Memphis: Gary Densham preview

Densham returns to site of career first victory MEMPHIS (August 19, 2005) -- Gary Densham knows this weekend is going to be a tough challenge between the heat, the schedule and the competition. Densham knows the further the NHRA POWERade teams...

Densham returns to site of career first victory

MEMPHIS (August 19, 2005) -- Gary Densham knows this weekend is going to be a tough challenge between the heat, the schedule and the competition. Densham knows the further the NHRA POWERade teams march into the 2005 racing schedule, the better the teams, drivers and tuners get.

He also can't wait to start racing his Racebricks Chevy Monte Carlo today at the 18th annual O'Reilly Mid-South NHRA Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. Pro qualifying starts at 4:30 p.m. and continues at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Final eliminations start at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Densham was the runner-up to Gary Clapshaw here in 1995 before earning his first career victory in 2001. He beat his teammate at the time, John Force, in the final, after competing in 244 career events.

"Memphis is the site of my first win so it's a very, very special place for me," Densham said. "It was also the site of my second final-round appearance, but it was the first final round that I was in that I should have won easily.

"For the first time in my life I had everybody covered. I had two-tenths on Clapshaw heading into the final. He even came over and told me he'd skip the final altogether if I gave him $5,000. But I said no. I wanted to win straight up. Then we had a clutch malfunction and he beat me. I guess I dug the wrong clutch discs out of the garbage can before the final. That's a true story."

When Densham thought he didn't have the field covered, he finally won.

"The ironic thing is we had no business winning there (in 2001) but we did so I guess that made up for the loss to Clapshaw," Densham said. "I was like the No. 12 qualifier that weekend. The car was off. I didn't have lane choice all day, but we still won. That's when I realized that sometimes the stars and the planets line up just right for you. Don't get me wrong. I won races when I was driving the baddest car at the track. But you can't discount having some luck every once in awhile."

Densham wouldn't mind a little luck coming his way this weekend too. He would like nothing more than to give the new Racebricks team its first Funny Car victory.

"We're hoping to repeat our win this time," Densham said. "Maybe we can get everything to line up for us again. We're trying to restock our parts and get a solid tune-up for Indy because there are 28 badass racecars pre-registered for Indy and we need to do our best to defend our title. It's very important to me."

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will air all the racing this weekend. Qualifying can be seen at 8 p.m. (ET) on Saturday while the eliminations can be seen at 10 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. NHRA 2Day will start at 11:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunday.

-gs-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Densham