Cole Custer’s still learning the ropes behind the wheel of a NASCAR XFINITY Series ride but he’s about to pay tribute to one of the greats of the series in September at Darlington Raceway.

The No. 00 Ford Mustang will pay tribute to the driver who made the car number famous in the XFINITY Series in the 1980s, Sam Ard.

Ard posted 22 victories, 67 top-five and 79 top-10 finishes in only 92 career XFINITY Series starts between 1982 and 1984, along with 24 poles and 4,035 laps led en route to back-to-back series championships in 1983 and 84.

On April 2, Ard passed away at age 78, but his legacy continues on track and will be honored with a special paint scheme in the Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 2.

“The 00 number has been a part of my entire NASCAR career, and over the years I’ve gotten to know its history and met some of the people who worked with Sam and saw him race,” Custer said. “The more I learn about Sam and all that he accomplished, the more impressive it becomes. I feel like I’m driving his car, and I want to make him and his family proud. Guys like Sam Ard helped shape the sport into what it is today. Without him, I don’t know if the opportunity to drive race cars for a living would exist. I’m grateful for it and I’d like him and his family to know it.”

Ard was born only a short drive away from Darlington in Pamplico, South Carolina. He competed at Darlington four times in his career, finishing second, twice, and never worse than sixth.

The white paint scheme with red lettering on Ard’s No. 00 Oldsmobile Omega currently sits on display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Check out some images of Custer’s Darlington throwback below.


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