Indy 500 racer John Paul Jr., a Muncie native, dies in fight with Huntington’s disease

Racer John Paul Jr. is shown in an undated photo. (Photo Provided/Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IndyCar driver John Paul Jr. died Wednesday after a fight with Huntington’s disease, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Thursday.

Paul was 60.

The Muncie native started in seven Indianapolis 500 races between 1985 and 1998. His best finish, seventh, happened in 1998. He led 39 laps of that race.

A news release from IMS said, “He racked up more than 20 sports car victories, two INDYCAR wins and made starts in open-wheel, sports car and stock car competition. He also is a member of an exclusive club of drivers who won open-wheel races in CART and INDYCAR.”

IMS said his driving career ended after the 2001 season as he began his fight against Huntington’s disease, a rare, genetic neurological disorder that also afflicted other members of his family. Paul was praised for his work to raise awareness and funding for the disease.

He is survived by his sister, Tonya; daughter, Alexandria; and son, Jonathan.