged start. Finishes of 33rd at Daytona and 41st at Atlanta have relegated Gordon to a tie for 35th place in the points standings. " WATCH: Big wreck brings out red flag 42. Ron Hornaday Jr., No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. After failing to qualify for the Daytona 500, the four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion made his first Sprint Cup start since 2003 on Sunday. The Curtis Key-owned start-up team parked just past the halfway point at Atlanta with a rear gearing malfunction. 43. Landon Cassill, No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Starting last, Cassill seemingly had nowhere to go but up at Atlanta. Instead, the 25-year-old driver stayed level as the race's first retiree for the second straight week, posting consecutive 43rd-place finishes after two engine failures to start the season. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Sunday was first race on an intermediate track under new package Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live HAMPTON, Ga. -- The rules have changed, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the cars remain the same. "This car is the same ol' car, man," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said after finishing third in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "The rules changed a little bit, but (the cars) drive the same and actually qualified faster than we did last year. … It's a good race car. The rules aren't going to be that big of a deal." Sunday's race at the 1.54-mile track was the first for teams with the new package designed to lessen horsepower, downforce and drag. Tapered spacers, similar to those already in use in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, cut horsepower from approximately 850 to 725 and a lower differential gear (targeting 9,000 rpm) is in use. The spoiler, which affects the amount of downforce generated on the rear of the car, has been trimmed from 8 to 6 inches, and the width of the radiator pan underneath the car is 5 inches smaller this year. The goal is to make the cars less aero dependent and put more of the onus on the drivers. Less overall downforce should also allow Goodyear to producer a softer tire which would wear more during the course of a green-flag run and make tire management more crucial. "I believe that after about 15 or 20 laps we were really racing," Carl Edwards said afterward, "because the tires were worn out." Edwards finished 12th in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He said he still believes NASCAR needs to continue taking downforce away from the cars. "We've got way too much speed in the center of the corner," he said. "There's not a lot of change, not a lot of opportunity to go down in the corner and over-drive it or under-drive it because you’ve got such high corner speeds. "It's no problem to drive, the problem is it's too easy. We need to cut those spoilers down and get rid of those splitters." AMS has always been a track that produced high speeds and plenty of tire wear and this year's Sprint Cup race proved to be no different in spite of the rules changes. Joey Logano's winning speed en route to winning the Coors Light Pole Award was 194.683 mph, faster than Aric Almirola's leading 191.278 mph set in the first round of qualifying here last fall. On Monday NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said it is "still really early in the process" with the package, but noted the charge of eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson, who started 37th, through the field as well as several others in Sunday’s race. "I think (we saw) some really solid finishes, so we liked what we saw. Certainly some learnings that we'll take out of Atlanta. We'll apply those to the upcoming test in Charlotte and continue to look at ways we can continuously improve the racing." Sprint Cup Series teams travel to Las Vegas, another 1.5-mile venue, for this week's race. A two-day test session is currently scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, March 10-11, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Teams participating in the Goodyear portion of the test on Tuesday, March 10, include one each from Hendrick Motorsports, Furniture Row Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and BK Racing. At other 1.5-mile tracks such as Las Vegas, Charlotte and Texas, tire fall-off won't be as pronounced, race-winning crew chief Chad Knaus said. "But I do think this type of package will help Jimmie," he said. "I think it will be better for him with the lack of grip. When we go to some of these other race tracks, it's going to be a different format." One race isn't enough to determine the fault or value of the package, Edwards said, "but I really believe if NASCAR keeps going in that direction, taking downforce away, the racing is going to get better and better." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
