Today, Paul Newman died at age 83 and I have a story to share.
Mrs. TINSC and I were at a Michigan 500 CART race at Michigan International Speedway. This was in the old days of the 1990's when they packed in big crowds.
We were living in Illinois at the time and would spend the evening before the race in Battle Creek. In the morning, we'd eat at Bob Evans and then head out to the track where we'd get there early to find a spot on the infield in the 3rd turn. In the 3rd turn, you could see the back straightaway where the cars would whip off of turn 2, duke it out on the straitaway and then hang on for dear life in the 3rd turn.
We always got there early to get our spot and therefore had time to kill. In those years, we always took a walk around the WHOLE track. Michigan Speedway is a 2 mile oval so it's quite a hike to walk the whole thing, but there were always interesting things to see on the infield.
So we're walking around the backside of the pits and this helicopter lands. We didn't think much of it. Then, the door opens and Paul Newman walked out and walked right past us! It happened so fast, he was gone by the time I realized he had just walked past us except for the fact that i was hanging on to Mrs. TINSC. She was just a tad bit weak kneed.
And I'll never forget what Mrs. TINSC said to me: "Wow, Paul Newman! That made the whole day worthwhile!"
At the time, Paul Newman owned a great CART race team with Mario Andretti as his driver. Eventually, both Michael and Mario Andretti would race for Paul Newman.
I know that a lot of people are going to talk about Paul Newman's contribution to hollywood, but I will always be thankful to Paul Newman for his contribution to auto racing.
He was a remarkable man who did some really cool things. Some of those things he did for himself. Other things he did for the less fortunate.
I am thankful for all the years he participated in auto racing and I'm glad I bumped into him once at the speedway.
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