John Paul, Sr. (racing driver)
|John Paul, Sr.|
3 December 1939 |
John Lee Paul (born Hans-Johan Paul, December 3, 1939 in the Netherlands) was an American racecar driver. After his racing career, which saw him win both US classic endurance races, 24 hours at Daytona and 12 hours of Sebring, he served a 15-year prison sentence for a variety of crimes including drug trafficking and shooting a Federal witness. In 2001 he disappeared on his boat while being sought for questioning by officials regarding the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. He is sometimes known in the motorsport scene as John Paul, Sr. or John Paul.
Paul emigrated to the United States from The Netherlands in 1956 with his family, settling in Muncie, Indiana and legally changing his name to John Lee Paul. He attended Ball State University and then received a scholarship to Harvard University, where he received a master's degree in business. He became a successful mutual fund manager, and a millionaire. In 1960, his wife Joyce gave birth to a son, John Jr., who went on to become a successfully driver in his own right.
Paul started club-level sportscar road racing in the late 1960s, winning the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Northeast Regional Championship in 1968. When his wife and son left him in 1972, Paul left racing for a while, living on a sailboat he had purchased. He resumed racing in 1975 – now with his son, who had chosen to return to him, as a part-time member of his crew. He appeared at 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Dick Barbour Racing team, taking a class win in IMSA GTX class (partnered by fellow American, Dick Barbour and English driver, Brian Redman), in his first attempt at the French classic. This followed his class win in the 12 Hours of Sebring, earlier that season.
In 1979, Paul won the Trans-Am Series race at Mosport by a margin of 33 seconds. He would win a total of six races, en route to winning the Trans-Am title. He had already won the World Challenge for Endurance Drivers title the season before. In 1980, Paul began teaming with his son, and on May 26 Paul remarried to Chalice Alford, holding the ceremony on the infield at Lime Rock Park. Later in the day he teamed with his son to win the day's race, the Coca-Cola 400, making them the first father-son duo to win an IMSA Camel GT race. Even more remarkable, it was Junior's first IMSA GT race he entered. They would pair up again to win the Road America Pabst 500. Paul, Sr., would go on to finished second the IMSA GT series. 1980 also saw his greatest achievement, winning the World Challenge for Endurance Drivers, by just four points over British driver John Fitzpatrick. Paul was not a particularly fast driver, but was consistent and determined. He also completed mainly in his specially modified Porsche 935s prepared by his own team, JLP Racing, operating out of Lawrenceville, Georgia.
His wife vanished without trace in the summer of 1981 and later divorced in her absence to seek marriage with Hope, sister of Hurley Haywood in Haiti. In 1982, Paul Sr., teamed up with his son, to win the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.Together, the Pauls would win three races. As a solo driver, Junior would win another four, all in JLP Racing prepared Porsche or Lola-Chrevolet T600. 1982 would be Paul Sr.'s last year as a driver, however. The lack of a major sponsor meant that, even with the team's success, his expenses overcame his earnings. In the paddock and off, Paul Sr. was known for his temper tantrums and mood swings that sent fear into everybody including his son, that helped to contribute to his imprisonment.
The Pauls had their first legal troubles when on January 10, 1979, Paul Jr. and Christopher Schill were caught by customs agents loading equipment onto a pickup truck on the bank of a canal in the Louisiana bayous after dark. Following questioning, when one of them smelled marijuana on their clothing, Paul Sr. was apprehended on his 42-foot boat named Lady Royale, where customs discovered marijuana residue and $10,000 on board. A rented truck was discovered nearby, which contained 1,565 pounds (710 kg) of marijuana. In court, all three pleaded guilty to marijuana possession charges, where each was placed on three years' probation and fined $32,500.
On April 19, 1983, an individual named Stephen Carson was shot in the chest, abdomen and leg in Crescent Beach, Florida. Carson had been given immunity in a drug trafficking case. He testified that John Paul, Sr. had approached him, ordered him into the trunk of his car, and shot at him five times when he fled rather than comply. Paul then fled when a companion of Carson's began shouting. Paul was arrested, but while out on bail fled before his trial. Paul was apprehended by Swiss authorities in January 1985, served a six-month sentence in Switzerland for using a false passport, and was extradited back to the United States in March 1986 At the same time, Paul's son John Jr. pleaded guilty to racketeering and received a five-year sentence, but refused to testify against his father, who had been indicted as the ringleader of a drug trafficking ring that included, among others, both Johns, and John Sr.'s father, Lee. On June 4, 1986, Paul Sr. pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and received a sentence of twenty years, later expanded to twenty-five years after additional sentences were added. Paul served his sentence in USP Leavenworth. Paul was paroled on July 2, 1999, but soon ran into more problems. Shortly following release, Paul met a woman named Colleen Wood, who would shortly leave her office manager job, sell her condominium and move in with Paul on his 55-foot schooner to embark on a planned five year around the world boating trip. In December the following year, Wood disappeared, never to be heard from again. Police questioned Paul in connection with the disappearance, but no charges were filed. Paul shortly after disappeared himself, likely in violation of his parole. Shortly after, he was spotted by a passerby in the Fiji Islands who had recognized him from an episode of Unsolved Mysteries then sailed back to Europe. He then sold his sailboat via a magazine classified advert in Italy and is believed to be living in Thailand. As of 2013 the case remains unsolved.