An inside look at where the victory vehicles go and some stories about the cars Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: See all the cars featured HAMPTON, Ga. – Did you see the car, the Team Penske No. 22 car, the one that won last week's Daytona 500 ? It was covered in confetti and on display at Daytona International Speedway 's Daytona Experience, less than 24 hours after Joey Logano whipped it into Victory Lane after the biggest single race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Logano and crew chief Todd Gordon and team owner Roger Penske and assorted crewmen and personnel stood by the car on Monday. Photos were taken. The yellow Ford that carried Logano to his first Daytona 500 victory did not go back to the team’s headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. Gordon and his team can't refurbish it, shine it up and roll it back out of the hauler at Talladega, the season's second restrictor-plate race. Or take it back to Daytona in July, or Talladega in October. RELATED: Logano wins the 2015 Daytona 500 "I wanted to change out the seat insert, but they said no, because it had confetti on it. You have to leave it just as it is," Gordon said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway , site of last weekend's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 . Since 1996, when Daytona USA officially opened, winning Daytona 500 entries have been put on display there for one year. Teams are financially compensated for the loss of use of the car. According to most crew chiefs interviewed, the cars evolve to such a degree that they have aged out by the time teams regain possession of them a year later. "I would say by that point … it's probably not going to be current to what we've got going on," Gordon said. "When we get the car back, we'll look at where we are chassis-wise. We possibly could re-use the chassis, but (not) body-wise. "I'd say that thing's going to be a museum piece (when we get it back). It did win the Daytona 500 ." While evolutionary changes often lessen the likelihood that a winning Daytona 500 entry could see more on-track action, opportunities have also been impacted by changes in body styles, the arrival of the Car of Tomorrow – which made it's Daytona debut in 2008 – and the 2013 arrival of the Generation-6 Sprint Cup Series car. A few of the stories behind Daytona 500 race-winning cars: • 1996/2000 – Dale Jarrett, Robert Yates Racing Jarrett, inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014, won his first of three Daytona 500 titles in 1993 while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing . But Daytona officials didn't begin the process of displaying race-winning entries until three years later. By then, Jarrett was back in Victory Lane, this time with the No. 88 Ford Thunderbird fielded by Robert Yates Racing. Today, Todd Parrott is competition director for Richard Childress Racing ’s XFINITY Series program. He was Jarrett's crew chief for both of his Daytona 500 victories at RYR. "That was the car that was in the NASCAR Hall of Fame when DJ was inducted," Parrott told NASCAR.com at AMS this past weekend. "It had gone to Talladega (where it was on display in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame) and then it was brought up for his induction." "I just remember it was very special for the car to be put in Daytona USA in '96." According to NASCAR Hall of Fame officials, the car remains at the Hall and is expected to be returned to its owners soon. Parrott said the team "talked about" refurbishing the car once they got it back and considered running it the following season at Talladega. "But I don't believe we did; I believe that was the only time we ran that car." Jarrett said he took photos of the car after a going-away dinner for driver Marcos Ambrose at the Hall. "I went up there and visited the car," he said, "talked to it. We had a moment of silence. It was cool." Four years later, the Jarrett/Parrott/Yates group was winning the Daytona 500 again. And that 2000 car, Parrott said, was "extraordinarily special." "A lot of time was spent on it," he said. "It sat on the pole for the 500; I think we finished second in the (qualifying) race, and then won the 500 with it. "And that was after we had an accident on Saturday afternoon in Happy Hour; we went back and worked on it. To see it win there was extra special, knowing all the work that went into it prior to that." The most notable difference between Jarrett's '96 and '00 entries – the '96 was a Thunderbird; his '00 win came in a Taurus. • 1998 – Dale Earnhardt, Richard Childress Racing The penny is still there, team owner Richard Childress said. In 1998, seven-time NASCAR premier series champion Dale Earnhardt ended 19 years of frustration by finally winning the one major race that had managed to avoid his grasp, winning the Daytona 500 in his 20th attempt. Taped to the dash of his Chevrolet Monte Carlo was a penny given to Earnhardt by Wessa Miller, a young girl suffering from spina bifida. Miller had met Earnhardt during Speedweeks thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. "It's in my museum right now, and still has the original penny on the dash," Childress said of the car. " Kevin Harvick 's 2007 Daytona 500 winning car is in the museum as well. "I think I left (Kevin's car) scratched and beat up just like it came out … from when he got in the wall on the backstretch." • 2009 – Matt Kenseth , Roush Fenway Racing Kenseth has a pair of Daytona 500 titles, the first in '09 with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer and the second in '12 with Jimmy Fennig. PHOTOS: Drivers with multiple wins in the Great American Race "The car is usable again," Blickensderfer, now crew chief for Richard Petty Motorsports driver Sam Hornish Jr ., said. "But obviously most of the time … someone wants that car for a museum so you usually lose that car for that. "The things that you lose, which is pretty costly, are