K. Petty motorcycle trek nets $500,000 for charity

On Motor Sports

May 16, 1999|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- Kyle Petty, his ponytail flying with every emphatic nod of his head, stood in the sunshine yesterday and reminisced about his Charity Motorcycle Ride.

"We had 160 riders," said Petty, who earned NASCAR's Man of the Year award last season for his charity work. "That was nearly 60 more than usual."

The ride began in California and ended at his home in Trinity, N.C. Among the riders were his father, Richard, and his son, Adam.

The ride was very successful, but the group had one major accident with four riders being injured near Silver City, N.M.

"They were hospitalized and then flown home," Kyle said. "But they were well enough to be at the finish line to greet us when we arrived."

Kyle and company handed out more than $200,000 to various children's hospitals along the way and then made donations to Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., the Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary and various civic organizations.

"I don't know how much we raised in total," Kyle said. "I used to keep tabs, but then I realized it doesn't matter if it's $10 million or $2, because we give every penny away and sometimes just $2 can make a difference to a child."

This was the fifth year for the ride, and although Kyle didn't know how much his motorcycle ride made, a spokesman for the charity event said more than $500,000 was raised.

Karts at Sandy Hook

On Route 1, north of Bel Air, Dave Koehler and his wife, Sue, have been running Sandy Hook Speedway for the past four years. It is one of three go-kart tracks in Maryland and is sanctioned by the World Karting Association.

"We've got a fifth-of-a-mile oval and a three-tenths-of-a-mile road course," said Dave, who builds engines and sells go-karts and parts. "Last year we repaved and built a tri-oval. Our next goal is to get electricity."

The lack of power hasn't curtailed the activity. The track can seat up to 500 people. On the weekends there have been up to 75 entries for the road course and another 71 for the oval.

The Koehlers have age group competition, beginning with children as young as 5, up to the over-35s.

"Go-karts have come a long way," said Dave, 43. "Half the people involved in major-league racing started in go-karts -- like [former Formula One and CART champion] Emerson Fittipaldi, [CART driver] Scott Pruett, [Busch Grand National driver] Casey Atwood."

Today, Sandy Hook is featuring Maryland Sprint Divisional Races. Gates were to open at 8 a.m. with racing at noon.

Nuts and bolts

Baltimorean Larry Kopp came in sixth in the NHRA Pennzoil Nationals Pro Stock Truck event in Richmond. Columbia resident Bob Weickgenannt wasn't so lucky, as his Funny Car again failed to qualify. Marylander Donnie Neunberger finished ninth at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in the Goody's Dash Series. The Winston Cup series' new race in Homestead, Fla., is no longer the Jiffy Lube Miami 400. Its new name is the Pennzoil 400. It will be held Nov. 14.

Racing Legends Week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will honor 500 competitors Rodger Ward, Johnny Rutherford, Jim Rathmann and Lloyd Ruby and car builder A.J. Watson this week.

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