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


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

Categories: Commentary

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