Love for winning fueled Newman's passion on the racetrack
Folks often wondered what fueled Paul Newman's passion for auto racing. It was the same thing that made him such a brilliant actor: He loved winning, writes Terry Blount.
- KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Acting was Paul Newman's profession. Auto racing was his passion.Newman died Friday night at age 83. To most of the world, Newman was known as one of our country's most accomplished actors.To the racing world, he was known as a man who truly loved the sport. In fact, he lived for it. He became a respected driver and a successful team owner in Indy-car racing in the second half of his life.People often wondered what it was about racing that captured his heart. It was the same thing that made him a great actor: He loved winning. "His pure joy of winning exemplified the spirit he brought to his life," said longtime racing partner Carl Haas. "That was clear to all those who knew him." Newman was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning one for Best Actor ("The Color of Money") and later being awarded two honorary Oscars. Racing came later in Newman's life. For most of the past four decades, it was the one thing that consistently brought him joy.He didn't just do it for fun. Newman finished second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979. His open-wheel team, which he founded with Haas in 1983, won eight CART/Champ Car championships.Some of the best racers in open-wheel racing history drove for Newman over the years, including Mario and Michael Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Nigel Mansell. Graham Rahal, the son of 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, is the rising star of the team now.Newman saw the sport as his release from the politics and endless hype of the movie business."Racing is the best way I know to get away from the rubbish of Hollywood," he told People magazine in 1979.Newman got the racing bug in 1969 after making the film "Winning" when he played a driver competing in the Indianapolis 500. Newman often said he fell in love with The Brickyard making that movie.He continued his brilliant acting career, but racing gradually took over as the dominant activity in his life. After competing in amateur events for six years, Newman became a professional racer in 1977.He drove and won in sports car road racing, often entering events under the name P.L. Newman, hoping people wouldn't know who he was. That rarely worked, but it showed how racing was an outlet from his public image.When Newman-Haas Racing was born, Newman's association with Haas, a Chicago native who began racing sports cars in 1952, was a partnership that developed into a lasting friendship.[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Seth RossmanCarl Haas, left, on the death of longtime racing team partner Paul Newman: "We've lost a great human being."
Paul Newman: 1925-2008 You probably know all about Paul Newman the actor and philanthropist. To really get the complete picture of the legend who died Friday at age 83, you had to get to know the racer and team owner. John Oreovicz
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[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Bob ChildPaul Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, walk through the paddock area of Connecticut's Lime Rock Park racetrack in 1983.
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