the components on the car. At the time when we won (the 500), the bump stops, the shocks the springs, brake calipers, things like that, basically all of that evolves enough to where you’re not using that stuff for the next Daytona 500 . But you lost that whole year’s worth of run on brake parts and steering pumps and things you could have used throughout a year. That part is pretty costly. "Body and chassis – anytime I've ever been involved in a big race win, somebody wants that car enough that you're not going to get to use it anyway." Kenseth's '09 winning entry did go on display inside the Roush Fenway Racing complex, as did the winning entry from '12. "Yeah, you could (re-use) the car once you got it back," Fennig, now research and development coordinator for RFR, said. "Provided they didn't change the rules over the year." But, he said, "You should be able to build a better car (by then)." • 2011 – Trevor Bayne , Wood Brothers Racing There’s still a Dasani water bottle under the seat of the No. 21 Ford Fusion, and there are signatures across the back of the car. The water bottle was left behind at some point during the race, or perhaps in the wild celebration afterward. The signatures came later – a year later in fact. When Bayne captured the '11 Daytona 500 , he became the youngest winner ever of the series' biggest race. It came in only his second start in the Sprint Cup Series. And it came with Wood Brothers Racing , one of the legendary NASCAR teams still competing. "When we got it back the next year – that Sunday … we had 20 or more people sign it that night at the Daytona Experience (formerly Daytona USA), basically the back end of the car," Len Wood, co-owner of the team, said. The car was returned to the team’s headquarters long enough for employees in the shop that had worked on the car to place their signatures on the piece as well. It then went to the team's museum in Stuart, Virginia, where members of the Wood family autographed the car during a brief, two-day stay. By week's end, it had been delivered to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where it remains today. "That car was No. 600 in terms of Ford wins," Wood said, "plus the significance of everything else." Could it have been used the following season after it was returned to the team from Daytona? "It was a COT car, so it could have been used," said Wood. "We got it back in February of '12, the Gen-6 car didn't come around until '13 … so it could have been used at Talladega (in the spring) or in the Fourth of July (Daytona) race or Talladega in the fall. But we didn't." The car hasn't been touched, although Bayne has been back behind the wheel for photos, just so the team can correctly state that the Daytona 500 winner was the last to sit behind its wheel. Unlike most Daytona 500 winning cars, the No. 21 was covered in a combination of confetti and Coca-Cola. "They didn't break open the champagne," Wood said, "because (Trevor) was only 20. So everything stuck to it." • 2004/2014 – Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Dale Earnhardt, Inc./ Hendrick Motorsports Team owner Rick Hendrick has eight victories in the Daytona 500 , six of which came after ’96. Geoffrey Bodine ('86) and Darrell Waltrip ('89) won before the speedway began putting the cars on display. Jeff Gordon (’97, ’99, ’05), Jimmie Johnson (’06, ’13) and Earnhardt Jr. ('14) lost the use of their winning cars for a year. PHOTOS: Relive Dale Jr.'s 2014 victory at Daytona HMS just took possession of Earnhardt Jr.'s winning entry from last year and fans can now see the car in the Hendrick Motorsports museum. According to Hendrick officials, all Daytona 500 winning cars are put on display in the museum, a decision made by the team owner. Earnhardt Jr.'s '04 winning entry, however, came when the series' most popular driver was competing for Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team founded by his father. "I reckon it's over at DEI in the showroom, but I haven't been to DEI in six to a dozen years," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I can't even remember the last time I was in there. There's a lot of stuff over there I wouldn't mind getting my hands on." Earnhardt Jr. said his "old Late Model car" is still there, and said it's likely the Street Stock car that was raced by all three Earnhardt siblings – Dale, Kerry and sister Kelley – is as well. "Just a lot of stuff sitting over there that I'm sure is being well taken care of," he said. "I imagine the Daytona 500 car is in a warehouse somewhere. Certainly we still have the title to it." 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Richard and Kyle Petty honored for their work as Victory Junction turns 10 RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Weave your way through Randleman, North Carolina, past its verdant pastures and timeworn gas stations, and you'll happen upon a magical place. About four miles outside town, a stone's throw from Richard Petty's residence, you’ll find Victory Junction. But it might as well be at the intersection of healing and hope. The 80-acre camp, situated on land that Petty roamed as a child before donating it a dozen years ago, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Since it opened in 2004, Victory Junction has enriched the lives of children with serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences at no cost to them or their families. It has also honored the memory