2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has announced that his eponymous charity foundation has donated $1 million to favourite NASCAR Charity the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Due to open in the summer of 2004 in Randleman, North Carolina, the Victory Junction Gang Camp was founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in memory of their son Adam. The camp is dedicated to creating empowering experiences for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

"I really admire Kyle and Pattie Petty for the people they are and for the work that they do," said Stewart. "The Victory Junction Gang Camp was their idea, and they've done so much to make it happen. The Tony Stewart Foundation is proud to donate $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp so that Kyle and Pattie's dream can soon become reality."

This is Stewart's second major contribution to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, with his first donation having come in 2001 thanks to the collective efforts of Stewart, The Home Depot(R), Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. When Stewart competed in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, he pledged $100 for every lap he completed, with The Home Depot, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing each matching Stewart's donation. And after completing all 600 laps, $240,000 was raised for the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

"I couldn't be more proud of our association with Joe Gibbs and Tony Stewart," said Bob Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO, The Home Depot. "Today's donation exemplifies Tony's strong character and further underscores the values shared by our company and this great champion."

Stewart is now an official founder of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, as his cumulative unrestricted donations have totalled over $1 million. In addition to the Petty family, Stewart joins actor Paul Newman and the Bahre family - owners of New Hampshire International Speedway - as founding members.

Stewart's announcement coincides with the #45 "Hands to Victory" Dodge that Kyle Petty drove in Sunday's Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway. The special paint scheme, designed by renowned motorsports artist Sam Bass, features the handprints of 46 Winston Cup drivers and was conceived to celebrate and recognize the NASCAR drivers who have lent a helping hand to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Die-cast models of the "Hands to Victory" race car, along with additional "Hands to Victory" merchandise such as hats, T-shirts and mouse pads can be found at all 700 Toys 'R' Us retailers, NASCAR.com, the Victory Junction website - www.victoryjunction.org - and at the Petty Enterprises trackside trailer in Rockingham.

Proceeds from the sale of "Hands to Victory" merchandise will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, with various merchandise manufacturers making donations as well. All 46 drivers whose hands appear on the #45 "Hands to Victory" Dodge waived their royalty fees, with that money also going to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.



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