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SHARON SPEEDWAY NASCAR drivers shift gears, help raise money for charity



Published: Sat, August 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The racetrack held an autograph session to benefit Victory Junction.

By KATIE LIBECCO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

HARTFORD -- Four NASCAR drivers visited Sharon Speedway Saturday night to help raise money for Victory Junction, a non-profit organization, which helps terminally ill children.

NASCAR drivers Dave Blaney, Kyle Petty, Matt Kenseth and Ken Schrader flew in from Watkins Glen Raceway in southern New York Saturday afternoon for the fundraiser.

"I just think that this is a really great cause. We try to help each other out. Dave visited my track a few weeks ago, so I wanted to help him," said driver Ken Schrader. "This is a great way to meet a lot of fans and raise a lot of money for a good cause."

Fans were able to meet the four NASCAR drivers during an autograph session held during the races. More than 600 tickets were sold to fans for autographs.

Ten fans were selected from the crowd to meet the drivers at the on-stage interaction session in the oval's infield during the night's intermission. Fans were able to ask the four drivers questions.

"I could have sat alone in my motor home in the infield or come out here and meet a lot of great fans," Schrader said. "I'm glad that I could meet these people and help a great cause."

Good prizes

There were also more than 100 NASCAR prizes raffled off during the races. Many of the items were autographed by drivers. Some of the prizes included racing jackets and other fan apparel, collectible die cast NASCAR replicas and tickets to upcoming NASCAR races.

"Coming out to Sharon Speedway has been very good for the camp and it is great to meet these fans," Kyle Petty said.

The Victory Junction Gang Camp is non-profit organization located near Randleman, N.C., on 72 acres of land. Kyle Petty, his wife, Patti, and actor Paul Newman opened Victory Junction on June 20, 2004.

The camp was created in memory of Kyle's son, Adam Petty, who was killed in a racing-related accident.

Giving back

Victory Junction Gang Camp provides children with terminal illnesses medical treatments on-site. Proceeds raised at Sharon Speedway and other events helps Victory Junction provide the treatments free of charge to families of the children.

"If you ever got a chance to see that camp and what it means to those kids, you would understand how incredible it is," Dave Blaney said. "All of the guys in NASCAR are willing to take time out of their schedule to help organizations like Victory Junction."

This is the third year that Sharon Speedway has helped to raise money for the Victory Junction camp, Petty said.

The 2004 Victory Junction Race at Sharon Speedway raised $40,000, Kate Blaney said.

All five divisions raced Saturday night. Official race results were not available in time for today's edition.

Kevin Harvick was scheduled to participate, but was unable due to an interview with CBS.




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