Paul Lee is no stranger to drag racing, but readers may be more familiar with him as the President of McLeod Racing, LLC than as the behind-the-wheel Funny Car powerhouse, a position he’s intimately familiar with. However, they’re going to get to see Lee in action as he joins Team Kalitta to campaign a third Funny Car for them in the final four NHRA Mello Yello Series races this year, beginning with the NHRA Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway this fall.
Lee will campaign the McLeod Clutches Toyota Camry Funny Car with crew chiefs Jim Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante bringing their combined tuning mastery to the vehicle.
“I am beyond excited to be joining Kalitta Motorsports as part of their team,” says Paul Lee, who has been driving Funny Cars for over 25 years. “To be driving for Connie Kalitta and his awesome NHRA drag racing organization is something I’ve worked for and dreamed of my entire career. It will be an honor to drive a car tuned by Jim O and Nicky as well. The Kalitta team will give me a great car; it will be up to me to close the deal on Sunday. I look forward to that challenge and the opportunities that are ahead.”
Starting his drag racing career at 18, Lee drove Top Alcohol Funny Cars from 1988 until 2005, winning three NHRA National Event titles and one divisional race before moving onto Nitro Funny Car. He won the IHRA Motor City Nationals in 2008. Today, Paul drives exclusively in the NHRA Nitro Funny Car class, running as quick as 4.007 at nearly 318mph in Chuck & Del Worsham’s Funny Car.
Lee will be campaigning with Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster; J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster; Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, and Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car in the field for the last four 2016 events, piloting Worsham’s 2015 championship car with the DHL team acquiring a new Bounty Hunter chassis for the latter part of the season. He will own the equipment, but it will be run out of the Kalitta Motorsports Ypsilanti, Michigan-based shop.
The expansion will allow Kalitta Motorsports to campaign a fifth team for the first time in their history.
“We are really pleased to be able to partner with Paul in this capacity,” said Oberhofer, Vice President of Operations, Kalitta Motorsports. “He will be owning equipment that is proven. It is a great way for Team Kalitta expand business and get Paul to the track in a top-notch team at an affordable rate with an experienced crew.”