Kyle Petty (Photo courtesy

Kyle Petty takes off on 20th Charity Ride Across America

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If you live between Carlsbad, Calif., and Daytona Beach and see a large group of motorcycles coming up in your rearview mirror some time in the next eight days, it’s likely the guy on the lead bike will be NASCAR analyst Kyle Petty.

Petty and about 175 others kicked off the 20th annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America on Saturday in Carlsbad. The 2,800-mile trek – the longest in the ride’s history – will continue through May 10 and end in the infield of Daytona International Speedway.

“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,” Petty said in a media 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.”

The Ride is designed to raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction, a camp Petty and wife Patti established for kids with chronic or life threatening illnesses more than 10 years ago after the tragic death of son Adam Petty in a practice crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“It’s amazing to see how one tragedy can turn into something so incredible like Victory Junction,” NASCAR Hall of Famer and Kyle’s father, Richard, said.

The King will take part in one of the segments of the Ride, along with current NASCAR star Matt Kenseth, former NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine, NASCAR legends Harry Gant and Donnie Allison and former NFL great Herschel Walker.

“After five years, it’s great to be back on the Kyle Petty Charity Ride to support Kyle and the Camp – just in time for the 20th Anniversary,” Richard Petty said.

Here’s the schedule for the 2014 Kyle Petty Charity Ride:

• 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.

During its first 19 years, more than 7,330 riders have taken part in the Ride, logging over 10.7 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated $15 million to Victory Junction Camp and other children’s charities.

To follow Petty and the riders live, visit, on Twitter at @kpcharityride or @kylepetty. You can also donate on the Ride’s web site,

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

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