Jose Luis 'Pepe' Romero

No picture available of Jose Luis 'Pepe' Romero when he raced.

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27 Aug 1951
Miami, Florida


United States

CART/IRL years:

CART (1984)

Cuban-American from Miami, who was also a team owner. However, Pepe was also linked to the notorious Miami Cuban drugs business, and this lead to a swift departure from motor sport. Still lives in Miami. By profession, Pepe, who was also of Spanish origin, was a mechanical engineer but he also owned a plumbing company. He competed in sportscars from the mid-1970's onwards, competing at the Sebring 12 Hours three times in the 1970's. In 1981, he appeared at the Daytona 24 Hours, the Mosport 6 Hour race and the Road America 500 miles race. Pepe then competed in sportscars in various machinery until his CART foray. Romero had an opportunity for Emerson Fittipaldi to compete in CART with his car, in lurid pink, after Fittipaldi had tested Romero's old car. Romero, although American, chose to race as a Spaniard in CART, but he never started after encountering a problem on the warm-up lap. His team ownership died off soon after that. He was linked to the drugs cartels via his racing partner, Frank Rubino, a former secret service agent in the Nixon administration and former private detective who was a defence lawyer for the drugs trade. Rubino ended up defending Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega , who would later serve 19 years in prison for drug trafficking, money laundering and organised fraud. Romero raced once more in 1990, but since then has kept no links with the sport.

Biography last updated 24 Jan 2019