Densham dreams of flying by Force DALLAS (April 16) -- So far in 1999, the Funny Car class of the National Hot Rod Association is being ruled by the extremely quick cars of eight-time champion John Force and his protege Tony Pedregon.
Densham dreams of flying by Force
DALLAS (April 16) -- So far in 1999, the Funny Car class of the National Hot Rod Association is being ruled by the extremely quick cars of eight-time champion John Force and his protege Tony Pedregon. The teammates have collected all four national event titles contested so far this season and are resetting national records at an alarming rate. They appear, at times, to be unbeatable in their cutting-edge, state-of-the-art machines.
With the Third Annual Lone Star Nationals next on the agenda April 22-25 at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, Gary Densham, the only man to have beaten Force this year, explains the most realistic way to get the better of the Force and Co.
"The rest of us in the Funny Car field have to hope they take themselves or each other out before they get to the finals and then we pray for them to smoke the tires," said Densham, the pilot of the NEC/Auto Club of Southern California Funny Car. "That's how far ahead of the class they are. Across the board, they are both two-tenths of a second quicker than everyone else. It's incredible, but I know they've worked awfully hard and their results speak for themselves. They're on cruise control right now. Some people don't like it but there isn't a driver in the NHRA that wouldn't swap places with John in the blink of an eye."
So just how do you compete with such an awesome force? Well in Densham's case, he's willing to try anything.
"I'm finally getting behind the controls of a machine I know will blow John right out of the water," Densham said with a wink. "At great long last, my dreams will be realized." Densham is alluding to a very special day he has planned prior to arriving in Dallas. He has been invited to ride along with the United States Navy's Blue Angels aerobatic show team in an F-18 Hornet military attack jet.
"That baby goes Mach 1.7, or about 1,200 mph, so all I need to do is figure out how to strap that engine in my NEC/Auto Club of Southern California Firebird and sneak it by the guys in tech and I might be able to give John and Tony a run for their money.
"Obviously, I'm thrilled at this opportunity the Navy is giving me. I know (Top Fuel champion Gary) Scelzi took a ride with them and he passed out. And then Whit (Bazemore) went with them and lost his lunch. I'll probably do both but I'll still have a big ol' grin on my face. It just has to be awesome to feel that sort of power.
"But since I can't really race the jet, we'll have to try and catch Force the old fashioned way - by out-working him. The track in Dallas is great all the way down so there's a better chance at being able to put all of our power down on the track. Our car is running great and we'll be ready to fight it out every round. We'll do everything we can to win this race."