While tracks are closing their gates to fans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, that is not stopping one fan from raising Autism Awareness in the NASCAR community and abroad.
Sammy Wilson, otherwise known as “NASCAR Sammy” announced on social media on Thursday that he will hit the road for 7 days next month on a “Positivity Tour” to help raise awareness for Autism.
The 18-year-old plans to visit a new track every day across the mid-west including Michigan, Kansas, Chicagoland, and Eldora.
I’m so excited to announce that next month, I’m taking off on my “Positivity Tour“!
I’ll be spreading #AutismAwareness wherever I go.
Special thanks to @KyleBusch @marcuslemonis @CampingWorld @ToyotaRacing #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/TXIUDl3pZq
— NASCAR Sammy (@NASCARSammy) September 16, 2020
NASCAR Sammy was thrilled to share his idea with the world and is eager to hit the road next month.
“I think it is a good idea to help people learn about the autism spectrum,” he said. “Many people have their own idea of what an autistic person is like, but the truth is that we are all different .”
Sammy has been an advocate for Autism Awareness for a few years and has caught the attention of many drivers, owners, and sponsors. Prior to the pandemic, Sammy often visited NASCAR tracks with a special “Autism Awareness” sign. He would ask for a photo with drivers and celebrities and they would hold the sign – showing their support for Autism Awareness.
His mission to spread awareness has even caught the attention of his favorite driver – Kyle Busch and Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis.
Lemonis ran a contest on Twitter back in April where users can tweet for their chance to win a brand new Camping World RV. The CEO was moved by Sammy’s mission and gifted him with a brand new RV.
Because #AutismAwareness is paramount and @autismspeaks has long been a friend…. @NASCARSammy you are the winner of a brand new 2020 @CampingWorld #rvgiveaway ..: keep doing good things for the world @NASCAR https://t.co/RvvQSSBRHE
— Marcus Lemonis (@marcuslemonis) April 25, 2020
Fast forward to September, and Sammy had gotten his driver’s license. He needed a vehicle to pull his RV to begin spreading his message across the country. Enter Kyle Busch and his partner Toyota, who gifted the 18-year-old with a brand new Toyota 4Runner.
Hey @NASCARSammy, I saw @marcuslemonis hooked u up with a camper. Well, I wanted to help u spread your message about Autism Awareness and I have some connections @toyotaracing to help tow your camper. pic.twitter.com/Dx4Uo9yXoV
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) September 2, 2020
The gifts from Busch and Lemonis brought the idea together for a “Positivity Tour” – one of the many ideas that his parents, Jennifer and Dan, have helped kickoff for Sammy.
“We helped him start NASCARSammy.com. , and he already had the Twitter page,” his parents told TobyChristie.com. “He thought giving away some things might help bring attention. And it has. Now people send him things to give away.”
To help gain followers on Twitter, Sammy has been conducting giveaways of NASCAR merchandise, hero cards, among other prizes to help spread his message far and wide.
His parents admit that at first, their son was not comfortable talking about his diagnosis or even sharing the condition with other people.
“One day, his Dad told him, it wasn’t a secret and people would like him with autism or without autism,” Jennifer said.
His parents introduced him to NASCAR at a young age, and love grew to a new level in 2016.
After a hospitalization, his parents wanted to lift his spirits by taking him to Chicagoland for a race. That same weekend, he met his hero, Kyle Busch – an occurrence that led him all the way to the Championship stage in Miami when Rowdy hoisted his second Cup championship in 2019.
His parents credit the NASCAR social community for being so welcoming of Sammy, and of course, are incredibly proud of their son’s mission.
“We are so proud to have a son who considers how he might be able to help others, like himself, step out of their comfort zone and try something new,” they said. “We are here to help him move his program forward in any way we can.”
Recently, Sammy and his family have commissioned a set of decals raising Austin Awareness that can be purchased from his website to put towards future endeavors.
DECALS ARE HERE!
I’m selling them for $7.50 each. This will fund my custom #AutismAwareness items for my “Positivity Tour”.
Go to https://t.co/HMAiwaZMZ4, scroll down to the Decal Donation tab, & enter the amount for your decals desired.
They are 4 x 6. Thanks! pic.twitter.com/FJAAet9Dpu
— NASCAR Sammy (@NASCARSammy) September 17, 2020
Sammy hopes to meet with the owners of each track during his Positivity Tour next month and will roll across state borders in style thanks to Kyle Busch, Marcus Lemonis, and his social media following that has endorsed his mission.