1970 Plymouth Duster Dragster Has a Touching Family Story, Runs 8s

When it comes to drag racing stories, we often hear the ones about legendary racers like Don "Big Daddy" Garlits and Don "The Snake" Prudhomme. But this 1970 Plymouth Dragster comes with a more touching family story that goes back to the 1990s.
1970 Plymouth Duster dragster 1 photo
Meet Gary and Jim Spark, two racers who have been working on and racing the same dragster for decades. Gary, who is 75 now, has been in the sport since 1969 and raced a handful of muscle cars. His son, Jim, got into racing in 1998, when this 1970 Plymouth Duster was purchased.

A 12-second dragster upon purchase, the Duster was repainted and heavily modified. The original 7.2-liter V8 Wedge engine was replaced by a larger, 9.4-liter Mopar crate mill, also of the Wedge variety. With help from a nitrous system and a Dana 4.30 rear end, among other upgrades, Gary and Jim turned the Duster into an eight-second quarter-mile car.

Both of them managed eight-second runs at Byron Dragway, but this achievement is more than just a weekend benchmark. In late 2017, Jim was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, so he's no longer able to race as much as he used to. One of the things on his bucket list was to run the quarter-mile in eight seconds, just like his dad, and it finally happened after three years of work and several struggles along the way.

Gary hits the drag strips first and runs a cool 8.79-second sprint at 152.19 mph (244.92 kph). It's really impressive to see a 75-year-old drive a nitrous-fed car so aggressively. Looking for a similar eight-second pass, Jim jumps into the Duster and, amazingly enough, he pulls an identical 8.79-second run, to go with a trap speed of 150.13 mph (241.61 kph).

This is also Jim's best run ever! And the fact that his entire family was there to support him makes this story that much more heart-warming.

Unfortunately, Jim's health took a turn for the worse a few days after this run and he was placed into a hospital for treatment. Here's to hoping that he will fight through did like the champ that he is and get back to the drag strip alongside his dad for even quicker runs.

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