Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman is also the title of the 2015 documentary about Paul Newman from director Adam Carolla. Read the book that inspired the film!
Though he is famous as one of Hollywood's greatest actors, a world-class humanitarian, and the founder of the Newman's Own natural food empire, the late Paul Newman had another intriguing and lesser-known passion: he was an avid, successful, and well-respected car racer and team owner. In Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman, Matt Stone of Motor Trend teams up with Preston Lerner of Automobile magazine to bring you the incredible racing biography of a man whose serious racing days began at an age when many race car drivers contemplate retirement. It is the story of someone who entered the 24 Hours of Daytona at the age of 70 and made his last professional race outing at 82; whose roster of Newman Haas drivers reads like a who's-who of open-wheel racing; and whose interest in cars extended from the likely suspects to old trucks and new hybrids. Newman is also the charming pal who, when a miserably wrecked Ferrari was dropped at his door by the incorrigible prankster Robert Redford, returned the favor by having the car, crushed into a cube, delivered to Redford's living room. The anecdotes, the races, the carsâ??Winning contains them all, adding up to an award-winning and unprecedented look at Paul Newman's racing talent, unwavering conviction, endearing charm, and enduring spirit.
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Paul Newman wasn’t born a car guy. “It all came to me very late in life,” he told Motor Trend magazine in a 1970 interview. “I guess I’ve been interested in sports cars and bikes for about ten or twelve years, but it’s always been kind of Mickey Mouse with me. ” Paul Leonard Newman was born January 26, 1925, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Like so many young actors in the postwar era, he moved to New York to study and pursue his craft. In the early 1950s, he appeared in numerous on- and off-Broadway productions. He made his television debut in 1952 in a futuristic, sci-fi television show called Tales of Tomorrow, and his fi rst movie role came along two years later in a romance/drama titled The Silver Chalice. Newman’s fi rst car was a 1929 Ford Model A. It was followed by a 1937 Packard, for which he paid $150 sometime in the late 1940s. He was married, still living in Ohio, and renting a two-bedroom apartment for the princely sum of $10 per month. After moving to New York, he bought his fi rst of many Volkswagens in 1953. It remained factory stock for the next eight years or so, but then he got the notion to hop it up a bit. He had by then relocated his primary residence to Connecticut with second wife Joanne Woodward (see sidebar) and their growing family. The VW was still serving faithfully, but Newman had grown tired of all the gear shifting required during his commute. It was then that his enthusiasm for high-performance cars began to manifest itself.
“I was complaining to my mechanic about driving the VW back and forth to the theater in New York and my home in Connecticut,” he told Motor Trend. “He said, ‘Why don’t you dump a Porsche engine in it, and you’ll still retain your back seat but have all the power you need. ’ So we dropped in a stock Porsche engine, installed sway bars, Konis [shock absorbers], and Dunlop Super Sports [tires]. The car handled so well that we put in a Porsche Super 90 engine and then put Porsche brakes up front. Later we bored out the Super 90 to 1,800cc and put a hot cam in it. It was a neat little bomb. I guess that was my fi rst so-called hopped-up street machine. ” In a 1976 Saga magazine interview, Newman said, “It’s only partially true that Winning got me interested in racing. I was interested before that, but I hadn’t done anything about it. ”
Here is the story of the side of Paul Newman that most of the world didn’t know-- avid, successful and well respected car racer and team owner. From his racing career, begun in earnest at an age when most race car drivers comtemplate retirement; to the partnership he formed in 1983 with Chicago racing entrepreneur and team owner Carl Haas; to the impressive roster of automobiles he owned, from the Porsches and Ferraris to quirkier modified VWs and Volvos, this book tells the story of an intriguing facet of a man of talent, conviction, and enduring spirit.
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