Kyle Petty doesn't have a NASCAR Sprint Cup ride this season, and he certainly won't be part of the combined Petty/Gillett Evernham organisation.
Nevertheless, the legacy Kyle Petty leaves is likely to be as monumental as that of his father, Richard Petty, a 200-time Cup winner and a seven-time Cup champion.
Kyle Petty's legacy is born of tragedy, not triumph. His son Adam died May 12, 2000 from injuries sustained in a crash during practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kyle Petty refers to his son's death as "Adam's accident". When the accident occurred, Adam was still two months away from his 20th birthday.
As a driver, Adam was to have carried the vaunted Petty banner into the 21st century. Those dreams ended at Loudon.
From the devastating grief of that loss came Victory Junction Gang Camp, which Kyle and wife Pattie Petty established in Adam's memory. Through the camp, which serves children ages 6-16 with chronic and serious illnesses, the Pettys have welcomed thousands of children into their extended family.
For a multitude of reasons, Victory Junction as a concept has resonated throughout the NASCAR community and beyond. The unrelenting commitment of Kyle and Pattie Petty is a powerful magnet, one that attracts significant support from NASCAR's top stars.
A substantial portion of proceeds from Prelude to the Dream, the annual event Tony Stewart hosts at his own Eldora Speedway in Ohio, benefits Victory Junction. In 2008, Stewart presented Petty a check for $1 million after the race. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation donated $600,000 to add a bowling alley to the camp.
NASCAR president Mike Helton put a prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle up for sale at last weekend's Sound & Speed celebration in Nashville. In a live auction benefiting Victory Junction and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Helton's bike brought $30,000 when it was gavelled down at the Wild Horse Saloon.
Money is fuel for the furnace of Petty's vision. He has announced plans for a camp in Kansas City to complement the original facility in Randleman, N.C., though Petty says the floundering economy has slowed progress on the second camp. Ultimately, Petty would like to establish facilities throughout the country.
Though Petty's tenure with his namesake organisation ended last year with his final ride in the #45 Petty Dodge, he doesn't need the cachet of being a full-time Sprint Cup driver to accomplish his goals.