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Reviewing the Hurley Haywood Documentary

If you are a long-time sportscar fan, you have heard of Hurley Haywood. After all, he was able to be victorious multiple times in the 24 Hours of Daytona, before winning the 24 Hours of LeMan. For that reason, it is no surprise that Derek Dodge and Patrick Dempsey collaborated together with a team to tell his story. 

Those involved with the project got it right, by showcasing the prestige of Daytona through the partnership between Dempsey, Wright Motorsports, Brumos Porsche, and Haywood as they intertwined the story throughout. It allowed the viewer to get a look behind the scenes the preparations for the race, while getting to know Haywood through the stories and how he helped the team that weekend.

As a result, it also gave the connection to the younger generation of fans who may not be aware of Haywood’s success and connection to the sport’s history. It allowed everyone involved to keep the content fresh, and show how racing is in some ways still the same today despite how much technology has changed. This was displayed in Haywood’s ability to offer advice to Dempsey and others on the race team, just like Peter Gregg helped manage him in the first few stages of his career. As a result, it offers another way for fans young and old watching together to relate. 

There are also the discussions, whether in today’s age or before, in how to make it at the top of Motorsports, you need to sacrifice everything while making sure to chase perfection at every step. Haywood makes sure to tell the viewer it all, from the highs of success, to the lows including the friendship breakdown between himself and Gregg. 

Whether you were a fan of Haywood, or you are becoming aware of who he is, the movie has something to offer everyone. Haywood shared stories that had never been told before, dating back to when he was growing up. Through everything, there’s nothing held back as he makes sure to tell the viewer it all, from the highs of success, to the lows including the friendship breakdown between himself and Gregg. 

Ultimately, the differing perspectives offered from Gregg’s story, to Haywood’s, to even how Dempsey has lived his life from actor to racer, display the ability to march to your own drum – but also known as racers for their accomplishments. 

The biggest thing with the movie, though, is it goes beyond a simple documentary in speaking of a driver. The story telling brings forth a whole new dimension that non-racing fans can get behind, with the candidness from everyone involved on other subjects like the LGBT community, mental health, and suicide.

The movie branches into many different aspects about Hurley and being gay, including not mixing “business with pleasure” due to how being gay was viewed at the height of his career, to possibly how the stereotypes have changed since then. It also asks the important questions, like “If Haywood came out and said he was gay, would his career been over back then?”

Everything is able to come off well, and with an impact, thanks to the candidness by Haywood, and others with their interviews and sharing their inner most thoughts with the world to see. There were certain comments that will catch your eye, such as Steve Hill “never being acknowledged as Hurley’s partner, and that’s a shame,” simply due to the fact that “being gay was not accepted as it is today” at that time. 

“The moments I was most disappointed was when he won the race,” Haywood’s partner Hill revealed. “I knew if I was a woman, his wife, I would’ve been carried out there on the car.”

While certainly a tribute to a great career, the piece will go beyond that in how it makes you think about these topics. As Haywood told POPULAR SPEED, “All of the feedback that I get from people that have seen the film is that each person takes something a little different from it, and applies to their own lives and family. I think that’s really a testimony to the strength and power of a film that’s well done.”

For fans interested in the documentary, they can learn more at http://www.hurleyhaywood.com

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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ASHLEY ASKS…… Patrick Dempsey

As much as Patrick Dempsey is known for his acting, he has also made himself known as a great racecar driver behind the wheel. He recently combined his passions, working as the executive producer for the feature documentary “Hurley,” telling the story of Hurley Haywood. 

In the film, Haywood spoke about his success in racing, though also touched upon other sensitive subjects in his life, ranging being gay to Peter Gregg’s suicide. The film was completed last year, and is being released to the public through 2019. You can learn more about the film through it’s website at https://www.hurleyhaywood.com/

Recently, POPULAR SPEED got the chance to speak with Dempsey after viewing the film, to talk about the contents as well as his own racing career.

POPULAR SPEED: What was it like for you to work on the movie with Hurley?

PATRICK DEMPSEY: Oh, it was great. The initial discussion happened in 2013. Derek Dodge, our director, had come to LeMans to do social media for me and was shooting a bunch of stuff there around the track during the course of the race. At that point, he was introduced to Hurley and heard a little bit about his story, and he approached me at the end of the 24 Hour race asking if I’d be supportive if he could do a film about Hurley’s life in motorsports, and his personal life. I was like, ‘If Hurley is wanting to do something like that, I’m more than willing to support you with that,’ and that’s how it began.

I really liked it. I like documentaries anyway, so for me, I really want to do a lot more of these. I learned a lot through this process in the four years. The world was a different place four years ago than it is today, and I think the story is a pro-founding impact on many levels. Certainly we’re dealing with the LGBQ community and then also mental health, as well. There’s two big issues in the documentary that we tackle.

