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Oklahoma tie: Newman won ’82 auto race on Hallett track, quarreled with bikini-clad official

From Staff Reports Modified: September 27, 2008 at 12:24 pm •  Published: September 27, 2008
Paul Newman’s brush with Oklahoma was rife with drama befitting a dashing Hollywood leading man and noted auto racing enthusiast: a record-setting race victory, controversy and scantily-clad women.

Newman, then 57, won the GT-1 division in a Sports Car Club of America race at the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit west of Tulsa on June 20, 1982. The two-time SCCA national champ piloted his Datsun 280-ZX to a division lap-record time of 1 minute, 23.67 seconds on the 1.8-mile course.

But as Newman hustled off the course in triumph, a bikini-clad young woman told the acting legend he needed to be weighed with his car at a post-race inspection. A perturbed Newman correctly insisted the rule did not apply to his division and asked for identification, and the woman showed him the race official’s credentials attached to her bikini bottom.

Newman eventually reached a compromise with track officials, who weighed the 147-pound champ separately from his car.

He emerged from the closed-door meeting to ask the race runner-up if Hallett officials always weighed drivers and their cars, receiving a response in the negative.

“The chicken (bleeps),” replied a grinning Newman, quoted in The Oklahoman’s race recap.

Newman quickly departed the track to catch a flight in Tulsa, but race track manager Marty Marina told The Oklahoman in the days before the race Newman created quite a stir in the Pawnee County hamlet.

“I’m beginning to think that Paul Newman doesn’t just drive through the gates like other drivers,” Marina said. Sign the guestbook

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