of Adam Petty in a most fitting way. Due to that incredible achievement, NASCAR Illustrated is naming Richard and Kyle Petty the 2014 Persons Of The Year. Although they would surely prefer the award go to the thousands of people who have helped turn Adam's idea into reality, we honor these two for their tireless efforts and singular contribution to children. Grandson of Richard and son of Kyle, Adam developed the idea of this camp. The notion came to him some two years before his death in an accident at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2000. Shortly after, the seed that Adam had planted started to take root. "This was just land that I grew up on," Richard Petty said recently. "We brought four-wheelers over here and went hunting and all this kind of stuff, so we knew the land. We had some boys from [ Richmond International Raceway developer] Hugh Hawthorne and he brought a bunch of guys down from Richmond. Dale Inman [long-time Petty crew chief] got on a bulldozer, never been on a bulldozer before, and just cleaned everything. For two years, they just cleaned everything trying to get things lined up." On a recent, resplendent autumn day, the King gazed out on the finished camp, taking stock of just how far it had come. "The place really looks good now because it looks like it belongs here," he said. "When we done it to begin with, it was pretty but it was naked. Now everything's hidden. Beautiful place, man." This is true both literally and figuratively. Victory Junction has welcomed more than 20,000 children and family members from all 50 states and several foreign countries in its first decade of operation. It has succeeded in its mission to create a place that fosters independence, confidence and continuous growth after camp to better the quality of life for children. Adam's legacy is palpable on these healing grounds. "I think you feel his presence," Kyle said of his son. "I've said it before: I see Adam in every child that comes through here in their smile. Adam had a huge smile. So when you see these kids laugh and smile, then yeah, you do feel closer." Victory Junction has always relied on and benefitted from the generosity of its extended NASCAR family. The Pettys started this journey with little more than Adam's vision and a belief that it was meant to be. There were only fields and dreams in the beginning. "We went out then to race fans, to the tracks, to NASCAR, everybody, and said, 'This is what we're gonna do,' " Richard said. "We started with no money; we just started it and said, 'We're gonna do it and they will come.' As you were able to show what you was doing here, then more people came and more people got involved." Evidence of that largesse is everywhere -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s Corral and Amphitheater, Kurt Busch 's Superdome, Michael Waltrip 's SportsCenter and Jimmie Johnson 's Victory Lanes bowling alley among others. "It's been that trickle-down effect," Kyle said. "The first two guys that really helped us here were Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett, really made a commitment and said, 'Let us do something.' Since then, just about everybody (among drivers). That's all cool and that was big and they built a big building and donated and gave their time and effort to raise their funds and awareness. "But it's the fan that sends $4.50 a month or $45 a year that really keeps the camp going. "So, that's the base. The base is the fan base. Just like the same guys, men and women and kids that go to race tracks all over and pull for Tony Stewart or Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon . They're the people that keep camp alive." Victory Junction Chief Development Officer Mark Schumacher joined the camp this year and only recently realized that his professional and personal lives had crossed without him knowing years earlier. Schumacher's son, a cancer survivor, was a camper at Camp Boggy Creek in Orlando, Florida, in 1998. That year, wildfires ravaged the Daytona Beach area and forced NASCAR to postpone the July race to October. As fate would have it, the Pettys visited Camp Boggy Creek that fall and that is when Adam hatched his idea. He left thinking: Instead of visiting kids in hospitals, as the Pettys had done with the annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride to that point, why not bring the kids to a camp in North Carolina? Schumacher's son's experience -- both good and bad -- helped make the move to Victory Junction a no-brainer. "He said it was the best time of my life during the worst time of my life," Schumacher said. "If that doesn't say it for you, nothing does. We just all believe one thing: A child needs to be a child. This is where they can do that. We're just bringing to them what every other child enjoys. That is what drives everybody on this team." Forged out of loss and sadness, Victory Junction has blossomed over time into a place of great joy. Schumacher sees a common thread running through all the campers that visit. "I think the genesis of this camp and the building of this camp and the experience the campers have is looking at life without a rear-view mirror," he said. "There is nothing we can do to change things. We can't bring Adam Petty back; we can't say to some of these children that your disease, your disability is magically disappearing. But we're not focused on looking back; we're focused on going forward. "So what can we