NASCAR fan, mother and Lucky Shopper educates women about risk of heart disease

Modesto, Calif. (June 19, 2013)—On Sunday, June 23, heart transplant survivor Nicole Ludwig will fulfill a life-long dream when she drops the green flag from the starter’s tower at the 25th Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. The 43-year-old Danville, California resident was selected by Save Mart Supermarkets to represent their BEAT campaign, a year-long initiative with the goal of raising over $400,000 for the American Heart Association (AHA)—([link no longer available]). Ludwig is a wife, mother, and car enthusiast.

What: 25th Toyota/Save Mart 350 Pre-Race Ceremonies

When: 10:15 am Pre-race ceremonies, Noon flag drops, race starts

Where: Sonoma Raceway

Press Credentials: Contact Diana Brennan (

Interview Ludwig: Available Upon Request – Contact Alicia Rockwell (, 209-985-3765)

In the 1980s, Ludwig’s love of cars turned into a passion for racing, which led her to participate in the Wednesday Night Drags at then-Sears Point Raceway. Now, decades later, she will return to the raceway with her husband, Jim, daughter, Nadia, and a new heart she received in February of 2012.

At age 26, Ludwig was diagnosed with heart disease, and by age 40 she was nearly incapacitated by the symptoms of her rapidly failing heart. In September 2011, after spending 132 days in three different hospitals, she was implanted with a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Heartmate II at Stanford Hospital in an attempt to save her life.

The procedure was successful and allowed Ludwig to focus on getting healthy enough to be put on the donor list for a heart transplant. On February 1, 2012, she was deemed a viable candidate for the operation and on February 26, she received her second chance at life.

Today, Ludwig embraces an active lifestyle which includes swimming and coaching her daughter Nadia’s soccer team. She advocates for heart disease awareness as an ambassador for Thoretec, the makers of the LVAD, and as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association and Save Mart’s BEAT campaign, and she remains an avid racing fan.

About Save Mart Supermarkets

Save Mart Supermarkets, a California corporation, owns and operates 226 stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada under the Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, Maxx Value Foods, and FoodMaxx banners. Headquartered in Modesto, Calif. since the company was founded in 1952, Save Mart Supermarkets has always believed in supporting local suppliers and producers, and is actively engaged with the charities and causes of the communities where its stores do business. For more information on the stores of Save Mart Supermarkets, please visit,, and