Kyle Busch will lead off the start of the North Carolina Education Lottery 200
This week's edition of GarageCam is full of Camping World Truck Series drivers preparing for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 .
Check out the post-race reactions from Matt Crafton and Brad Keselowski at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Charlotte marks the fourth stop for the Truck Series in 2014
Young driver finished in fourth place in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Dillon Bassett has proven to be a quick study. Yes, racing runs deep in his bloodlines, but the 17-year-old from Winston-Salem, North Carolina has seen the start of his NASCAR racing career get off to a soaring start. Bassett was among the drivers honored at Friday night's NASCAR Whelen All-American Series banquet in the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center. The evening recognized champions and rookies of the year on the state and provincial level as well as track champions, the top three finishers in the national title and a handful of other awards. RELATED: Anders honored as 2014 national champion " Awards photo gallery In his first full season, Bassett rolled off an impressive 13 wins, 31 top-five finishes and 35 top-10 finishes in 37 starts while finishing fourth in the final NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings. He also finished second in the state championship standings to Lee Pulliam, the two-time national champion. Bassett received the inaugural UNOH Youth Achievement Award, which recognizes the top driver 17-and-under in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. "This is the first year I ran a full NASCAR series schedule and I think to win 13 races in your first year is pretty exciting," Bassett said. "I know after I clicked off like three in a row or something I was getting pumped up. And to finish the season with 13, I feel like it's a pretty good accomplishment for us." Among the tracks Bassett competed at this season included: Motor Mile Speedway, Anderson Motor Speedway, Southern National Motorsports Park, Hickory Motor Speedway, Caraway Speedway, East Carolina Motor Speedway and Langley Speedway. Hickory, where Bassett scored several victories this year, was one track that really stood out. "It's a local short track. A lot of good racing. We've been there quite a few times this year and it doesn't matter where you were at on the race track, it seemed like there was always racing going on. It's pretty fun. It had to be fun for the fans just to watch. You know, sometimes you go to tracks and you only have three or four cars racing; when we went to Hickory it just seemed like everybody was racing." At a young age, Bassett found great success in Bandolero Bandits. He won a national championship in 2006 and three national championships in 2007. When he moved to Legends cars in 2009, he won more national championships. Upon moving to limited late models in 2010, he won a track championship the following year. Dillon's father, Ronnie Bassett Sr., was a past NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champion with a 1997 title in Stadium Stocks at Bowman Gray Stadium. His older brother, Ronnie Bassett Jr., just completed his first full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and finished 11th in the final standings. Ronnie Jr. also was a Bandolero Bandit national champion in 2006 and won track and state championships. Of his family's history in the sport, Dillon says, "It gives you something to shoot for. "Right now I'm at an equal level of where my dad was running late models." In 2015, the plan is for Dillon to move up the NASCAR ladder. "Next year, me and my brother and going to run the (NASCAR) K&N Pro Series East. We're trying to step up as much as we can," Dillon said. He added that the goal was to run the full schedule, plus a handful of NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races as well, if the schedule permits. In addition to his strong 2014 season, Dillon turned some heads with his participation in the 2013 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. He scored the pole for the event before finishing seventh in a race that included NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch , David Ragan , Kyle Larson , Matt Kenseth , Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and Tony Stewart . "It was fun to get out there and race with those guys. You are going to learn a ton considering they run in NASCAR's top series. It was a blast. Look forward to hopefully doing it some more. I know they changed tracks to South Boston this year and we didn't run it. The timing didn't work out. But hopefully, we can run it some more in the future." If Dillon Bassett continues to be a quick study as he moves up the ladder, he may find himself racing against some of those names a little more frequently. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Kyle Busch passes Clint Bowyer with seven laps to go to win the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 .
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At first race, student from Dominican Republic soaks it all in Students are encouraged to work as active media members at the race track and ultimately tell the story of their unique experience at a NASCAR event. Following each immersion, one student will have the chance to see their work published on NASCAR.com. Last month, Nerys Medina, a student from the Dominican Republic, attended Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway and filed this story. This journey started by chance. Thanks to the Student Media Immersion program that provided my friend Marjorie and I the chance to witness the last race of 2014 of what I now know as the NASCAR Camping Truck World Series. It was a wonderful experience. I am Nerys Medina, an advertisement student from the Dominican Republic. Until recently, the only thing I knew about NASCAR was its name and that it was something related to cars. Now I know better. We arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway where we were dropped off at Gate 1. After taking photos and being amazed at finally arriving there, we approached the track staff to ask about credentials and the Media Center … that was the start of what we fondly call the “Epic Quest.” After confusion over the credential location, we finally arrived at the credential office where we were spotted by Edward Williams, a really friendly and kind member of the NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications staff who was assigned to provide us with credentials needed to start our adventure. We arrived at the Media Center where we met Laura, John and Yvette who helped Edward during our stay. We were guided around the Media Center and stopped in the cafeteria for a snack. After eating, Laura informed us that we’d get the opportunity to interview a very important character, Alba Colon. Alba is the lead engineer of Chevrolet Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. She informed us about the manufacturers participating in the races: Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota and talked to us about many things, including Chevrolet’s friendly rivalry with Ford. Talking with Alba was an incredible experience; she explained many things and gave us good tips for the future. The place we talked to Alba was in the driver press conference room where Edward told us later all the drivers and sponsors would be for the driver/crew chief meeting. Meanwhile, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series trophy was already on stage so we were allowed to take a few pictures with it. After the inspiring talk with Alba, Edward proposed a tour of the garages and explained the gist of the different inspections that the cars have to pass in order to be able to compete. We also saw Victory Lane where Edward told us that the race winner goes with the winning car (in our case truck) and celebrates with the crew members and fans. We walked around the track for a long time taking pictures of different cars and listening to all of the details provided. Laura later found us and invited us to see a live interview with Austin Dillon . We saw that he was given a special headset in order to listen and answer the questions asked by the reporter. It was really interesting and I was astonished that he could hear and answer calmly without being bothered by cars running in the background. I wonder if the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ could be used in that situation. A few minutes before the start of the race, we were provided with earplugs and a device called ‘FanVision,’ which contained the drivers’ stats and showed the race live. Earplugs ready, excitement and giddiness present, we watched the race and pit stops from behind pit road. With trucks in their positions and everyone holding their breath, in the blink of an eye the race started. When the trucks were racing, I couldn’t believe how fast they could go. I was able to admire a couple of pit stops. Seeing the speed and precision to change old tires, adding or removing changes to the truck and even giving it a push when needed was awe-inspiring. It was an incredible experience watching everything live and it makes you really appreciate all of the dedication and effort everyone pours in their work. In all, it was a wonderful day and also an eye-opening experience that got me really interested in NASCAR. Before, I thought a race was only cars going in circles and nothing else, but after seeing everything, I’m aware now of all the hard work needed to keep such an incredible event in top-notch condition. The knowledge gained from this trip is something that will stay with me for a long time.
Clint Bowyer and Cole Whitt comment on their good runs, while Ron Hornaday and Johnny Sauter discuss their post-race meeting.
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!