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Tim Richmond featured Tuesday night in ESPN's '30 for 30'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 14, 2010)—Former NASCAR driver Tim Richmond, a star of the sport before his death from AIDS in 1989, will be the subject of a documentary airing on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN as part of ESPN Films’ critically acclaimed film series “30 for 30” presented by Cadillac.

“Tim Richmond: To the Limit,” produced for ESPN by the NASCAR Media Group and directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Rory Karpf, tells the story of Richmond with the words of many who knew him well and some who competed against him on the track. Former NASCAR drivers Darrell Waltrip and Richard and Kyle Petty, champion team owner Rick Hendrick, movie director Hal Needham, famed racing promoter H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, ESPN reporters Dr. Jerry Punch and Ed Hinton, Richmond’s sister Sandy Welsh and friends from his hometown of Ashland, Ohio, are among those appearing in the film.
In the 1980s, Richmond lived his life the way he raced cars—wide open. Born into a wealthy family, Richmond was the antithesis of the Southern, blue-collar racers who dominated NASCAR. He also was a flamboyant showman who basked in the attention of the media and fans—especially the attention of female admirers. Nevertheless, it was Richmond’s on-track performances that ended up drawing comparisons to racing legends. And in 1986, when he won seven NASCAR races and finished third in the Winston Cup series points race, some believed he was on the verge of stardom. But soon his freewheeling lifestyle caught up to him. He unexpectedly withdrew from the NASCAR racing circuit, reportedly suffering from double pneumonia. In reality, the diagnosis was much more dire: he had AIDS. Richmond returned to the track in 1987, winning at Pocono in his comeback race, but he was gone from the sport by the next year as his health deteriorated. He spent his final days as a recluse, dying on Aug. 13, 1989, at the age of 34.

The film takes viewers back to the time of Richmond’s illness and death, an era when AIDS created near-hysteria around the world, and those who had the disease were shunned. Former Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, speaks in the film about the time and Punch, a physician, relates that in the medical world, there was still much to be learned about AIDS.

For more information on this film and others within the “30 for 30” series, please click here. Select films from the “30 for 30” series are available for purchase on iTunes the day following air. Additional films are available for purchase at amazon.com.