LAKE PLACID-When the 175 motorcycles roll out of Lake Placid on May 7, Kyle Petty will be leading the charge.
The veteran NASCARracer and commentator will start the Kyle Petty Ride for Charity in Lake Placid, a ride in its 17th year that will be taking a new route for many of the riders.
"Some of these places we are going to the first time and so the riders are excited about seeing the new places," Petty said about the annual fundraiser. "Its just fun. A lot of times at a fuel stop there will be race fans that come out and want to see the bikes and donate to the charity. It's pretty cool."
Petty said that the bikes that are part of the charity ride will start to unload in Lake Placid on Wednesday, May 5, with the riders to follow.
"People will start coming on Thursday and Friday, so there will be a lot of bikes in town," Petty said. "The people that ride are the greatest people in the world. They give a week of their time and it is for a good cause."
Bringing the ride to Lake Placid had a lot to do with his friends in racing, including Geoff Bodine, who had held recently an annual bobsledding event at Mount Van Hoevenberg.
"A group that goes on the ride with us every year, including Geoff, had been up there for that and they just kept raving about how nice Lake Placid was," Petty said.
The Ride for Charity started as a unique way for NASCAR drivers and crew members to return to their race shops in North Carolina after an annual race in California.
"There was a group that came with the idea after one of the California races to ride from there back to North Carolina," Petty said. "When we started, we just raised money for different children's charities and children's hospitals."
Now, the majority of the funds go to the Victory Junction Camp, a camp founded by the Petty's to honor the memory of Adam Petty, who was killed in a racing accident 11 years ago.
"Adam started racing when he was 12 or so messing with go-karts and started moving up just like the guys at the local tracks there," Petty said. "We had talked about doing something after the accident. We had been to a camp on one of our charity rides. We had talked about how cool it would be to have something like that and the camp tied into everything else that we were doing."
Petty said that the camp fit in with the causes that Adam was championing before his death.
"He was doing a lot with Sprint to connect children's hospitals together, and it all tied into the stuff that we were doing and the stuff that he was doing," Petty said.
Petty said that he was looking forward to the ride, and that people would know when the group of 175 bikers was leaving Lake Placid.
"By that time on Saturday, they might be happy to see us go," he joked. "They will hear us, though."