John Paul, Sr. (racing driver)

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John Paul, Sr.
Nationality American
Born (1939-12-03) 3 December 1939 (age 74)
Netherlands

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.

Before racing[edit]

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.[1] He attended Ball State University and then received a scholarship to Harvard University, where he received a master's degree in business.[2] He became a successful mutual fund manager, and a millionaire.[1] In 1960, his wife Joyce gave birth to a son, John Jr., who went on to become a successfully driver in his own right.[3]

Racing career[edit]

Paul started club-level sportscar road racing in the late 1960s, winning the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Northeast Regional Championship in 1968.[1] 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.[4] This followed his class win in the 12 Hours of Sebring, earlier that season.[5]

In 1979, Paul won the Trans-Am Series race at Mosport by a margin of 33 seconds.[6] 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.[7][8] In 1980, Paul began teaming with his son, and on May 26 Paul remarried to Chalice Alford,[9] holding the ceremony on the infield at Lime Rock Park.[10] 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.[10][11] They would pair up again to win the Road America Pabst 500.[12][13] 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.[11]

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.[9][14] 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.[2] In the paddock and off, Paul Sr. was known for his temper tantrums and mood swings that sent fear into everybody including his son,[11][14][15] that helped to contribute to his imprisonment.

Legal trouble[edit]

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.[16]

On April 19, 1983, an individual named Stephen Carson was shot in the chest, abdomen and leg in Crescent Beach, Florida.[17] 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.[2] Paul was arrested, but while out on bail fled before his trial.[2][18] 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[19] 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,[20] 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.[21][22][23] Paul was paroled on July 2, 1999,[24] 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.[25] In December the following year, Wood disappeared, never to be heard from again.[26] 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.[9] As of 2013 the case remains unsolved.

Racing record[edit]

Career highlights[edit]

Season Series Position Team Car
1977 IMSA Camel GT Challenge [27] 8th John Paul Porsche 911 Carrera RSR
Chevrolet Monza
1978 FIA World Challenge for Endurance Drivers [8] 1st Jim Downing
JLP Racing
Mazda RX-2
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR
IMSA Camel GT Challenge [28] 6th JLP Racing Porsche 911 Carrera RSR
Chevrolet Corvette
1979 Trans-Am Cat. 2 [29] 1st JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP-1
1980 FIA World Challenge for Endurance Drivers [8][30] 1st Preston Henn
JLP Racing
Downing/Maffucci
Porsche 935 K3
Porsche 935 JLP2
Mazda RX-3
1981 Camel GT Championship [31] 12th JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP3
Lola-Cosworth T600
FIA World Endurance Championship of Drivers [32] 112th JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP3
1982 Camel GT Championship [33] 3rd JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP3
Camel GTO Championship [34] 41st Pontiac Firebird
FIA World Endurance Championship of Drivers [35] 103rd N.A.R.T. Ferrari 512BB LM

International Race Victories[edit]

Date Event Circuit Entrant
co-driver
Car – Engine
1978
02/07/78 Pepsi 6 Hours Champion Spark Plug Challenge Daytona [36] United States Daytona Jim Downing
United States Jim Downing
Mazda RX-2
1979
06/05/79 Trans-Am Mexico [37] Mexico Mexico City JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP-1
03/06/79 Trans-Am Westwood [38] Canada Westwood JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP-1
10/06/79 Trans-Am Portland [39] United States Portland JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP-1
05/08/79 Trans-Am Watkins Glen [40] United States Watkins Glen JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP-1
19/08/79 Trans-Am Mosport [41] Canada Mosport Park JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP-1
01/09/79 Trans-Am Trois-Rivières [42] Canada Trois-Rivières JLP Racing Porsche 935 JLP-1
1980
26/05/80 Coca-Cola 400 [43][44] United States Lime Rock Preston Henn
United States John Paul, Jr.
Porsche 935 K3
31/08/80 Road America Pabst 500 [13][43] United States Road America J.L.P. Racing
United States John Paul, Jr.
Porsche 935 JLP-2
1981
27/09/81 Kenwood Stereo 500 Grand Prix [45][46] United States Pocono J.L.P. Racing Porsche 935 JLP-3
1982
30-31/01/82 24 Hour Pepsi Challenge [47][48] United States Daytona J.L.P. Racing
Germany Rolf Stommelen
United States John Paul, Jr.
Porsche 935 JLP-3
20/03/82 Coca-Cola Twelve Hours of Sebring [47][49] United States Sebring J.L.P. Racing
United States John Paul, Jr.
Porsche 935 JLP-3
16/05/82 Camel GT 500 Charlotte Motor Speedway [47][50] United States Charlotte J.L.P. Racing
United States John Paul, Jr.
Porsche 935 JLP-3
15/08/82 Labatt’s 50 GT [47][51] Canada Mosport Park J.L.P. Racing
United States John Paul, Jr.
Porsche 935 JLP-3
12/09/82 Sprite 500 Camel GT Endurance [47][52] United States Road Atlanta J.L.P. Racing
United States John Paul, Jr.
Porsche 935 JLP-3

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Class No Tyres Car Team Co-Drivers Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1978 IMSA+2.5 90 G Porsche 935/77A United States Dick Barbour Racing United Kingdom Brian Redman
United States Dick Barbour
337 5th 1st
1980 IMSA 73 G Porsche 935 JLP-2 United States J.L.P. Racing United Kingdom Guy Edwards
United States John Paul, Jr.
312 9th 2nd
1982 IMSA GTX 72 M Ferrari 512BB LM United States N.A.R.T. France Alain Cudini
United States John Morton
306 9th 4th

Complete 24 Hours of Daytona results[edit]

