Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Green Light: A Race Car Driver's Journey Back From Heart Attack | WebMD

Difficulty: 0

SPEAKER 1: All right, here we


Getting ready to start Funny Car

Qualifying coming up,


And Paul Lee, back on track.

great to see him back in the car

after he had some issues


But now he's told,

you are good to go.

He was really just starting

to make his way when a heart

attack sidelined him.

The doctors told him,

you'll never drive again.

PAUL LEE: I was on my Life Cycle

in my gym at home.

And after I got off the cycle,

I started feeling chest pains.

And it felt like an elephant was

just on my chest

within about a minute

to a minute and a half.

And I said--

Call-- 911.

I think I'm having a heart


I started losing body function.

My vision was going away.

My heart had stopped.

I didn't know that.

And the ambulance was here

at my house in four minutes.

Within 25 minutes,

I was in the operating room

getting three stints out

into my heart.

I found out later that I had

hereditary heart disease

and my LED artery, which

is the main artery

in your heart, was 100% blocked.

I had a defibrillator put

in just in case

I had another heart attack.

So, I'm just lucky in a lot

of ways to be able to survive

a Widowmaker Heart Attack, which

is the worst heart attack you

can have.

NHRA drag racing is racing Nitro

Funny cars at the top level

of the sport.

We go from zero to 325 miles

an hour in less than four



We go to 1,000 foot with 11,000

horsepower race cars.

First time I came to the track,

I was 12 years old.

I loved it so much.

I remember the day like it was


And I said, that's what I want

to do some day.

30 years later, here I am, still

doing it.

And although on the starting

line, it looks like me racing

another person-- which is true

when we get

to the starting line.

But the preparation of the car,

all these guys

are an important part

of the team.

It's truly a team sport, just

like football.

Every one of those guys

has to do their job for me

to be able to go out there

and race

the other guy near the lane

and beat that guy.

My first cardiologist said,

well, you know,

you're lucky to be alive.

Forget about racing cars.

This is an 11,000 horsepower,

violent vehicle that has--

it affects your body.


The doctor told me that you're

high risk for another heart


So I announced my retirement.

SPEAKER 2: Paul Lee had

a massive heart attack.

But I am very, very glad

to announce that he is OK

and came through that OK.

Sure, he may not drive a race

car again.

But we know Paul Lee is watching

us today.

Surely wish the best for you,

continued health.

PAUL LEE: Yeah, maybe I was

a little sadder.

I don't want to say I was


I mean, I think that's too

strong a word.

I don't think I ever was


I'm happy that I'm alive.

But at the same time, you know,

my life's just changed.

You know, it's like,

what do I do?

I came back to work.

After I got out of the hospital,

I was back in my office

and then started my rehab, which

was exercise, eating right.

I have a lot of dead tissue

in my heart from a heart attack

because my heart was literally

stopped for approximately 30


But what the exercise does

is help other parts of my heart

get stronger to kind of make up

for the dead tissue.

The oil pump of one

of our motors

is critical to keep it alive.

Well, just like my heart

is the same thing, it's my oil

pump to keep blood

through my body to keep me


So I try to take care

of my heart now.

Obviously, it's extremely

important for me to do that.

I had a lot of heart

palpitations for months

and months after that.

And every time that would

happen, it would wake me up

and I would panic.

And it's like, wow,

am I going to have another heart


I'm doing everything I can do

to live a long, healthy life.

And so I try not to think

about it too much anymore.

I just go and just live my life.

When we're back at the pits,

I get dressed in my fire suit

in the lounge.

And at that point, I just like

to be quiet and get my thoughts


We go through the whole run

in our head multiple times.

So when we get up

to the starting line,

we're basically repeating

a mental exercise.

And the one thing

I love about sitting in the car,

being in this cocoon,

is total relaxation.

That's my happy place.

When the crew chief pulls me up

to the starting line

and gives me the thumbs up,

now we're waiting

for the Christmas tree

to come on.

