The advantage may be what he needs to figure in the results of the Di Candilo Steel City Australian 360 Sprintcar Title, being held this weekend at Perth Motorplex.
Last season the gym owner broke his back while racing a Formula 500, leading to a lengthy recovery. For a man who had walked the Kokoda Track and made his living around physical activity it was a difficult time.
“Now I could forget that it ever even happened,” Haywood said. “I am back to what I was doing before the accident.
“I’ve even had a wreck that was a lot worse than the one when I broke my back, though I landed better, and I think that proved my back is okay. Mentally I am in a good space with it all and physically I am all good.”
Haywood had the opportunity to put some of the motivational techniques he uses for gym clients to work on his own psyche.
“What ever I am doing that is really gruelling, I get into the head space of someone I want to aspire to,” he said. “In speedway if you have good equipment and you are comparable as a driver to others, then the only thing left is your fitness and I like to know I am fitter than any competitor out on the track.”
Physical fitness comes into its own particularly when cars are misbehaving, Haywood believes.
“When the car has not been perfect it can be tiring to muscle around, though when the car is right they are quite easy to drive. I did a 30 lap feature a few weeks ago and felt I could have done another 30, but I have also felt knackered after 20 lap races in the past too.”
The running of the Di Candilo Steel City Australian 360 Sprintcar Title was a big reason why Haywood decided to join the division this season.
“Having the national title here was something to work towards, it sealed the deal for me,” he said.
“I’m pretty excited to do be able to do it all in front of people I have grown up with, people who know me in business and so on.
“The 360s are everything I was hoping they would be. While I enjoyed Formula 500s, they didn’t have the speed and enjoyment I was looking for, particularly around the Motorplex. But the 360 has plenty of throttle and it goes real quick and there is a lot happening, it is not something you pick up quick and I wanted that challenge.”
Haywood will be rolling out a new look on his car for the event and said he will be chasing some more consistency from his driving.
“I can put together good laps as quick as anyone racing, but it is consistently doing that lap after lap that is the challenge.”
The Di Candilo Steel City Australian 360 Sprintcar Title takes place this Friday and Saturday night at Perth Motorplex, with tickets free for kids.