Sam Ash was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was the first and one of the few black drivers to race stock cars in the West Michigan area. Sam had a positive and upbeat personality that endeared him to his fellow racers. His first ride was for William Bigg of Grand Rapids, who owned Bigg’s Standard Station on Wealthy Street SE.
Later, Sam drove for Fat Man’s Fish Fry sponsored stock car owned by Lee Lambert. The team raced at Berlin Raceway, Kalamazoo Speedway, and the Grand Rapids Speedrome.
Sam worked at Liberman and Gittlen Metal Co. in Grand Rapids for 14 years until the time of his death. He drove stock cars for five years, breaking his neck at Berlin Raceway in 1959. He was released from Butterworth Hospital wearing a cast to the waist. Sam went right back to work to care for his family.
Sam Ash was severely burned when an explosion at the foundry left him with burns on 95% of his body. He lived four days and during that time he never complained about his injury. During his hospital stay, Sam was visited by many area race drivers who held him in high esteem.