As soon as I see a yellow flash.

I hit the gas as hard as I can,

let go of that brake,

and I'm starting the ride

of my life.

After about a year and a half

of rehab, I started to feel

normal again.

It took a long time.

And my cardiologist said to me,

you know,

you might be able to race again.

And I said, really?

And so what do we have to do?

So the first thing we had

to check was if there was

any interference

with my defibrillator.

These cars have 244 amp


That's the ignition system

on one of these Nitro Funny


He said, I want to get you

in a Funny Car, start it up,

and we'll monitor

your defibrillator

from a laptop.

And we'll see if there's

any effects.

SPEAKER 3: Looking good.


SPEAKER 3: There's

no significant electro

mechanical interference.

PAUL LEE: Really?


SPEAKER 3: So that's good.

That's one hurdle.


SPEAKER 3: It's not

every hurdle.

PAUL LEE: I understand,

first things first.

Take one at a time.

Step one was passed.

Next step, get you in a race car

again hooked up with a heart

monitor to see your heart rate

and everything like that,

actually driving a car.

So we did that about a month


And we made three runs that day.

And on the last run,

I ran my best time ever.

I ran a 390th.

SPEAKER 4: 322 miles an hour.

Nice job, Paul.

PAUL LEE: When you have a heart

attack, NHRA requires

a cardiologist's signature

to sign off on my license.

SPEAKER 3: Just looking

at the heart muscle.

And now we're-- with the colors,

we're looking at the blood flow.

SPEAKER 2: After over a year

of rehab and working

on bettering his health,

I can't tell what this means

for Paul.

This is nerve-wracking.

After all this time,

I hope it works out for Paul


SPEAKER 3: Now we're just

looking at the heart

and the valves within the heart,

the mitral valve.

PAUL LEE: And we got back,

and they had my heart rate.

And they said, you know,

your heart's good.

SPEAKER 3: I don't see

any reason why you can't race.

There's two green flags

from our point of view.

PAUL LEE: So he agreed to sign

off on my license.

And now I was back to being

a licensed driver.

That started the next journey

of actually getting back, racing


It felt great in, not only being

back on the race track

and realizing I could drive

the car no problem, but my heart

felt good.

And that was what I was

concerned with.

I had a lot of anxiety,

just worried about, is my heart

going to be able to take this?

It was great to be back.

I was so happy.

You couldn't believe how happy I


When you hit the gas pedal

on one of these things,

it's like slamming you back

in your seat from the g-forces.

The ground shakes.

Actually, it measures

on a Richter scale

at an NHRA drag race.

Even if you're in the stands,

you feel it against your chest.

Every time I hear a nitro

engine, I just close my eyes.

It's music to my ears.

The tires smoke.

The drag strip has

this certain smell that only

a drag strip has.

And the people that love

the sport just

love being at the track.

There's just no other experience

for auto racing than an NHRA

drag race.

SPEAKER 2: Paul Lee got back,

got clearance, and is back

in the car

now playing with the Straight

Line Strategies Group.

And he has got

a championship-winning team

behind him.

And that, obviously,

is the goal, to get out here

and win the NHRA championship.

PAUL LEE: One of the things

that I've always realized,

and especially after my heart


it's not the racing that's


It's who I race with.

Because this team is not just

my team.

This is my friends

and my family.

Because when I had my heart

attack, the one thing that was

going through my mind

as I was going to the hospital

was, I haven't had a chance

to tell all my friends

and my family that I love them.

And basically, we're all just

one big, happy family.

And that's what it's all about.

It's a team sport.

And I have a whole team

behind me.

But when I get up

at the starting line,

it's me against the other guy.

There you go, guys.

Let's do it.

And I love that.

And I want to beat

that other guy.


I wouldn't trade it

for anything.

It's the greatest sport.

The Description of The Green Light: A Race Car Driver's Journey Back From Heart Attack | WebMD