After last Saturday’s Nationwide race, winner Kyle Busch, NASCAR’s current bad boy pledged $100,000 to Sam Ard. Kyle by winning the race tied two-time NASCAR Busch Series (Called at first Late Model Sportsman Series) champion Sam Ard’s record for most wins in a season with 10. Sam suffers from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Kyle has earned his bad boy reputation this year but showed another side.
Another former(?) bad boy Kevin Harvick also made a donation by giving Sam the van that was used in the Shell fuels commercial. There has also been an auction setup through the NASCAR Foundation to benefit Sam Ard. You can find the auction at: http://foundation.nascar.com/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=925&srcid=925
Items in the auction include autographed race worn uniforms from many drivers including Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, Jimmy Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, Ron Hornaday Jr., Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, and others.
There is also a care fund setup for Sam where you can send donations at:
Sam Ard Care Fund
PO Box 1089
Lake City, SC 29560
While many successful drivers today are considered rich in big houses, Sam lives with his wife in a mobile home. NASCAR has come under fire the past few years for its lack of pension plan or benefits as drivers and crew members are viewed as “independent contractors.”
For those that do not know Sam Ard, he was one of the early legends of what is now the Nationwide series. Racing in just three seasons (1982-1984) Sam earned 22 wins, 24 poles, 67 top-five and 80 top-10 finishes. In 1983 he had 10 wins and was series champion in 1983 and 1984, second place in 1982. He had four consecutive wins during the 1983 season. All but one race (Chevy) was in an oldsmobile. Sam had five wins at Martinsville which is remarkable for such a short career in the series. Born February 14, 1939 in South Carolina where he still lives. In 1984 he won the series championship even though he missed the last race of the season and was age 45. His career was ended after a terrible crash at Rockingham that season. He had one start in the Cup series. He also was a crew chief with several drivers including Jimmy Hensley. Sam competed against other greats of the series including Jack Ingram, Butch Lindley, Tommy Houston. While only three seasons in NASCAR Sam is still considered one of the greatest of the series.