I just returned from a good, hot day of SASCA autocrossing, but now I must give pause to recognize the passing of Paul Newman – he was 83. I found out last night while reviewing a quick, but potent e-mail from Greg on the Spokes Mailing List. To quote:
He was a man’s man, a ladies man, and one heck of a driver. SCCA national champ 4 times and last drove competitively at age 81.
And then there are his movies.
Sad day 🙁
Greg’s words sum up all fellow racers’ feelings, as some told me at the autocross today.
I always enjoyed Paul Newman as an actor, but was most impressed by reading about his racing exploits later in life, starting in 1969 at age 43 and enjoying it though age 81 in 2006. It gives me hope, as I’m “later in life”, too.
He was filming the movie “Winning” as an Indy 500 driver and the race bug bit hard. He was inspired to compete at various amateur & later professional level events. He won 4 SCCA championships in the 1970’s and later shinned as a sports car endurance driver in a number of 24 hour racing events.
Here’s an interesting quote about Paul Newman’s comfort level in a racing car:
“I was never a very graceful person. The only time I ever really feel coordinated is when I dance with Joanne,” he once told The Associated Press, referring to his wife, Joanne Woodward. “And that’s not my doing. But when I’m behind the wheel of race car, I feel competent and in charge. It’s something I really enjoy.”
Besides enjoying racing and being co-owner of IndyCar team Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR), he was a philanthropist. Paul Newman helped to start the “Hole in the Wall” camps across the world. These are for children with life-threatening illnesses. He made sure that 100 percent of the profits from his popular food company, Newman’s Own, would continue to benefit such camps and thousands of other charities. Who of you out there hasn’t enjoyed one of his tasty Newman’s Own salad dressings, sauces or other well-made, quality grocery items?
Life goes on, but the world will pause and give recognition to Paul Newman. I think we can all learn something from the way he treated life. It was a full & fulfilling way of living…
Racing Ready will be in black this week in rememberence of Paul Newman.