JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 28, 2003) --Three decades ago Hurley Haywood was the new kid, just home, fresh from a tour in Vietnam. One weekend he entered a local autocross. To Hurley it was all for fun, a little entertainment but he beat the local...
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 28, 2003) --Three decades ago Hurley Haywood was the new kid, just home, fresh from a tour in Vietnam. One weekend he entered a local autocross. To Hurley it was all for fun, a little entertainment but he beat the local hot shoe and Porsche dealer Peter Gregg. The ex-US Naval Intelligence officer was an astute businessman, a potent racer and had a good eye for driving talent. He told Haywood, "If you can beat me you must be good."
Soon Hurley became Peter Gregg's co-driver and racing apprentice. Together they swept the early years of the Camel GT Championship:
"They were known as Batman and Robin." said Brumos CEO Bob Snodgrass who was also there at the beginning. "Peter was the mentor and master, Hurley the disciple, and he learned very fast.
"We discovered they even shared a birthday: May 4th. Some people still find that a bit too much of a coincidence."
This weekend Haywood approaches another birthday at another racecourse. Now, he finds himself in the role of grand master with five victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, three wins at Le Mans plus plenty of road racing championships on his resume and a new apprentice with a famous last name.
"JC (France) has learned fast." expressed Haywood after their win in the Nextel Grand Prix of Miami just two months ago. It was the second race of the 2003 Rolex Series season and the first overall victory for a Daytona Prototype. It was a close fender-to-fender victory hard won in the brutal heat and humidity of south Florida. "JC drove the middle stint in the worst heat of the afternoon. When he gave me back the car we were still in first place. We expect Phoenix to be another oven, for a while anyway. But at least we race into the night."
The AJ's Fine Foods 250 round, third race of the 2003 Rolex Sports Car Series, is doubly unique. "We race into the dark on the shortest and slowest race track we visit this season. Eleven turns in just a mile and a half; only about a minute per lap. There's not much time to relax. Phoenix is very physical and we spend a lot of time driving into the setting sun. Thankfully they built the grandstand and suites in 'NASCAR One' since '93, the last time I raced here, so there's some relief from the glare."
A victory Saturday night at the AJ's Fine Foods 250 would be a fine birthday present for Haywood. It would also solidify his position as points leader in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship.
"I hope JC and I both get birthday wins." said Haywood, "Mine is Sunday. JC' s is on the weekend of the Daytona Finale in November. That's usually the championship decider. Of course, Mike Borkowski (co-driver of the Brumos #58 Red Bull-sponsor car with David Donohue) has a birthday just two days after mine."
Tickets are currently on sale for the AJ's Fine Foods 250 at Phoenix International Raceway, Saturday, May 3, as well as the Grand-Am Cup Series UnitedAuto 200 on Friday, May 2. Tickets can be purchased online at www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com.
The AJ's Fine Foods 250 from Phoenix International Raceway will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel at 9:00 p.m. EDT, Saturday, May 3rd.
Additional information on the Rolex Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.