During a six-hour endurance race at Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, Calif., mechanical problems with a new car destroyed any hope of winning — but Paul Newman refused to give up.
"They were in the pit for two hours, which put them out of contention," recalls Matt Stone, author of 'Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,' to 'Closer.' "But once they had the car running, he was back at it, driving like he was going to win, even though he had no chance. He just drove the wheels off this thing."
Paul at the Le Mans sports car race in 1979. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
By the time he started his racing career, Paul was already a winner in life. He was one of Hollywood's hottest leading men who also enjoyed a solid marriage to actress Joanne Woodward and was dad to six great kids — yet it wasn't enough for the film icon.
Fame was achieved through the collaborative process of movies, but Paul wanted to achieve greatness on his own, a goal that could only be reached on the racetrack.
Paul at a car race in 2006. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Looking back at the star's amazing life, his friends and family now say if he'd discovered racing earlier, he may never have become an actor.
His friend and costar Robert Redford knew there was no contest between acting and driving for Paul. "He wasn't divided between the two — film would always come in second to racing," Robert says.
To read the full story on Paul, pick up the new issue of 'Closer Weekly,' on newsstands now!