Houston Success Buoys Team Densham

HOUSTON (April 12) -- The objective for the entire Densham Motorsports crew was clear when they descended on Houston Raceway Park for the 12th running of the O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil last Friday -- prove that their NEC/Auto...

HOUSTON (April 12) -- The objective for the entire Densham Motorsports crew was clear when they descended on Houston Raceway Park for the 12th running of the O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil last Friday -- prove that their NEC/Auto Club of Southern California Funny Car belonged with the sport's big boys.

After three days of hard work and plenty of spectacular drag racing the word came from team owner Gary Densham himself -- mission accomplished.

"This was a great weekend for us," Densham said. "We didn't win; boo, hoo, hoo. But we did do everything else right. We qualified well, we ran well and we won a round on Sunday. We're starting to look and act like a top-level team and that's our biggest goal for the whole season. We want to stay up there with the best teams even though we run on a fraction of the budget they have. We're making up for our shortcomings with hard work and determination."

Team Densham's hard work and determination produced their best qualifying effort of the 1999 season, a 5.010-second, 302.48-mph pass that earned the group the seventh spot on the qualifying ladder. They then parlayed their qualifying success into a first round win over Dale Creasy Jr. during Sunday's elimination session. During the win over Creasy, Densham's NEC/Auto Club of Southern California Funny Car ran it's best lap of the race, a 5.002-second blast at 303.09 mph.

The title quest came to an end in the quarterfinals when Densham's consistent machine ran a 5.022-second lap at 286.50 mph against Tony Pedregon's 4.924-second, 310.77-mph run. Pedregon went on to finish as the runner-up to John Force.

The entire effort paid off big in the Winston championship points standings where Densham jumped from the eighth to the fifth spot. "Things could have only gone better if we had won the race," Densham said. "We did hurt a few more parts then we should have but we were not about to back down during the heat of the battle. The new five-disc clutch system we installed after Gainesville has really made a difference with the car. We truly do belong in that top level of drivers now."

Densham's next race runs from April 22-25 at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, which is just south of Dallas. "We always want to do well in Big D because AAA has their main Texas offices there. I would love to show those folks a victory celebration."

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Densham