“In typical Brumos fashion, when we got the car, we went through everything to make sure it was all tight and where things were supposed to be,” Haywood said. “The crew found the flywheel bolts were loose and Peter called Roger and told him he needed to check that. Roger thought Peter was screwing around with him and they didn’t do it and that’s what put them out of the race.”
And that turned into a huge benefit for Brumos. When the Penske machine – driven by Mark Donohue and George Follmer – retired, Porsche engineers flooded the No. 59’s pit area, including Porsche’s top engineer Norbert Singer.
While other teams arrived in big haulers and hired chefs for their hospitality areas, Haywood and Gregg slept in the car trailer and dined on fast-food hamburgers. Haywood was in the car for more than half the race.
“It was fun for me because I was 23 and I’d only been racing for two years,” said Haywood. “Suddenly, I was at Daytona in a factory car racing against Mark Donohue and George Follmer and we’re pretty much keeping pace with those guys. That was a real learning curve for me and exciting. I remember during the night racing against George and Mark and that really built my confidence up.”
As the sun was coming up over the track, Haywood was cruising down the backstretch at about 175 mph. As the Carrera approached NASCAR Turn 3, Haywood got an unexpected jolt.
“This large seagull came crashing through the windshield,” Haywood said. “Half its body was in the cockpit and half the body was outside the car. The windshield didn’t cave in.”
Haywood didn’t panic. He radioed his team in the pits to explain what happened.
“I called in and said ‘Guess what guys? A bird just crashed through the windshield,’” Haywood recalls. “They radioed back and told me, ‘Stay out as long as you can. If the windshield collapses, then come in.’ That allowed them to find a replacement for the windshield. They took it off a street car. Once they had a windshield, they brought me in and changed it out really quickly.”