1/24/2014 - Hurley Haywood Honored With RRDC's 2014 Phil Hill Award
Right: Hurley Haywood (left) and Bobby Rahal. Photo by Brian Cleary
Daytona Beach, FL -- A trio of motorsport veterans received awards last week during the annual dinner of the Road Racing Drivers Club traditionally held here at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
"When Bobby (RRDC President Rahal) called me up and told me I was going to get the Phil Hill Award, I was really shocked," said Hurley Haywood. "Any time you can be mentioned in the same sentence with Phil Hill is something very special."
"Phil Hill was an icon in this sport," said Haywood as he accepted the award from Rahal. "He won Le Mans three times, and was a Formula 1 champion. He was just a class act. If all of us mimicked what Phil Hill was all about, we'd all have a wonderful life. So, thank you very much."
Haywood should not have been too surprised given his career accomplishments, which include winning more endurance racing classics than any other driver in motorsports history. The Chicago native now living in St. Augustine is a five-time winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, three-time champion of the 24 Hours of Le Mans - the same as Hill - and twice winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Haywood, v.p. of Brumos Porsche in Jacksonville, FL and chief driving instructor for the Porsche Sport Driving School and Brumos Driving Experience, is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the Sebring Hall of Fame and Watkins Glen's "Legends of the Glen."
The Phil Hill Award is presented annually by the RRDC to a person considered to have rendered outstanding service to road racing. The recipient may be a driver, entrant or outstanding member of a sanctioning body.
Haywood was not the only honoree. Lawrence Loshak has known since the 2013 SCCA National Championships at Road America that he had been voted by a panel of RRDC members as winner of the Mark Donohue Award for the most outstanding drive of the "Runoffs." But when he stood as the honoree among the gathering of RRDC members at the Daytona dinner, he felt the full impact of his accomplishment.
"To be here tonight meeting people that I've always read about, always idolized, is pretty overwhelming," said the 36-year-old Wisconsin native, now a four-time SCCA National Champion.
What did Loshak do to gather this honor? Although he'd claimed pole position in Formula 1000 at the National Runoffs, a misinterpretation of the schedule caused him to arrive late to the grid, and he was relegated to the rear. Loshak passed 16 cars on the first lap in the rain, then went on to win the race.
Bob Akin Award
Lastly, Peter Sachs was named the recipient of the 2013 Bob Akin Award, conceived to honor the memory of longtime RRDC member and past president Bob Akin, who lost his life in a 2002 racing accident and is considered the top award in motorsports for amateur, vintage/historic or semi-professional drivers.
Sachs, retired from both work and racing for several years, said, "I am overcome by this. About 56 years ago when I was a freshman in college before I started gymkhanas, one summer I went to see some friends in the Midwest and we drove up to this place called Elkhart Lake to see the SCCA June Sprints. "I got into the Cunningham garage and there was a helmet on the bench and I said to one of the kids working for Momo, 'What's that?' 'That's Mr. Hansgen's helmet - don't touch it,' he replied. I was not about to touch Walt Hansgen's helmet, but on the front of it was this symbol that a lot of us are wearing on our lapels tonight. 'What's that emblem on the front of his helmet?' I asked. And he said, 'That's the Road Racing Drivers Club and only the best drivers in the country can join that'."
Sachs, who has spent more than two decades building The Klemantaski Collection into one of the world's finest collections of historic motorsports photography, said, "I hope in the years to come I'm still doing the things which make me a worthy recipient of this award and to live up to the challenge in the future."