Paul Lee Retires from NHRA
Funny Car favorite Paul Lee has announced that he will not be returning to the races in 2017. Last December he returned from a successful PRI show in Indy and experienced a heart attack. Not just any heart attack, but a "widow maker" with 100% blockage in the LAD artery. Though he has made a recovery after surgery, Paul now has significant heart damage. “I’m very lucky to be alive,” said Lee. “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 part of NHRA Drag Racing for nearly his entire life. He started as a fan in his childhood and would even sneak out at 17 with his mom's car to race. “I’ve dedicated my life to the sport of NHRA Drag Racing,” said 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 300-mph race car.”
Though Lee is retiring as a driver, he will still be involved with Kalitta Motorsports for years to come. Paul will also stay on as the owner / operator of McLeod Racing. "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."