|1977||IMSA Camel GT Challenge ||8th||John Paul||Porsche 911 Carrera RSR
|1978||FIA World Challenge for Endurance Drivers ||1st||Jim Downing
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR
|IMSA Camel GT Challenge ||6th||JLP Racing||Porsche 911 Carrera RSR
|1979||Trans-Am Cat. 2 ||1st||JLP Racing||Porsche 935 JLP-1|
|1980||FIA World Challenge for Endurance Drivers ||1st||Preston Henn
|Porsche 935 K3
Porsche 935 JLP2
|1981||Camel GT Championship ||12th||JLP Racing||Porsche 935 JLP3
|FIA World Endurance Championship of Drivers ||112th||JLP Racing||Porsche 935 JLP3|
|1982||Camel GT Championship ||3rd||JLP Racing||Porsche 935 JLP3|
|Camel GTO Championship ||41st||Pontiac Firebird|
|FIA World Endurance Championship of Drivers ||103rd||N.A.R.T.||Ferrari 512BB LM|
Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results
|1978||IMSA+2.5||90||G||Porsche 935/77A||Dick Barbour Racing|| Brian Redman
|1980||IMSA||73||G||Porsche 935 JLP-2||J.L.P. Racing|| Guy Edwards
John Paul, Jr.
|1982||IMSA GTX||72||M||Ferrari 512BB LM||N.A.R.T.|| Alain Cudini
Complete 24 Hours of Daytona results
|1977||GTO||38||G||Porsche 911 Carrera RSR||John Paul|| John O’Steen
|1978||GTO||33||Porsche 911 Carrera RSR||Boricua Motors|| Bonky Fernandez
|1979||GTX||18||Porsche 935 JLP-1||JLP Racing|| Al Holbert
|1980||GTX||09||Porsche 935/77A||Thunderbird Swap Shop||Al Holbert||682||2nd||2nd|
|1981||GTX||18||Porsche 935 JLP-2||JLP Racing|| John Paul, Jr.
|1982||GTP||8||Porsche 935 JLP-2||JLP Racing|| John Paul, Jr.
|GTP||18||G||Porsche 935 JLP-3||JLP Racing|| John Paul, Jr.
|1983||GTP||8||Porsche 935 JLP-4||JLP Racing||Phil Currin||15||DNF
Complete 12 Hours of Sebring results
|1977||GTO||38||G||Porsche 911 Carrera RSR||John Paul, Sr.|| John O’Steen
|1978||GTO||33||Porsche 911 Carrera RSR||JLP Racing||Bonky Fernandez||233||4th||1st|
|1979||GTX||18||Porsche 935 JLP-1||JLP Racing||Al Holbert||176||DNF
|1980||GTX||09||Porsche 935/77A||Thunderbird Swap Shop|| Preston Henn
|1981||GTX||8||G||Porsche 935 JLP-3||JLP Racing||John Paul, Jr.||40||DNF
|1982||GTP||18||G||Porsche 935 JLP-3||JLP Racing||John Paul, Jr.||244||1st|
- Top 100 racers at historicracing.com
- Did They Drive Over The Line? Sam Moses, Sports Illustrated, May 27, 1985.
- Gousseau, Alexis. John Paul Jr : IMSA's raw talent, IMSA History, February 13, 2007
- "Le Mans 24 Hours 1978". Racing Sports Cars. 1978-11-06. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "Sebring 12 Hours 1978". Racing Sports Cars. 1978-03-18. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- Flashback: 1979 Trans Am Mosport Race Theracesite.com
- "World Challenge for Endurance Drivers - final positions and tables". Classicscars.com. 2000-06-16. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "Chalice Paul". Nampn.org. 1947-08-31. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- Lime Rock Park History - May 26, 1980
- Sam Moses (1985-05-27). "Former racer John Paul Sr. and his Indy 500-driving - 05.27.85 - SI Vault". Sportsillustrated.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "SPAM protection / Ochrana proti SPAMu". Wsrp.ic.cz. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "Promising Driver John Paul Jr. Is Accused of Aiding Father in Smuggling Ring, Making It. . . : A Rough Road Ahead - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1985-03-10. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- By Joseph Siano (1989-02-05). "Auto Racing; Paul Returns From Prison - New York Times". United States: Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- Moses, Sam. Did They Drive Over The Line?, Sports Illustrated, May 27, 1985
- Glick, Shav (March 10, 1985). "Promising Driver John Paul Jr. Is Accused of Aiding Father in Smuggling Ring, Making It. . . : A Rough Road Ahead". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
The shooting occurred on a boat ramp in Crescent Beach, near St. Augustine.
- Auto Racer Flees From His Trial United Press International, December 13, 1983.
- SPORTS PEOPLE; Driver Extradited New York Times, March 30, 1986
- SPORTS PEOPLE; Driver Gets 5 Years The New York Times, May 8, 1986.
- By Joseph Siano (1989-02-05). "Auto Racing; Paul Returns From Prison". United States: New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- SPORTS PEOPLE; Ex-Racer Pleads Guilty The New York Times June 5, 1986.
- Formula 1 and crime by Joe Saward, Grandprix.com,
- Inmate Locator - John Paul, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Retrieved 2012-01-14
- "Colleen Wood". The Charley Project. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- Missing: Colleen Wood web site of Unseen Mysteries'.
- "IMSA Camel GT Challenge 1977 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "IMSA Camel GT Challenge - GTU 1978 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "1979 Trans-Am season - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "World Sportscar Championship 1980 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "IMSA Camel GT Challenge 1981 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "World Sportscar Championship 1981 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "IMSA Camel GTO 1982 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "FIA World Endurance Championship 1982 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.