Even as he competed in the inaugural years of the Xfinity Series during the 1980s, Sam Ard was considered a throwback to the sport’s earliest days, proudly proclaiming of his time in the sport: “I used to build my cars, haul ’em to the race track, race ’em, then haul ’em back home.”
A Fighter On and Off the Track
Although Sam Ard competed in only three seasons, he proved to be a master of his time under NASCAR's bright lights.
Sam Ard was a throwback to the sport’s earliest days. He proudly proclaimed of his time in the sport: “I used to build my cars, haul ’em to the race track, race ’em, then haul ’em back home.”
Ard was a master of short tracks across the Southeast and shined in the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Series in the 1970s. But his true brilliance came with the creation of what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Ard finished championship runner-up in the inaugural 1982 season (winning four races) then convincingly answered with back-to-back season championships.
Ard’s 10 wins in 1983 distinguishes him as one of only two drivers in the series history (also Kyle Busch) to win 10 or more in a single season.
The following year Ard won eight more times before suffering a serious injury in the next to last race of the 1984 season. He was forced to retire from driving and focus instead on team ownership.
Ard was named one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers.