Race Reports

Paul LeeFebruary 17, 2017 (PLACENTIA, CA): NHRA Nitro Funny Car driver, Paul Lee, is retiring from the sportof drag racing. Lee suffered a heart attack over the winter and will not be returning to the seat of his McLeod Racing/ Kalitta Motorsports Nitro Funny Car.

On December 13, 2016, two days after returning from a successful PRI show in Indy, Lee experienced a massive “widow maker” heart attack, with 100% blockage of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. Three stints were inserted in his main artery, but Paul suffered significant heart damage as a result.

“I’m very lucky to be alive,” says Paul Lee, owner of McLeod Racing.  “The paramedics are close to my house and were there in minutes. They got me to the hospital in time for the doctors to save my life. The doctor told me that this is the worst kind of heart attack someone can have and only about 1 in 10 survives. So I’m extremely grateful to the local paramedics and the doctors for doing a great job of saving me.”

Lee has been a lifelong fan and participant of NHRA drag racing. He began his love as a little kid at his home track of Atco Dragway in New Jersey. He used to “borrow” his mom’s car at 17 years old and head out to the drag strip. Since then he has claimed victories in both Top Alcohol and Top Fuel Funny Cars.

“I’ve dedicated my life to the sport of NHRA Drag Racing,” explains Lee.  “It’s been my love and passion since I was a child growing up in New Jersey. It pains me to know that I’ll probably never get to drive again, but in reality, I’m happy to still be here. My heart is too weak and will take years to recover. Besides, as long as I’m on blood thinners (to help a damaged heart work better), it’s not safe for me to drive a 300mph race car.”

Lee’s racing operation, which is managed by Kalitta Motorsports, will be entered in some races this year to fulfill previous sponsor commitments. A driver will be announced when the time comes available. As for co-crew chiefs, Glen Huszar and Nick Casertano, they will continue their efforts to help the Funny Car teams of J.R. Todd and Alexis DeJoria.

"Kalitta Motorsports was devastated to learn about Paul's heart attack, but thankful that he is still with us," said Jim Oberhofer, Vice President of Operations, Kalitta Motorsports. "We know how much desire Paul had to compete at the highest level in the sport so we are saddened he will be unable to continue. However, he is and always will be a part of the Kalitta family."

Lee will continue to support the Kalitta Motorsports organization for the years to come. He will also continue to own and operate McLeod Racing.

“Nevertheless, I’ve made many friends in this sport, both in my Alcohol Funny Car days in Division 1, up to my friends in the professional ranks, and especially all the folks at Team Kalitta. I’d like to personally thank Connie Kalitta and Jim Oberhofer and the whole Kalitta organization for welcoming me into their family. I will be forever grateful.”

McLeod Racing

December 8, 2016, 2016 (PLACENTIA, CA)- McLeod is collaborating with Raybestos Powertrain to bring a premier line of Performance Automatic Rebuild Kits to the performance enthusiast.

McLeod by Raybestos Performance Automatic Rebuild Kits will be available exclusively through McLeod’s extensive list of distributors. The alliance between the two leading companies will insure top-notch quality with an affordable price for a very wide range of applications.

Raybestos Powertrain is one of the largest manufacturers of transmission-related friction products in the world, supplying the next generation of OE-quality aftermarket products for automotive and performance use.

“McLeod and Raybestos Powertrain have each earned long-standing reputations for quality and innovation in the high performance industry,” said Paul Bogutsky, CEO of Raybestos Powertrain. “Together, we now offer American-made, performance-focused transmission rebuild kits that deliver the competitive power our customers demand.”

With this partnership, it brings two very influential and monumental companies within the automotive aftermarket together. McLeod is known for it’s innovation of the RST and RXT clutch kits as well as all driveline components. For over 45 years, McLeod has provided world-class products to its loyal customers and continues to expand product lines to accommodate more applications.

“McLeod is constantly looking to offer our customers the high quality products that they demand,” says Paul Lee, owner of McLeod Racing. “By teaming with a company as reputable as Raybestos Powertrain, McLeod can now offer our world famous quality and service to the performance automatic transmission market.”

McLeod by Raybestos Performance Automatic Rebuild Kits are available for order now from any of McLeod’s reputable dealers

Paul Lee

Race Recap: Lee returned to the McLeod Racing Toyota for Team Kalitta after an awesome debut in Las Vegas. However, Lee, crew chief Todd Smith and the McLeod Racing team was not about to be outdone. The team scored four straight three-second passes in qualifying to solidly qualify 11th in the quickest Funny Car field in NHRA history. In his first round matchup with Robert Hight, Lee was prepared, recording the top reaction time of the round, but encountered tire smoke down track giving the round win to Hight.

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 11 (3.935 sec., 305.36 mph)

  • E1: Lee defeated by Hight - 4.460 sec., 195.28 mph to 3.929 sec., 326.40 mph

For further requests for Paul Lee, please contact:

Krista Baldwin
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All Photos courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.

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