PS: One of the things that they connected the documentary with was your experience in running the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with the Brumos colors. What was that experience like for you?

PATRICK: Growing up, I’ve always been a big fan of motorsports. So that livery in particular is something that is iconic. To be able to race that for me was a personal accomplishment. Then to be that close with Hurley and really as my coach, he really helped me tremendously in my racing career with the feedback that he gave me and the support, and it was really exciting. We had a good result. It was a tough race. We had a lot of technical problems early on, but we battled back and he was there the whole time. That was a great experience to be apart of that.

Jerry Markland | Getty Images North America

PS: With everything that you put in the documentary, what are you looking for people to take away from it?

PATRICK: Well, I hope people that love the sport learn a little something new about it, and certainly learn more about Hurley. He’s such a kind, open rockstar in so many ways. He really opens himself up, and expresses himself in a beautiful way, and it was nice to be apart of that and support him in that. For people who don’t understand racing. I hope they come away with a new sense of appreciation for the sport that I love so much.

PS: For you, yourself, how did your interest in racing develop?

PATRICK: I always loved racing since I was a little kid. My dad was a team owner in short track in the south when I was growing up, and then he moved to Maine, but he always had this real passion for motorsports. That was something that was very important in my upbringing. I didn’t really get started in racing till much later in life. I didn’t start racing until I was in my 30’s, and then through my 40’s, I raced pretty much full time.

So I love ski racing, cycling, and car racing – those are my big sports, and to be able to go do that was a dream come true. And certainly to race at Daytona, which is an incredible event, and LeMans, and then doing the full season in the WEC for me was a dream come true. Now to be able to do films about the sport – the documentary, as well as the art of racing in the rain – it’s nice to have that perspective and hopefully tell more stories within the racing world.

TVLine

PS: Now in making that switch to focus on racing, you gave up a lot of acting stuff, and a critical role with Grey’s Anatomy in playing Dr. Derek Shepherd. Was that a tough decision to make?

PATRICK: At the time, it wasn’t difficult at all because I knew I had an opportunity to where I had a full ride with Porsche to race an entire season in the WEC. I was 49 at the time, so I knew I had a limited time in my career and this was an opportunity for me to do that. In order to be successful, you need to commit 100%, and I was really happy to do that. For me, it has been live changing to be able to have this experience.

PS: You’ve done a lot of different endurance races, but is there anything on the bucket list that you still want to do?

PATRICK: I wish I had done Bathurst; I missed that opportunity. That was one of the races that I would’ve really like to have done. It’s really challenging, really tough circuit. I don’t think I’ll be able to do that now, but I’ll do some sprint races and do some vintage racing and stuff like that. But for me, endurance racing, I achieved what I wanted to in the sport. I still have a team in the WEC. We won at Sebring, and now our next race is at Spa and then back to LeMans.

So I’m still very active in the sport, and very active with Porsche, and I hope I can continue to do that in a way that I can have my home life; I’ve got three children that I want to be around, and in racing, as we talk about in the documentary, it’s a big sacrifice on one’s family because you’re on the road so much. So I’m trying to find a balance to where I’m maintaining my career as an actor and producer, but as well as a father and a husband, and then when I can, keep the racing active as well.

Photo by Michael Tullberg | Getty Images

PS: For other young people getting their start in racing, what is your advice for them based on your experience?

PATRICK: Karting is a great way to get started, and then move up from there. There’s so many great series. Even if you’re older and want to get into it, you want to get into a proper school, learn the technique. For me, if I was a young man starting over, I’d really focus on Porsche. The SuperCup would be my objective as a young driver to shoot for and travel and race in Europe, although there’s some incredible series here in America as well.

One of our goals is to really start to develop a young driver program to bring young American drivers over to Europe and give them a ride with Porsche. That’s something that we’re working towards, and what we’ve done this year in the WEC is we have two really strong young drivers that have done an incredible job that we’d like to continue to develop.

But for me, my best advice would be to start karting. That’s a great way to get started. You’re seeing a lot of young drivers in Formula 1 that started at age five, and they had a real passion for it and worked their way up. Not everybody can do that, but it’s a great way to start.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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News

ASHLEY ASKS…… Hurley Haywood

With victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and 24 Hours of LeMans, Hurley Haywood will easily go down in motorsports history as one of the best endurance racers, ever. Collaborating with director Derek Dodge and executive producer Patrick Dempsey, everything is now captured on film for the fans to see.

