Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Two-Time Daytona 24 Hours Victor John Paul Jr Passes

Two-Time Daytona 24 Hours Victor John Paul Jr Passes John Lee Paul Jr. (February 19, 1960 – December 29, 2020), an American racing legend, competed in both CART and the Indy Racing League, but primarily in IMSA GT Championship. He won a title in the latter in 1982. 

#RIP John Lee Paul Jr. (February 19, 1960 – December 29, 2020)

During his career, Paul was a twice winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona, the first of these was while co-driving with his father, John Paul Sr. A few weeks later, the pair won the 1982 12 Hours of Sebring. Paul also triumphed in another major US race, the 1983 CART’s Michigan 500.

Paul started 58 major open-wheel races (USAC, CART, Indy Racing League) from 1982 through 2001. In addition to his success at the Rolex 24 (wins in 1982 and 1997), Paul finished second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1984. In 1991, he also competed in two NASCAR Races.

Paul Jr. retired from professional racing in 2001 after noticing that the telemetry of the Corvette GT-1 he was testing did not match what he thought his feet were doing in the car. A subsequent medical evaluation confirmed he had Huntington's disease (HD), a progressive neurological disorder.

However, John did not let that derail him; he battled HD hard for over twenty years! His “John Paul Jr. Huntington's Disease Foundation” is a 501c3 dedicated to raising much needed research dollars to put an end to this horrific, debilitating terminal disease.

His sister reported via facebook that they are planning a ‘Celebration of John’s Life’ in the fall. She also stated that it “would make John smile if you could donate to his UCLA HD Research fund in lieu of any flowers, etc.” The link is:

From John Paul’s Facebook Page:

“If you are reading this, it means my time has come. Don’t be sad. I know people say things like “he lost his battle”. I don’t feel like I lost anything. It’s all a natural part of the cycle of life. It’s what we do while we are here - that’s what counts. I loved my life! So many things to be grateful for. I’m so proud of my kids, Jonathan and Alex. They are the best things I ever did. Bobby Hogg, my best friend and brother – I can never repay what you have done for me. Darlene – you know what she means to me. Plus, to all my friends who were always here for me, – I could not have made it this far without all of you. Gave it one hell of a run.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to see and talk to so many of my friends. It brought countless memories. I’m grateful and humbled by all the kind things you have all said to me. I loved racing. I miss racing. I love all of you.

To my friends from the HD world I have to say – DON’T GIVE UP! I know they are so close to finding the cure for Huntington’s disease. I could not have made it this far without Dr. Susan Perlman at UCLA. Dyna – thanks for all you did too hooking me up with UCLA, Dr. Perlman and all your hard research to help find a cure. You did so much to help me. I wouldn’t have made it this long without Dr. Perlman. Don’t be scared. So many promising things within reach. I want to remind all of you to never take anyone you love for granted. Things can change in a day. I have no regrets – I’m so grateful for my friends, my family and my awesome life. Thank you again for being a part of it. See you on the other side. Love, John”

Click Here to Donated to John Paul Jr
Huntington's Disease Research for a Cure

The photo below was taken at Fontana in 2003 when my son introduced me John Paul Jr.  I found John to be a kind, open and funny man.

John Paul Jr. in 2003 (Fontana, California)

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