Year Class No Tyres Car Team Co-Drivers Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1977 GTO 38 G Porsche 911 Carrera RSR United States John Paul United States John O’Steen
United States Bob Hagestad
217 DNF
1978 GTO 33 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Puerto Rico Boricua Motors Puerto Rico Bonky Fernandez
United States Phil Currin
637 4th 2nd
1979 GTX 18 Porsche 935 JLP-1 United States JLP Racing United States Al Holbert
United States Michael Keyser
12 DNF
Electrics
1980 GTX 09 Porsche 935/77A United States Thunderbird Swap Shop United States Al Holbert 682 2nd 2nd
1981 GTX 18 Porsche 935 JLP-2 United States JLP Racing United States John Paul, Jr.
United States Gordon Smiley
53 DNF
Piston
1982 GTP 8 Porsche 935 JLP-2 United States JLP Racing United States John Paul, Jr.
Germany Rolf Stommelen
DNS
GTP 18 G Porsche 935 JLP-3 United States JLP Racing United States John Paul, Jr.
Germany Rolf Stommelen
719 1st
1983 GTP 8 Porsche 935 JLP-4 United States JLP Racing United States Phil Currin 15 DNF
withdrawn

Complete 12 Hours of Sebring results[edit]

Year Class No Tyres Car Team Co-Drivers Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1977 GTO 38 G Porsche 911 Carrera RSR United States John Paul, Sr. United States John O’Steen
United States John Graves
United States Bob Hagestad
13 DNF
Engines
1978 GTO 33 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR United States JLP Racing Puerto Rico Bonky Fernandez 233 4th 1st
1979 GTX 18 Porsche 935 JLP-1 United States JLP Racing United States Al Holbert 176 DNF
Transmission
1980 GTX 09 Porsche 935/77A United States Thunderbird Swap Shop United States Preston Henn
United States Al Holbert
239 4th 4th
1981 GTX 8 G Porsche 935 JLP-3 United States JLP Racing United States John Paul, Jr. 40 DNF
Suspension
1982 GTP 18 G Porsche 935 JLP-3 United States JLP Racing United States John Paul, Jr. 244 1st

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Top 100 racers at historicracing.com
  2. ^ a b c d Did They Drive Over The Line? Sam Moses, Sports Illustrated, May 27, 1985.
  3. ^ Gousseau, Alexis. John Paul Jr : IMSA's raw talent, IMSA History, February 13, 2007
  4. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1978". Racing Sports Cars. 1978-11-06. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  5. ^ "Sebring 12 Hours 1978". Racing Sports Cars. 1978-03-18. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  6. ^ Flashback: 1979 Trans Am Mosport Race Theracesite.com
  7. ^ http://www.racingsportscar.com.driver/results/John-Paul-USA.html
  8. ^ a b c "World Challenge for Endurance Drivers - final positions and tables". Classicscars.com. 2000-06-16. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  9. ^ a b c "Chalice Paul". Nampn.org. 1947-08-31. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  10. ^ a b Lime Rock Park History - May 26, 1980
  11. ^ a b c 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. 
  12. ^ "SPAM protection / Ochrana proti SPAMu". Wsrp.ic.cz. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  13. ^ a b http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Road_America-1980-08-31.html
  14. ^ a b "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. 
  15. ^ By Joseph Siano (1989-02-05). "Auto Racing; Paul Returns From Prison - New York Times". United States: Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  16. ^ Moses, Sam. Did They Drive Over The Line?, Sports Illustrated, May 27, 1985
  17. ^ 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." 
  18. ^ Auto Racer Flees From His Trial United Press International, December 13, 1983.
  19. ^ SPORTS PEOPLE; Driver Extradited New York Times, March 30, 1986
  20. ^ SPORTS PEOPLE; Driver Gets 5 Years The New York Times, May 8, 1986.
  21. ^ By Joseph Siano (1989-02-05). "Auto Racing; Paul Returns From Prison". United States: New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  22. ^ SPORTS PEOPLE; Ex-Racer Pleads Guilty The New York Times June 5, 1986.
  23. ^ Formula 1 and crime by Joe Saward, Grandprix.com,
  24. ^ Inmate Locator - John Paul, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Retrieved 2012-01-14
  25. ^ "Colleen Wood". The Charley Project. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  26. ^ Missing: Colleen Wood web site of Unseen Mysteries'.
  27. ^ "IMSA Camel GT Challenge 1977 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  28. ^ "IMSA Camel GT Challenge - GTU 1978 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  29. ^ "1979 Trans-Am season - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  30. ^ "World Sportscar Championship 1980 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  31. ^ "IMSA Camel GT Challenge 1981 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  32. ^ "World Sportscar Championship 1981 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  33. ^ http://www.driverdb.com/championships/standings/imsa-camel-gtp-champion/1982/
  34. ^ "IMSA Camel GTO 1982 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  35. ^ "FIA World Endurance Championship 1982 standings | Driver Database". Driverdb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  36. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Daytona-1978-07-02.html
  37. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Mexico_City-1979-05-06-6932.html
  38. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Westwood-1979-06-03.html
  39. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Portland-1979-06-10-6679.html
  40. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Watkins_Glen-1979-08-05.html
  41. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Mosport-1979-08-19.html
  42. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Trois-Rivieres-1979-09-02t.html
  43. ^ a b http://wsrp.ic.cz/imsa1980.html
  44. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Lime_Rock-1980-05-26.html
  45. ^ http://wsrp.ic.cz/imsa1981.html
  46. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Pocono-1981-09-27.html
  47. ^ a b c d e http://wsrp.ic.cz/imsa1982.html
  48. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Daytona-1982-01-31.html
  49. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Sebring-1982-03-20.html
  50. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Charlotte-1982-05-16.html
  51. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Mosport-1982-08-15.html
  52. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Road_Atlanta-1982-09-12.html