AUS: NHRA's Densham to attend New Year's event

International Champ Coming To Ipswich The Worldly appeal of Queensland's Willowbank Raceway will be reinforced on January 1 during the finals of the 39th iTEL Community Telco Drag Racing Nationals, when International heavyweight driver Gary ...

International Champ Coming To Ipswich

The Worldly appeal of Queensland's Willowbank Raceway will be reinforced on January 1 during the finals of the 39th iTEL Community Telco Drag Racing Nationals, when International heavyweight driver Gary Densham drops by for a New Year's Day visit.

The American competitor, who this year secured the U-S Nationals title and the $100 000 Skoal Shootout prize in the Funny Car division of the NHRA Series Event, will rekindle many friendships with Raceway officials and drivers.

Densham, a huge supporter of Willowbank Raceway since it first opened its gates in 1985, will sign autographs and chat to the many fans expected to attend the day/night iTEL Nationals finals program.

Raceway Chairman John Winterburn is a close, personal friend of the American and is ecstatic the 58 year-old driving veteran will finally be able to make a return to the Ipswich strip.

"Gary is a big part of what Willowbank Raceway represents today having supported its establishment after the closure of the Surfers Paradise strip back in the mid 80's," said Winterburn.

"We even have a commemorative clock that still operates in the track tower which Gary and his wife Joanne presented to the Raceway during the official opening nearly 20 years ago.

"During the Gold Coast days I was in charge of chauffeuring all visiting International teams and along the way Gary and I became good mates.

"This was at a time when drag racing was enjoying tremendous support and I'm sure he'll be happy to see a renewed enthusiasm among Australian drag racing fans during his New Year's Day visit.

"Once again we are looking towards another exciting year ahead for Queensland and Australian drag racing and the iTEL Nationals is bound to be a tremendous showcase as drivers vie for the coveted Gold Christmas Trees."

Densham has gone from strength to strength the past four years after securing his first Event victory in the tough NHRA Series during 2001.

Since then he's been able to notch four straight season finishes inside the top five of Funny Cars and this season was runner-up in the prestigious Winternationals showcase at Pomona Raceway.

Likewise credentialed drivers such as Queensland's own Australian Championship titleholders Gary Phillips, Brett Stevens, Tony Wedlock and Daniel Peatey have qualified for the iTEL Nationals finals and will be counting on a good start to the New Year.

"The most impressive part of the qualifying rounds of the iTEL Nationals held recently at Willowbank Raceway were the outstanding elapsed times and speeds of the Group One competitors," added Winterburn.

"We had Victorian Darren Morgan securing a time just outside the Australian Top Fuel record so his team would have analysed all the data and be looking to go even quicker on January 1.

"Brisbane's Ben Bray showed up his more experienced rivals in the highly competitive Top Doorslammer bracket and is shaping well to secure three straight Event titles at his home track after capturing last season's Tin Top Titles and Winternationals crowns.

"All-in-all it's bound to be an electric atmosphere come finals time and Willowbank Raceway will be the place to be for all Queensland families as we celebrate the New Year in typical drag racing style."

The November 5-7 iTEL Nationals program was switched to January 1 following inclement weather conditions forcing the abandonment of all racing.

The 39th iTEL Nationals enjoys the continued support of the Queensland Government through Queensland Events.

39th iTEL COMMUNITY TELCO AUSTRALIAN DRAG RACING NATIONALS -- ELIMINATORS JANUARY 1, 2005

-bam-

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Series General
Drivers Gary Densham , John Winter