Paul Lee Defies The Odds to Return to The NHRA

Paul Lee Defies The Odds to Return to The NHRA

David Straughan
3 minute read

Much of the NHRA world was pretty certain Paul Lee’s racing career was over in December of 2016. After the Funny Car driver suffered a major heart attack two years ago, he announced his retirement from the sport. Now, after two years of intense rehabilitation and physical training, Paul Lee has defied all odds and returned to drag racing.

Lee Signs With SSG

Earlier this month, it was announced that Lee signed with the newly-formed Straightline Strategy Group. The organization is headed up by Doug Stringer, Scott Gardner and other partners. It's the same organization that's behind Clay Millican’s Parts Plus/Strutmasters Top Fuel racer. "I'm excited to join SSG and getting back doing what I love most, driving and competing in the McLeod Racing Nitro Funny Car in NHRA," Lee said. "After two years of hard work recovering from my heart attack, I can hardly believe I get to go race again. Driving a Nitro Funny Car has been my lifelong passion.”

The Birth of the "Super Team"

Lee's incredible return is one of many stories surrounding the organization. SSG has made several high profile moves over the last two months gearing up for 2019’s racing season. The new “Super Team” of the NHRA is considered among the sport’s most exciting collectives heading into the new year. "I'm also looking forward to teaming with Clay Millican. To working with my buddy Jim Oberhofer. And I'm excited to work with the entire SSG organization,” said Lee. “SSG will be a powerhouse team now and into the future in NHRA Professional Drag Racing."

What to Look for in 2019

Paul Lee's return to the sport will be a hot topic throughout the 2019 season. The driver has enjoyed a warm welcome back from fans and racers alike on social media. All eyes will be on Clay Millican and his team. The group has gone all-in on finding a winning formula, reuniting Millican with crew chief Mike Kloeber. The pair won six IHRA titles in seven seasons together. The team also brought in tuner Jim "Jim O" Oberhafer as part of its expansion and overhaul. Oberhafer will start the season with Millican before moving over to Lee's car full-time. Next season is set to be an aspirational one for the team at SSG. But if the aggressive moves and acquistions in this off-season are any indication, 2019 could be just the beginning.

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