do to make a difference going forward in their lives and how can we make that tragic death of Adam Petty mean something? That's Victory Junction." In the company of others sharing the same condition, kids feel empowered to let their true personalities come out. It's a freedom that -- once discovered -- can liberate these kids from the constraints society places upon them. "When these kids are in school, that's what they're known by is their disease," Kyle said. "That's the little boy in the wheelchair. That's the little boy with spina bifida. That's the little girl that can't play because she has hemophilia or whatever it may be. They become known by their diseases. Here, they are known by their names. Their disease takes the backseat." Victory Junction Camp Director Chris Foster noted that for many campers -- particularly those from small towns or with unique diagnoses -- it's often the first time in their lives being in the presence of others that can relate to what they're going through. The relationships that are formed over the course of a week can last a lifetime. "To come here and spend a week at camp with six or seven other kids in the cabin that have the same diagnosis as you is something they've never experienced in their whole life, and they get to feel normal and just play and be a kid," Foster said. "We don't like to focus on the diagnosis at all. We really just like to focus on the child and allow them to have that great experience. But in the real world, sometimes they are labeled by diagnosis." Michael Deal, who made his sixth visit to Victory Junction this summer, is one of many campers that return to the camp each year. "One of my good friends behind me, Zach, we both have Chrohn's [a bowel disease]," Deal said. "It's just we've been coming here so many years and almost been in the same cabin every time. We're basically best friends. We've done everything together. It's just a lot of fun. Here you can just let it all out. At home, you're afraid if people are going to tease you or make fun of you. And here, you can just talk about it and everybody will understand." In its first decade, Victory Junction has helped thousands of kids like Deal understand, heal and move forward on their way to better lives. Richard Petty , fond of using the word "deal" in everyday conversation, invoked the word to describe what makes this place truly special. "The deal is when you think about being here 10 years and seeing 20,000 kids that wouldn't get a chance to do anything like this," he said. "They can't go to church camp or YMCA camp or anything like that. But they can come here for five or six days and they see people that -- they think they're the only one in the world that's afflicted like that -- they come here and there's another 125 kids just like them. They join the world." The patriarch of the Petty family noted that he’d been blessed with four children, 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. His singular success in stock car racing afforded fame, fortune and worldwide acclaim. And yet, at 77, you get the suspicion that what's been built in the rolling hills of Randleman will mean more to him in the end. "This is the place that I come and I look around and say, 'Thank you, good Lord, for letting me be in this position to try to help all these other kids,' " he said. "To me, that's basically what it's all about." For Kyle Petty , the loss of his son served as prelude to healing on a grander scale than any of the family members could have imagined. He was asked what Adam would think, how he might feel, about the number of lives that have been so positively impacted by Victory Junction since it opened. "It's been like dropping not a pebble in still water, it's been like dropping a boulder in still water with the ripple effect and how it continues to just overwhelm you," he said. "I think from that perspective, he would be like us. He would just be humbled by the fact that the boulder that was dropped in the water was him, but when you look at it, the ripple effect still continues this much later." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
NBC Sports analysts give thoughts on 2014 Chase, what we'll see in 2015 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Related: Burton, Letarte explain Jeff Gordon's major decision By now, it's safe to say that last season's revamped Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the drama surrounding its race action immediately left us speechless, but eventually kept us talking. With NBC Sports' NASCAR tenure set to resume this season after nine years away from the sport, its all-star crew of Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty gave their thoughts last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom on the new format -- what they enjoyed and what we're bound to see in 2015. According to these NASCAR heavyweights, it sounds like we're going to see even more intense action than last year, as hard as that is to imagine. Jeff Burton, 21-time Sprint Cup Series winner "I've always believed that I was giving 100 percent. That no matter where I was in points, no matter what was going on, that I brought everything that I could bring. This points structure made you bring more. And it made the teams find a way to be better. And I think in our sport, that's what this is all about. It's about being better. You're good in April? Hey, that's great. But if you're not good enough in August