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Executive to lead Wyandotte County extension of Petty family's camp for ill children

Mike Lepore, a former executive with Wells Fargo Financial, was introduced on Friday as the president of the new Victory Junction Gang Camp for children scheduled to open in Wyandotte County.

The original Victory Junction camp in North Carolina, founded by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie, in honor of their late son, Adam, provides free, year-round, activities for chronically ill children.

The Pettys announced earlier this year they would open a camp in Wyandotte County, and on Friday, Lepore said the search has been narrowed to one of three sites in Wyandotte County.

A final decision could be announced as soon as the July 5 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway, home of International Speedway Corp., owner of Kansas’ Speedway.

A ground-breaking is scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 27-28, when NASCAR Sprint Cup stages the Kansas 400 at Kansas Speedway. The hope is the $40 million facility, funded totally by donations, will open in 2010 or 2011 at the latest.

Lepore already has set up office space at Kansas Speedway.

‘”We see 26 disease groups in North Carolina, and I foresee seeing that many at the camp here, maybe many more,” Pattie Petty said of the original Victory Junction Camp, opened in 2004 on 72 acres outside Randleman, N.C., that were generously donated by NASCAR legend Richard “The King” Petty.

”Maybe we’ll build it bigger, better, faster stronger. With all the people who have come on board, I can’t imagine we won’t.

“I’ve never been to an area where the people are so community oriented as they are in this Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska Midwest area.”

To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send e-mail to rcovitz@kcstar.com.

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