Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America turning 20, reveals 2014 route

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This year marks the 20th anniversary for one of NASCAR’s bigger charity events – the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. Yesterday, the Ride revealed the 2014 route for the cross-country motorcycle run.

On Sat., May 3, a group of more than 175 riders will begin their 2,800-mile trek from Carlsbad, California. One week later on Sat., May 10, they’ll arrive in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Ride will raise money and awareness for the Petty family’s Victory Junction Camp, which gives children stricken with chronic and life-threatening illnesses the chance to have fun and enjoy being kids.

Over the last decade, the Camp – which was created in 2004 in honor of Kyle’s late son, Adam – has hosted more than 7,730 children at no cost to their families thanks to the Ride.

“What began as just a few friends having a good time riding track to track has turned into what we have today, which is an incredible event that provides thousands of life changing experiences for children,” Kyle said in a press release.

“This is the first year we’ve traveled straight from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, and I’m looking forward to experiencing it with friends, while meeting our fans and generous supporters along the way.”

Among the luminaries set to take part in all or part of this year’s 20th Anniversary Ride are:

  • Kyle’s father, seven-time Sprint Cup champion Richard Petty
  • 2003 Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth
  • Former NASCAR driver and Bo-Dyn Olympic bobsled founder Geoff Bodine
  • NASCAR legends Harry Gant and Donnie Allison
  • Former NFL great Herschel Walker
  • Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Col. Allen West
  • Co-host of History Channel’s Top Gear America and NASCAR personality Rutledge Wood

Here’s the day-by-day route. Fans can follow the riders daily through the Ride’s Facebook page and on Twitter and Instagram at both @KylePetty and @KPCharityRide.

  • Day 1 Saturday, May 3 – Carlsbad, Calif. to Tucson, Ariz.
  • Day 2 Sunday, May 4 – Tucson, Ariz. to Las Cruces, N.M.
  • Day 3 Monday, May 5 – Las Cruces, N.M. to Midland, Texas
  • Day 4 Tuesday, May 6 – Midland, Texas to Austin, Texas
  • Day 5 Wednesday, May 7 – Austin, Texas to Beaumont, Texas
  • Day 6 Thursday, May 8 – Beaumont, Texas to New Orleans
  • Day 7 Friday, May 9 – New Orleans to Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Day 8 Saturday, May 10 – Tallahassee, Fla. to Daytona Beach, Fla.

Fernando Alonso likes NASCAR country, but he’s not leaving F1 any time soon

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Jimmie Johnson strolled into the Charlotte Convention Center and did a double-take when he saw Fernando Alonso hanging out in a hallway.

“What’s he doing here?” NASCAR’s seven-time champion wondered.

Alonso made the trip to North Carolina to make an appearance at NASCAR’s annual preseason media tour. No, a ride in NASCAR is not imminent, but the two-time Formula One champion is about to embark on his first major sports car race .

Alonso will race this weekend in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona for United Autosports, the sports car team owned by his McLaren F1 boss, Zak Brown. It was Brown who paved the way for Alonso to compete in last year’s Indianapolis 500, and he is helping the Spaniard knock prestigious races off his wish list.

Alonso spent about 10 minutes chatting with Johnson, and the duo was eventually joined by sports car aces Scott Pruett and Joey Hand, who were brought to the NASCAR event by IMSA to help promote the Rolex, and then Cup champion Kevin Harvick.

The meet-and-greet with Alonso was a thrill for Johnson. Alonso was equally impressed.

“The first time I heard his name it was probably 2003 on the NASCAR video game,” Alonso said Tuesday. “I used to choose him, not knowing him, just because of the car. I remember playing with another friend of mine, he likes a chocolate company I will not name now, and he was choosing that car and I was choosing Jimmie’s car.

“But that was the first time I heard of him, and obviously the success that he has in the years in motor racing, he became a legend of our sport, and massive respect.”

Johnson said he’s always been a fan of Alonso’s and spent some time telling Alonso how well he ran in the Indianapolis 500 last May. Alonso led 27 laps and seemed to be in contention for the win until his engine expired 21 laps from the finish.

“He handled himself so well, really did a great job, and I think brought a lot to the table,” Johnson said. “He brought worldwide attention to motorsports and it was really good for us here stateside.”

While in NASCAR country, Alonso was asked about potentially trying a stock car someday. It’s not something that could happen soon, he said, but it is something he’d like to at least attempt.

“Right now, it looks quite far. The driving technique and the experience all those guys have, it’s difficult for me to achieve that level,” Alonso said. “I will never know until I try, so I would like one day to test a car and after that, driving the car, I will know how enjoyable it will be in racing.

“Outside (watching), the races are great because they are all in a group, it is not predictable at all and until the last lap, you don’t know what is going to happen. We love watching from the outside, but I don’t know from the inside.”

Alonso has so far only had three days of testing at Daytona in the sports car to adjust to a closed cockpit, as well as driving at night and in traffic. Trying different series has been a thrill for him, and he’s still eyeing a way to get Le Mans on his schedule.

“It’s one thing that I would like to do, I would like to compete in the best races in the world, and Le Mans and is one of the top races,” he said. “If that day will be this year or not is still to be discussed, but maybe yes.”

More AP Auto Racing: https://racing.ap.org/