VIR Open House Draws Hundreds of Visitors for a Good Cause

Alton, VA - Martinsville Speedway isn't the only venue hosting race fans in our area this week.

Virginia International Raceway held an open house today -- with food, celebrity guests, and plenty of fast cars.

This year VIR offered patrons a chance to drive their own cars around the track for a small fee.

The proceeds from that and other activities went to Victory Junction, a summer camp for children with chronic illnesses run by former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty.

"This is one of our most revered events of the year, " said Owner Connie Nyholm.

Nyholm says it offers visitors the chance to experience every aspect of the motorsport resort - from the restaurants to the race track.

"We want everyone to come in and see the variety of things we have to offer and have a chance to drive on the historic four course race track, " she said.

Patrons had the option to drive their own cars or ride shotgun with the pros in a high-performance vehicle, and for those who weren't brave enough to get on the track, the on-site spa offered a variety of complimentary services.

"It's a great facility. This is the first time I've been here. It's a lot of fun, a lot of nice cars around...just a good atmosphere to be around, " said visitor Clif Burcham.

For many, the best part was knowing that their donations were making a difference.

"It's been incredibly gratifying to watch these kids grow up, " said Kyle Petty.

Petty represented the camp which has helped more than 17,000 chronically ill children experience the joy of summer camp.

As a driver and humanitarian, Petty saw the event as a true success.

"I've already met two families here whose kids have gone to camp and they're here today to ride around and donate back to camp. So being at VIR today is a good day, " he said.

VIR officials say the event is great for increasing business at the resort, and having the race at the Martinsville Speedway in the same week makes it a win-win for race fans.