Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen Marks 40th Anniversary of Haywood's First Victory
By: WGI Staff on 6/2/2009
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen takes the green flag at 2:15 p.m. Saturday, running on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International long course. The event will be covered live on SPEED from 2 – 4 p.m. (ET), resuming from 6-8:30 p.m.
Haywood made his professional debut in the Brumos Racing No. 59 Porsche 911S, co-driving with Peter Gregg in the 1969 Six Hours of the Glen, part of the International Championship for Manufacturers. Getting cleared to drive proved to be a hurdle for Haywood, who impressed Gregg with his performance at an autocross in Jacksonville, Fla.
“First, I got a NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) license,” Haywood said. “Once I got that, I applied for a Grade B FIA license, which they issued me, and I went to Watkins Glen with a bona-fide FIA license. The SCCA guys were really upset, but Peter said not to worry, we’ll be OK. Then we went on to win our class.”
Brian Redman and Jo Sifferent won overall in a Porsche 908 Spyder, with the Brumos car placing eighth and winning the Grand Touring 2000 class.
“It seems like yesterday, really,” said the semi-retired Haywood, who now drives in only the endurance races on the Rolex Series schedule. “It’s unbelievable that this is the 40th anniversary.”
Haywood was drafted shortly after the race and saw service in Vietnam. Upon his return, he was welcomed back to Brumos, and has had a home there ever since. He’s also had a home at Watkins Glen. He has nine victories there – most in the 61-year history of the circuit – and is a six-time class winner in the Six Hours. In addition to 1969, Haywood and Gregg also teamed to win the event in 1974 and 1976, while Haywood partnered with Bob Hagestad in 1975 and 1977. His most recent victory was the 1996 Watkins Glen International revival of the classic, joining Tom Hessert to win the GTS-2 class.
Haywood and Gregg also won the Glen’s first IMSA Camel GT race in 1972, and he scored solo triumphs in the IMSA Bridgestone Supercar Championship in 1991-1992, driving Brumos Porsche 911 Turbos.
“Watkins Glen is very special for me,” Haywood said. “It’s the place where I won my first professional race. I love that area and I love the track. I’ve stayed at the same hotel – the same room – at the Glen Motor Inn for 40 years. It’s a real homecoming for me. I’ve always loved The Glen, and I’ve had pretty good success there. Hopefully, we can use a little bit of that luck there this weekend and get the 59 car up on the podium.”
Haywood’s most recent race was the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona, where he joined France, Barbosa and Terry Borcheller in a third-place finish. The team’s No. 58 car – driven by David Donohue, Darren Law, Antonio Garcia and Buddy Rice – won the event in the closest contested finish (.167 seconds) of a major international 24-hour race.
Tickets for the entire 2009 season at Watkins Glen International are on sale now! The season kicks-off with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend, June 5-6, featuring the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, KONI Challenge, and NASCAR Camping World Series East. Weekend tickets are only $35 and general admission for kids 12 and under is FREE when accompanied by an adult. For tickets and information, please contact the WGI ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen website at www.TheGlen.com. Tickets, gift certificates and track merchandise can be all purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen, Open Monday-Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4, Closed Sunday; 607-535-2338.