Kyle Busch’s generosity to a former driver prompted voters to name him the fourth-quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Pocono Spirit Award. Busch was recognized for donating $100,000 to Sam Ard and his family after tying Ard’s single-season victory mark with his 10th win of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season, a win that came at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ard, a two-time series champion, suffers from both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, creating massive medical bills. “Sam Ard is one of the pioneers of this [series], and to be tied with at 10 wins is something that’s pretty spectacular and really, really special to me,’’ Busch said after the win. “I’m going to try to help him out and see what I can do. It’s not much, but it’s something that can try to help.’’
The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is selected by a vote of the NMPA membership. The 2008 overall winner will be announced during the NMPA’s annual convention and awards ceremony in January 2009. Also receiving votes were Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon and NASCAR. Sprint Cup driver Juan Pablo Montoya was the first-quarter winner. Longtime NASCAR photographer T. Taylor Warren was the second-quarter winner, and team owner Richard Childress claimed the third-quarter honor.