Hurley Haywood: Special moment

Moments before Thursday's Brumos 250 at Daytona International Speedway, a white Porsche with simply-stated, red-over-blue side stripes moved to the head of the quiet Rolex Series grid. It was the latest available Porsche street car (already...

Moments before Thursday's Brumos 250 at Daytona International Speedway, a white Porsche with simply-stated, red-over-blue side stripes moved to the head of the quiet Rolex Series grid.

It was the latest available Porsche street car (already sold, actually), especially prepared for the spotlight which had turned toward it.

As it deftly moved as one with the hands caressing its steering wheel, the Speedway's announcer ran through the car's stats: "... 480 h.p. ... 0-60 mph in 3.2-seconds ..."

There was no over-revving engine; no staccato brakes; no moaning wheels or tires -- the Porsche looked to be gliding across the asphalt even though it was moving at barely a couple of miles per hour.

Through all the glowing words used to describe the car, one phrase loomed above the rest: "... and at the wheel with 10 major endurance championship wins ... Hurley Haywood."

Whether a racer or a fan during whatever period of time at all in this sport, one hardly can say the one without the other.

If ever there was a manufacturer's product that fit one person so well, it is "anything" Porsche and Hurley Haywood - hands down.

As Hurley Haywood drove away with a lucky contest winner whose prize was riding shotgun in the new Turbo, Hurley Haywood looked as good as anyone could behind the wheel of that Porsche, despite the years now reflected on a still-young, age-defying face that repeatedly still goes faster than most in the world ever have.

(H.H., please understand that side-by-side 1976 - 2006 pictures of you do show a slight, um, trend.)

For years Hurley Haywood said he'd retire from racing after scoring his sixth Rolex 24 At Daytona - even though he still runs through the gears better than most drivers many, many years his junior.

For years he's maintained his loyalty to a team and organization that has tried its level best to get him there, but hasn't.

For years he's been disappointed because -- for the very simplest as well as the most complex of reasons beyond his control -- he hasn't passed beneath that much-wanted sixth flag.

And it's hurt to see him hurt.

Just this past week, for the umpteenth time, a reporter asked Hurley Haywood if he'd retire should he, in 2007, score his sixth Rolex 24.

"I don't think so," replied Haywood with a wry smile and twinkle in his eye that nearly floored the reporter.

Soon enough all will know the reason why Hurley Haywood is broadly smiling again.

And surely not too long afterward reporters will be asking him, "Will you retire when you get your seventh Rolex 24?"

-- DC Williams, exclusive commentary for Motorsport.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Hurley Haywood
Teams Williams