A former motorcycle racer who won five American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Nationals from 1952-1955, he turned to motor racing and won the USAC Championships in 1961 and 1962. Qualified for Indy 7 times.
Paul Goldsmith was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, on October 2, 1925, the son of a riverboat captain. His father passed away when he was a teenager, and when his mother remarried, the family moved to St. Clair Shores, Michigan.
Goldsmith was a very successful motorcycle racer prior to racing cars. He started riding shortly after World War II. He soon discovered that he had the skills needed to be a competitive racer and took to the track.
Before retiring from motorcycle racing, Goldsmith won five American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Nationals from 1952-1955, as well as the winning the '53 Daytona 200. He is one of the few men to ever compete in the Daytona 200, the Daytona 500, and the Indy 500 and the only racer who had ever won on the famed Daytona Beach course on a motorcycle and in a car. His Daytona win on four wheels came in 1958, the last year the beach course was run. He also qualified on the pole for that race.
At Indy he qualified six times. The seventh time he qualified he wasn't happy with the car and withdrew.
In 1958 he was involved in an accident while driving Smokey Yunick's car. The following year, in Norm Demler's car with Ray Nichels as mechanic he finished fifth. In 1960 he had his best finish crossing the line in third place. IN 61 he was running in third place again when the engine let go.
Goldsmith was the 1961 USAC champion, with 7 poles, 10 wins, 16 top-five finishes in 19 races and he won his second consecutive USAC championship in 1962 with 6 poles, 8 wins, and 15 top-five finishes in 20 races.
While racing in NASCAR, he became one of the first to fly to all the races. His flying hobby would eventually become a thriving business.
After retiring from racing altogether in 1969, Goldsmith concentrated on building his aviation engine business. When inducted in 1999, Goldsmith’s aviation concern in Northern Indiana employed 40 people. He also owns a number of Burger King restaurants in the Midwest and has two thoroughbred race horse ranches in Ocala, Florida.
While Goldsmith certainly has the resources to retire, he said he tried it once and couldn’t stand it. At 74 years of age, he still flies over 600 hours per year. He has one son and daughter. His son is a commercial pilot.