Through creating the feature documentary “Hurley,” Haywood spoke about his success in racing, though also touched upon other sensitive subjects in his life, ranging being gay to Peter Gregg’s suicide. The film was completed last year, with intentions of being released to the public in the near future. You can learn more about the film through it’s website at https://www.hurleyhaywood.com/

Recently, POPULAR SPEED got the chance to speak with Haywood after viewing the film, to talk about the contents as well as his racing career.

POPULAR SPEED: What was the experience like for you in doing the film?

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HURLEY HAYWOOD: It was a learning process. We divulged into some really sensitive programs – suicide, and the LGBT Community. Patrick Dempsey was a part of bringing this whole thing today, and the film director – Derek Dodge was also really great. It was not easy to talk about these subjects, and he was really sensitive in how he got me to talk about these problems.

I think the end result was very positive. All of the feedback that I get from people that have seen the film is that they each person takes something a little different from it, and applies to their own lives and family. I think that’s really a testimony to the strength and power of a film that’s well done.

PS: One of questions that came up was whether it’d be openly acceptable by everyone to see a gay racing driver. Do you ever see that happening with how the culture is continuing to change?

HURLEY: Well, you have to remember, I think the industry knew that I was gay back in the 70’s, so it has not interfered with my progress over 40 years of racing. But I think what I am hoping is it doesn’t matter if you’re a racing driver, or whatever sport that you’re in, that it’d be easier to make a statement and come out.

I think in the professional sports world, you’re seeing people from tennis to football, from basketball, baseball – all these people are coming out and saying, ‘Yeah, I’m gay. I’m at the top of the my sport and you’re just going to have to accept that’. I think that American in general is becoming more accepting of this lifestyle. Who would’ve dreamed that 10 years ago gay marriage would be acceptable and approved by the supreme court?

So, we’re moving forward and there are barriers that you still have to knock down, but I think part of the message in the film is if there’s a barrier in front of you, you want to knock it down or at least attempt to knock it down. If that barrier is not allowing you to move forward, than that’s a bad thing. To knock down the barrier, instead of using your fist and power, use a gentle touch and I think that people will find that barriers fall easier when you gently try to knock it down than brutal force to knock it down.

PS: For everyone that is going to tune into the film, what do you want them to take away from it?

HURLEY: I think communication is one of the keys, regardless of what subject you’re talking about. You have to have dialogue as nothing gets done without that. If you have that dialogue in a gentle manner, I think the end result will be much better, rather than having that dialogue only one-sided, and yelling at your opponent. I’m hoping that people can take away that you can very strong and powerful, but also very gentle at the same time in doing that. I think that everybody can take away that part of the film and apply that to their lives on a personal basis.

PS: It was neat in how they intertwined your experience at the Rolex 24 with Patrick Dempsey. What was it like returning to the event involved with the team carrying the Brumos colors?

HURLEY: Well, it was great. I was one of the co-owners of Brumos so being able to have Patrick Dempsey as part of our team, that was really great for us and for him. There was a certain standard of excellence that we expected everybody to meet, and Patrick certainly did that. He was a real asset to the team, and I was sort of a little jealous of Patrick.

When we would do the autograph sessions, I would have A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and myself sitting at one table, and there may be 10, 15 people waiting for an autograph. You’d look down the line to Patrick’s table, and there’d be 100 people waiting. So he’s a powerful guy, and has a very good public image, and everybody wants to meet and touch Patrick, and Patrick is so good with his fans. Regardless of who you are, he always has time to talk to you.

PS: You were able to have a lot of success in your career. Is there a single win that stands out above the rest?

HURLEY: I think the win that Peter and I had in 1973 at Daytona, and then we backed that up by winning the 12 Hours of Sebring. Those two races really set the tone for the rest of my career and put me in the light on the European side. So I was racing for Porsche, but that opened the eyes to who I was. They watched me for a few years, and then they asked me to become a member of the team in 1977.

I not only won Daytona in 1977, but also won at LeMans in the 24 Hours of LeMans. That was my first time at LeMans, first-time winner, and that was special. It’s really wonderful to be associated one manufacture your whole entire career, and that’s now turned into business opportunities for me. I’m still working for Porsche and still representing them as an ambassador.

PS: Is there anything that you didn’t get to do through your career that you wish you were able to?

HURLEY: Well, I would have liked to have won the Daytona 500, and I would have liked to have won the Indy 500. Those are such big races that it would’ve been wonderful to put those in my cap. But I won Daytona, Sebring, and LeMans numerous times, so I’m happy with it.

PS: From your experience, what would your advice to be a youngster getting into racing today?

HURLEY: Don’t let anybody say no. Just push through whatever obstacle is in front of you. Never give up. Everybody has a dream, and regardless of how crazy that dream may be, if you try hard enough to make it come true, chances are it will.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.