and September, it ain't good enough. "The idea that you have to improve throughout the whole year -- that if you win a race, you're in -- but points still matter. I think all of that is really cool. I would hate it if points didn't matter. I know that everybody wanted the guy that won the most races and the right races to be the champion, but points should still matter. It's always been a big part of this sport and it still currently is today. So the fact that points matter, the fact that winning covers up all other mistakes and the fact that you have to be right at the right time; that's what a crunch moment is all about. "As a fan of all kinds of sports, the reason I like the Super Bowl is because if you don’t win, you lose. You go home. … And that's the mentality that has been brought to in racing today. You have to win. Or you have to compete at an exceptionally high level or you're not going to win a championship; you're not going to get done what you need to get done. I like the fact that it's made it harder for the teams, it's made it more intense for the teams. The more intense and the more stressful it is for the competitors, the more fun it is to watch. And this points structure has been without a doubt all those things." Dale Jarrett, NASCAR Hall of Famer "Jeff put it better than I think I've ever heard it put it before. Everything that he's saying there, he was spot-on with that. I think if you look back over the years, no matter how long we've been around this, whenever you have made things more difficult for the drivers, it's more entertaining for the fans and I think that's exactly what this did. "Last year at (Media Tour), we heard a lot of drivers … say 'Look, I race as hard as I can every week, I can't do anymore to try to win than what I do.' I understand that. I know the mentality. We've been there. We've done that. But, I think it proved out that if there is something different, just as Jeff was pointing out, you have to dig down and find another way to make yourself a part of that. "Kyle Busch said something (last week) about his issue at Talladega and what happened to him. That was very unfortunate, because he had done everything right to get himself moved on. He said, 'You know, if I'd got the job done a week before, and won that race, Talladega wouldn't have mattered.' So they've got a different mentality. "There's no perfect system out there, because everybody is not going to agree with it, but my gosh, we came pretty close. That was as exciting a 10-race schedule as I've ever seen in this sport." Steve Letarte, 15-time Sprint Cup Series-winning crew chief "I think that's going to be one of the biggest stories, is how are teams going to adapt? I was only able to take part in one (season) of this new Chase format and I know we learned a lot. It was a great season with a little bit of a letdown in the second round, but there were a lot of teams that have that same feeling. It's going to be an interesting take on 'How can I approach these 10 races differently? Is there a different way that maybe my team should've moved through? What crew chiefs are going to have a different approach? What drivers are going to put different weights on different race tracks?' "You have to be at Homestead. I think that's what's unique about this playoff style. No matter how good of a year you've had, if you slip up, you can overcome with a win, but that's the only way you're going to overcome. And these short, three-race segments you really have to win or have a great three races to move forward. I think we saw some big hitters, some championship favorites last year get knocked out as the playoffs went on and I think that's a big difference from in the years past where you maybe always had a chance. This year, your chances, your book can be closed. Your year can be over. And then we go to Homestead and I don't think we could've asked for a better race at Homestead last year. I don't think that's going to be a rarity. "I think when it's all on the line, the four teams that have a chance are probably always going to find that next level to step up and put on a great race." Kyle Petty , eight-time Sprint Cup Series winner "Being at the race track and being down there with it. … Dale's been in a championship chase, I was with my father (Richard Petty ) in the late 70s and you get down and it's two guys working for a championship and the intensity in those two teams was always overwhelming. When The King and Darrell (Waltrip) went at it, man, it was crazy that year. I didn't know what was going to happen that year and I was just a kid. But the intensity went to a different place and Darrell and The King went to a different place, as far as what they did on the race track and how they performed on the race track. Great drivers and great teams always find a way to step up. "What we saw in the Chase was a lot of teams find that ability to step up. Step up in that first round; step up in that second round. The intensity just got greater and greater and greater. To be a part of that and to be able to try to convey to the race fans at home exactly what Dale Jr. was feeling or Steve Letarte felt sitting on that pit box last year or what Dale Jarrett felt in the car when he was racing for the championship going into that last race and the butterflies and how he felt. I think that's what this Chase brings and that's what we can bring." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule