Very Sad News

Monday, September 15, 2008 It is with a heavy heart I must convey that my father, Joseph Pendergast, passed away on Sunday, September 14, 2008 at 12:45 PM at 69 years of age. Joe succumbed to complications from pneumonia, which he was originally diagnosed with on May 9, 2008. He was recovering and in decent condition until Friday, September 5, when he was admitted to the hospital with breathing difficulties. On Sunday, September 7th, he was moved from a regular room into CCU (Cardiac Care Unit) for better monitoring. Over the following week, he had increasing difficulty with breathing, which was exacerbated by the pneumonia, which had spread into both lungs. Joe passed peacefully surrounded by his family. Joe is succeeded by his wife of 45 years, Carol, daughter Michele and son Tim, and beloved grandchildren Joshua, Megan and Alexis.

Joe was owner and general manager of West Coast Caterers, an airline caterer, until it was sold to Dobbs House in 1973. At that point, he returned to college at the University of South Florida, where he graduated in 1976 with a BA in Finance. After graduating from USF, he attended and graduated from the University of Miami School of Law with the degree of Juris Doctor.

Joe's involvement in racing began when he attended the NASCAR Grand National Race in Daytona Beach in 1958 (the last race on the beach). In the same year, he also attended his first Sebring 12 Hours, which would become his favorite race track. His enthusiasm of the sport grew and included amateur drag racing and go-kart racing. In the early 70's, after selling West Coast Caterers, he began collecting and restoring vintage cars. Joe's collection of cars through the years included a: Porsche 906 (2), Porsche 908, Porsche Speedster, Elva Porsche, Cunningham C-2R, Allard J-2X, Lister Chevrolet, Ferrari 212 Barchetta, Ferrari 250 MM, Ferrari Daytona, Ferrari 275 GTB/4, Jaguar SS100, which all began with a 1929 Packard Roadster, amongst others. Joe restored many of these cars, as well as racing them at vintage events across the US.

His involvement in vintage racing progressed from competing in vintage races to becoming General Manager and Competition Director of SVRA in 1985. Joe was a Partner, General Manager and Competition Director of HSR from it's inception in 1991, building it from 5 small events in 1991 to 9 very successful events in 2002. Joe's only regret prior to passing was not being able return to his role as Competition Director of HSR.

Joe is being cremated. He asked his ashes be spread at his three favorite race tracks: Sebring, Watkins Glen and Laguna Seca. There will be a "Celebration of Joe's Life" on Saturday, September 27, 2008 at 4 PM, in Tampa, FL. The location of the Celebration will be the Carrollwood Recreation Center, 3515 McFarland Rd, Tampa 33618. Everyone is welcome to come and share some funny stories about Joe. If you plan on attending, it would be appreciated if you would RSVP via e-mail to

Please forward this info along. The family greatly appreciates the support we have received and the respect that has been given by all of Joe's friends through the years and especially in this hard time.

    Tim Pendergast

-credit: tim pendergast