Life in the fast lane; New­man lived life at full throt­tle

The Covington News - - Sports -

It’s not of­ten you re­mem­ber some­thing that hap­pened to you 23 years ago as if were yes­ter­day. Then again, it’s not of­ten you meet some­one like Paul New­man.

In 1985, I had one of the coolest and most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences of my life. At Trans-Am race at what was then called Sears Point In­ter­na­tional Race­way (now named In­fi­neon. Don’t get me started), I met Cool Hand Luke.

At that time, New­man was a Hol­ly­wood icon — a leg­end amongst ac­tors. Other ac­tors of his gen­er­a­tion — Mar­lon Brando, Charl­ton He­ston, James Dean and Steve McQueen to name a few — all car­ried a cer­tain mys­tique. They were the epit­ome of cool. The lat­ter two along with New­man shared a pas­sion for racing. I un­der­stand why.

New­man had an affin­ity for auto racing. He picked up the in­ter­est af­ter his role in the 1969 movie “Winning." The tim­ing was per­fect. The ‘70's and ‘80's were the golden age of auto racing. Sports car racing was huge and Indy Car Racing cap­tured the imagination of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, es­pe­cially each May at Indianapolis. AJ Foyt and Mario An­dretti were true he­roes, not thugs that made a buck through an over­hyped me­dia.

The Can-Am and Trans-Am se­ries fea­tured fac­tory spon­sored cars from all

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