The (Unwritten) Newman Rule

May 11, 2012

The (Unwritten) Newman Rule

May 11, 2012

While enthusiastically welcoming Patrick Dempsey, co-driver Joe Foster and the Dempsey Racing P2 team to the ALMS paddock, the ALMS community may want to note this story.

When the late Paul Newman attended races around the country, there was an unwritten rule in the paddock, quietly understood and politely enforced by all of the teams, sponsors, media, and officials. The rule was simple; Newman wanted no special treatment and asked for none.

He appreciated just being one of the racers. The paddock recognized that Newman was attending as a racer, not a celebrity. The trade out was that there were no autographs or posed photos. A team PR representative discreetly sorted special requests.

As a race fan, SCCA champion driver, and co-owner of the famed Newman Haas team, Newman attended hundreds of races. Well known for his charity work, he frequently provided a PPG Pace car ride as an auction prize for the local race’s charity event.

After taking the auction winners for a spin, he would take waiting sponsors, customers, and guests blessed with a PPG ride card for their own memory lap.

At the conclusion of a 30-minute session here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, then known by its maiden name, Laguna Seca, Newman wheeled his PPG pace car into the paddock. As he toggled off the ignition, he popped the steering wheel with the base of his right hand.

A PPG mechanic asked, “Is everything, OK, Paul?” Newman laughed, “Oh, yeah. I can still get around this place!” Indeed, he could.

We hope that Patrick Dempsey enjoys the fun, friends and racing as well. Welcome aboard, Patrick, Joe and Dempsey Racing.

PHOTOS COURTESY: Mike Levitt. LAT USA

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