Posted: Dec 13, 2012
OUSCI Competitor Dave Pulley's 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Every year, OPTIMA searches for the very best at the SEMA Show, making sure the title of "Ultimate Street Car" is well-deserved. In 2012, the selection committee had their sights set on Dave Pulley's 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and with good reason. His 686-horsepower pony car went well above and beyond the already potent 540-horsepower combination produced by Shelby.
A few years ago, many SEMA invitees to the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Royal Purple and KN, didn't know quite what to make of the offer. Most were intrigued and probably excited, but mostly about the unknown. When the OUSCI began airing on TV, that all changed.
Now when golden ticket winners are announced at SEMA, competitors know enough about the event, that excitement, nervousness or a general feeling of being overwhelmed hit a lot of them when they hear their name called. In Dave's case, it was all three feelings, but his weekend was about to get even more complicated.
Earlier in the week, Dave had met the late Caroll Shelby's wife, Cleo at SEMA. Cleo was impressed with Dave's car and he offered her a ride in it for the parade at the conclusion of the SEMA show. Pulley didn't even have the OUSCI on his radar at that point and felt it didn't hurt to ask, even though he never expected Mrs. Shelby to take him up on the offer.
The shock of being invited to compete in the OUSCI had barely sunk in, when Pulley was told Cleo Shelby had decided to take him up on his offer for a ride. It was the thrill of a lifetime for a diehard Shelby fan and Dave felt he couldn't pass up the chance, even if it meant sacrificing a few points in the Detroit Speed/JRI Shocks Road Rally.
Dave managed to get his car out of the show first and was escorted to the back of the building, but that was nowhere near either the parade or the Road Rally. He and Cleo spent the better part of an hour driving around the exhibit halls at SEMA, trying to find the parade, but finally gave up and headed for Shelby world headquarters, where he met up with the rest of the group.
When the Road Rally headed out for Pahrump, Dave had to take Mrs. Shelby back to her hotel and ended up driving straight to Pahrump, effectively missing all the checkpoints along the route. The day of the event started out better, as Pulley's Mustang scored well in the Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge, finishing 16th overall. (You can see more information on the paint work on his hood here.)
However, when Dave hit the track for the BF Goodrich Hot Lap Challenge, the stock clutch began to exhibit issues that didn't allow the GT500 to perform anywhere near it's potential for the rest of the day. Dave did enjoy the experience and is already making plans for 2013, including a new Centerforce clutch and new rubber from BFGoodrich.
Like many of the golden ticket invitees, Dave came to SEMA expecting to show his car, not race it. The suspension had only been installed two weeks prior and there really wasn't any time to spend dialing the car in before hitting the track. We applaud all the competitors for their willingness to push their cars to the limits, especially those like Dave, who came into SEMA not even thinking they might be doing something like this with their cars at the end of the week.
Pulley wants to make a return visit to the OUSCI in 2013 and has already secured an entry in the 2013 Sandhills Open Road Challenge, the most-exclusive open road racing event in the country and a known OUSCI qualifying event in past years. However, Dave will also want to take a look at the OUSCI rules regarding returning vehicles, to make sure his car is eligible.
We know how challenging the SORC can be, so we wish Dave good luck and look forward to seeing him out there in 2013!