Legendary team owner Carl Haas dies at age 86

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Carl Haas, one of the architects of one of North American open-wheel racing’s most successful teams, Newman/Haas Racing, has died at the age of 86. His Haas Auto business page confirmed he passed away on June 29 at his home.

Haas partnered with actor Paul Newman for what seemed a fantasy at the time in the early ’80s.

What seemed an odd couple – a successful businessman never without his trusty cigar and an actor who was bitten by the racing bug and preferred talking about it to any acting talk – turned their combined team into a legend in IndyCar after being Can-Am rivals a decade earlier.

Carl Haas and actor Paul Newman on February 1, 1993 at the Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. (Photo by Steve Swope/Getty Images)
Carl Haas and actor Paul Newman on February 1, 1993 at the Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. (Photo by Steve Swope/Getty Images)

The team was consummated in 1983 and by 1984 it won a CART title with Mario Andretti. Three more CART titles followed by Mario’s son Michael Andretti in 1991, then F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell in 1993 and likable young Brazilian Cristiano da Matta in 2002.

Bourdais' first title in 2004. (Photo by Aubrey Washington/Getty Images)
Bourdais’ first title in 2004. (Photo by Aubrey Washington/Getty Images)

Once CART dissolved and the Champ Car World Series briefly rose from its ashes, Newman/Haas reeled off a memorable four in a row title run with Sebastien Bourdais from 2004 (right) to 2007. Mike Lanigan, now a co-owner with Bobby Rahal and David Letterman, was a minority partner from 2007 through 2010.

But the team fell on relatively harder times once the Champ Car and IndyCar (then Indy Racing League) merger occurred in 2008.

Poised to be the best team in Champ Car once more, Newman/Haas was stuck learning the then-IndyCar equipment in 2008 even though both Graham Rahal and the late Justin Wilson won races that year. Rahal’s win at St. Petersburg was the first of his career and made him the youngest winner in series history; Wilson’s win at Detroit proved the last of its 107 career wins in open-wheel.

Rahal regularly overachieved in 2009 but lost sponsorship at year’s end, the team pressed on through 2010 primarily with Hideki Mutoh as its only driver while 2011 brought a brief resurgence with Oriol Servia an impressive fourth in the points and James Hinchcliffe rookie-of-the-year, 12th in points.

That year marked the end of the road, though, for the team as sponsorship was too hard to come by and the new Dallara DW12 never made it to the team (a good reflection from veteran IndyCar scribe John Oreovicz, here).

Haas was much more than the team co-owner of Newman/Haas, though.

Carl began as a race car driver and joined SCCA in 1952, an organization he would later serve as a board member and subsequently chairman. In 1985, Carl received SCCA’s highest honor – The Woolf Barnato Award and in 2007 Carl was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame.

Haas started his Carl Haas Automotive Imports, Inc. business in 1960, a high quality, venerable parts business in Lincolnshire, Ill.

That’s become a fixture of the automotive and racing industry in the 50-plus years that have followed, as have Hewland gearboxes.

By 1967, he’d become Lola Cars’ exclusive importer in America and that created a long lineage of success and partnership between the two companies. Lola’s demise occurred a few years ago, unfortunately.

Haas, of course, was also in the news earlier this year – once Gene Haas’ team started the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, it became the first U.S. team in Formula 1 since Carl Haas’ Beatrice Haas Lola team that ran in 1985 in 1986 – the latter year finishing eighth in the Constructor’s Championship having scored six points with Alan Jones and Patrick Tambay.

Haas also ran teams in Formula 5000, Can-Am, Super Vee and NASCAR, although Haas’ at-track presence wound down in the later years of the team. The Can-Am team was where Haas raced against Newman.

Newman died in September 2008, barely a month after Wilson’s win at Detroit.

His life was one devoted to racing and the automotive industry and he left one heck of a mark.

We offer our thoughts and condolences to wife Bernadette (Berni) and their family following this news.

Per the Haas site, in lieu of flowers, a contribution can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at 8430 W. Bryn Mawr, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60631 (847/933-2413) or The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at www.holeinthewallgang.org.

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”