Columbus: John Densham final summary

Densham detonates in first-round disappointment KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio -- It was a crazy weekend for Racebricks Chevrolet Monte Carlo Funny car driver Gary Densham at the 41st annual Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals presented by Summit Racing. The...

Densham detonates in first-round disappointment

KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio -- It was a crazy weekend for Racebricks Chevrolet Monte Carlo Funny car driver Gary Densham at the 41st annual Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals presented by Summit Racing. The former schoolteacher from Bellflower, Calif., was on a definite high after qualifying with his fastest pass of the year and counting himself among one of only seven drivers to even traverse National Trail Raceway on a cooler-than-expected Friday afternoon.

Then, when the sun came out and totally changed the racing surface during Saturday's final two qualifying sessions, Densham watched as car after car managed to get around him on the qualifying sheet while he simply overpowered the racetrack.

Nevertheless, Densham's Racebricks team, which is populated by his former students, were optimistic as their man lined up against Robert Hight in Sunday's first round. As it turns out, they had every reason to be pumped up as Densham left the starting line first by a sizable two hundredths of a second and led for the first half of the quarter mile. But then the supercharger blew unexpectedly and Densham could only watch as Hight zipped around him for the victory.

"I never saw him and never heard him so I knew I was out front," Densham said if his rookie rival. "Then kaboom, the blower let go. My car decelerated so fast my head would have hit the dashboard if I wasn't strapped in. That's just such a helpless feeling to watch someone drive past you and you're car is just dead in the water.

"That's a great team over there. I know because that was my team for the last four years. I love those guys but I wanted to whup 'em today."

Densham and Co. will have to thrash to get their car repaired and back together in time for next weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kan.

"If the blower is really badly damaged we're in trouble," Densham said. "We might not get any sleep this week. But we'll be there ready for the fight."

-dhr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Densham