Memphis: Gary Densham final summary

Densham sweats Worsham before exiting early MEMPHIS (August 21, 2005) -- It's not very often when a first-round loser is happy with the result but that's exactly the case for Racebricks Funny Car driver Gary Densham. Well, sort of. After a ...

Densham sweats Worsham before exiting early

MEMPHIS (August 21, 2005) -- It's not very often when a first-round loser is happy with the result but that's exactly the case for Racebricks Funny Car driver Gary Densham. Well, sort of. After a sensational start, Densham's powerful Chevrolet Monte Carlo quickly overpowered the 140-degree racing surface at Memphis Motorsports Park and he simply watched as opponent Del Worsham drove away for a lucky victory. Densham's first words when he exited his racecar? "I'm lucky. I get to leave town early."

It has been one of the hottest race weekends on record with triple-digit readings all three days of the 18th annual O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals presented by Pennzoil. For Densham, a veteran of four decades of Funny Car racing, this race might rank as one of the hottest of all time.

"If it was hotter somewhere I can't remember," Densham said as his wife Joanne covered his head with an icy towel. "This has been brutal and it makes tuning these cars a real headache. But we're all dealing with the same conditions so you just do what you can to deal with it.

"We had a great start there at the Christmas Tree but we didn't calm down the car enough in that area where you have to calm it down and the tires just spun right up. It's hard to tune a 7,000 horsepower Funny Car. It's even harder to de-tune it. It goes against everything your brain wants you to do."

Despite being the oldest full-time competitor in the class at 58 years old, Densham still posted the second quickest reaction time of the opening round when he blistered Worsham with a .068-second light to Worsham's dead-late .129-second start. But soon after his car passed the first timing cone his massive rear tires began to smoke and he just couldn't contain the horsepower. Worsham was beatable with a 5.199-second elapsed time but Densham didn't have him in it on this weekend.

"We actually learned some more here so we'll take that data and head straight to Indy tonight for a big test session Tuesday and Wednesday," Densham said. "We need to have a good showing there. It's very important to me that we run well at the biggest race of the year."

Densham is the defending champion of drag racing's premier event, which takes place over Labor Day weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing event is the 51st annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Aug. 31-Sept. 5.

-gs-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Gary Densham