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An hour alone with Paul Newman

1 year ago

Writer:

Gavin Conway | Journalist

Date:

1 May 2021

Never meet your heroes? Maybe this time would be okay. I was in California to interview the co-owner of the Newman-Haas Racing team, one Paul Leonard Newman, almost 20 years ago. It was something of a sausage factory event, a literal queue of hacks with no more than 15 minutes with Mr. Newman.

His publicist was overly tanned with too much hair product and Aviators worn indoors. The rules were simple – no questions about movies or Newman’s remarkable blue eyes. He added that all of us would be sent packing if just one broke the rules. One did. A guy from a bottom-feeding tabloid. Publicist said, ‘we’re done, everybody out!’

I was devastated, dreading even the thought of telling my editor at Autocar I’d flown halfway around the world to not interview Paul Newman. With little less to lose I decided I’d just turn up at the team motorhome the following morning and chance it.

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