Rock bands, bowling balls

March, 29, 2007
FORT MILL, S.C. -- The dateline was supposed to read Randleman, N.C., where Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, unveiled a bowling alley at the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Appropriately, they're calling it Victory Lanes.

It's another worthwhile project in a camp that Pattie and Kyle Petty formed for critically ill children in memory of their son, Adam, who was killed during a practice run at New Hampshire International Speedway in 2000.

Seeing how family is the foundation of the camp, I figured they would understand if I passed on the trip to watch my oldest son and his rock band play in their final talent show at Fort Mill High School.

It was a tough call. Having visited the camp several times, it's easy to see why the NASCAR community has embraced it in a way no other sport has embraced a charitable cause.

The list of donors is too long to mention. It's safe to say hardly a driver that will be in the 43-car field for Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway hasn't made some sort of donation.

Jimmie and Chandra told a group of us about their plans the week before the Daytona 500. I was looking forward to seeing what I'm told is a colorful -- as everything is at the camp -- 5,100-square foot bowling alley with four lanes, a shoe counter, an arcade area and a one-of-a-kind show that allows campers to "retro" bowl at night.

Johnson's foundation committed $600,000 to the project. The experience for the kids, as the commercial says, will be priceless.

It would have been nice to have seen the looks on the faces of those kids as they bowled with the Johnsons and Pettys.

But on this day it was more important for this dad to see the look on his son's face as he played the bass guitar for a group that may never be together again when they complete their senior year in May.

So while I wasn't there to offer all the true color and joy that was experienced in Randleman, I feel secure in saying there never will be losers in Victory Lanes.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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