How long does it take to make a 9-second quarter-mile pass? For some, the answer isn’t even measurable. For most, it never happens. In 1965, Gary Pundsack embarked on a dream to drag race that was put on hold after a 12-year persute. Now, at 73-years of age, Pundsack has reignited a dream that not many get to even pursue, let alone obtain. For Pundsack, the dream hasn’t ended.
I met Gary nearly a year ago at No Fly Zone, a half mile event hosted by Omega Motorsport at the Gila Bend Airport in Arizona. The event was my first half-mile race experience in my 2013 Mustang GT. The car has a VMP GENII blower and the stock exhaust manifolds with catalytic convertors so it really doesn’t make a bunch of noise at or near idle – it’s quite the sleeper.
My first pass of the day began with a 156mph standing half mile speed, the car garnered a bit of attention.
When I returned to the pits I found a decent group of folks waiting to see just what the heck was done to my car. After the small crowd dispersed, Gary was still standing there looking the car up and down. You could tell his curiosity ran deeper than just seeing a blower. Naturally, a conversation ensued and Gary stuck around as the day went on.
As the day continued, I made a few more passes, some with Gary in the passenger seat. With the stage set for a Chevy versus Ford showdown, Gary began to tell me about his days as a competitive drag racer in the 1970’s and that he was looking to build a brand new Ford Mustang that would be 9-second capable and be featured in the 2017 SEMA show.
I was really only half-listening as my focus was fixed on what I needed to do to get the 700whp car down the half-mile stretch.
After a solid burnout we got lined up at the flagger, when the arms dropped we took off.
Much to my surprise, we weren’t only keeping up with the Camaro, we were pulling away from him! I hit third gear so hard that Gary’s phone shot out of his hands while he was trying to record the race. As we blasted through what would be the quarter mile, I missed fifth gear and the ZL1 nearly overtook us. Luckily we were able to recover and ended up crossing the half-mile mark beating the well-built Camaro by about a half a car with a trap speed of 159mph.
It was easily the closest race of the day. Through the entire half-mile Gary was nearly silent but the instant we crossed the finish line he let loose a slew of competitive obscenities about how “that ******* Camaro had nothing for us” and how “he should just keep driving until he gets home.”
It was an extremely close race, but it was at that moment that I knew Gary and I would get along just fine.
As the day went on, Gary continued telling me about his brand new Mustang – that he didn’t even have – and how he was planning to make 1000hp (crank) and have the car shown at SEMA. I don’t know that any of us in the pits actually took him seriously but as a kind gesture, I offered to be of any help I could and we exchanged numbers.
Four months later, I got a text message from Gary. Something to the tune of “the car will be here in two weeks, I have $40,000 dollars worth of sponsor parts coming in two weeks after that, and we have three weeks to put it all together so the car can make the SEMA show for JMS.”
I nearly fell out of my chair.
In four short months, Gary ordered a 300A package 2017 Ford Mustang and secured over forty sponsors that were already committed to being part of his build.
Gary single handedly jump started the re-ignition of his 9 second spirit. To be continued…