NASCAR driver Robert Richardson Jr. and The ALS Association have partnered together to bring ALS awareness to auto racing fans and to raise funds to fight ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Richardson is the primary driver for R3 Motorsports’, No. 23 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He began his racing career in 2001 driving Legend Cars and has progressively advanced through the ranks of NASCAR to the Daytona 500.
Richardson gives credit to his former McKinney, Texas high school football coach, Billy Whitman, for the ability to incorporate what he learned in football into racing.
Whitman, who died in 2005 due to ALS, taught Richardson to have a never-say no type attitude. “All the competitive fire he put inside of me, I carry it with me every single race,” Richardson said. “Especially before qualifying, I listen to his voice. My car number is 23 because that was coach’s number when he played football. He had 23 tattooed on his arm, so I tattooed it on my car in honor of him.”
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative muscular disease that affects a person’s ability to breathe, eat, move, and swallow. An estimated 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time, and approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. ALS can strike anyone; people with the disease usually have a survival rate of two to five years from the time of their diagnoses.
Richardson has created a website to spread ALS awareness and raise funds to support The ALS Association. NASCAR fans and interested parties can make a donation to the “Drive Away ALS” campaign at www.RobertRichardson.net/als. Anyone who makes a donation to the campaign by February 2 will be entered to win two all-access pit passes to the Daytona 500 on February 26, 2012.
“We are thrilled to work with Robert to raise awareness and funds to fight ALS. This is a great opportunity to spread the word about the need for better treatments, better care, and a cure for this disease,” said ALS Association President and CEO Jane H. Gilbert.