Densham closes out the season in Pomona POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2005) -- Gary Densham was enjoying a great performance weekend at the 41st annual Auto Club NHRA Finals. That was, however, until the final day of racing. Densham and the ...
Densham closes out the season in Pomona
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2005) -- Gary Densham was enjoying a great performance weekend at the 41st annual Auto Club NHRA Finals. That was, however, until the final day of racing.
Densham and the Racebricks Chevy Monte Carlo team qualified eighth, turning in a 4.735-second pass at 324.20 mph. It was good enough for lane choice in his first round matchup against Tommy Johnson Jr.
That was before the parts malfunction.
Densham's Funny Car suffered a problem in the clutch line that forced the team to back off the starting line in the first round, giving Johnson a single pass and the first round victory.
"That was the first time in my entire career that I gave someone a single in final eliminations," the Bellflower, Calif., resident said. "There have been times when I have pulled up to the starting line knowing we didn't have the best car or knowing we might not make it all the way down the track. But I have never given anyone a single. That was very disappointing."
As disappointed as Densham was, the former shop teacher was still pleased with his hometown performance throughout the weekend. It was the first time all season that Densham started final eliminations from the top half of the ladder.
"We're still extremely pleased with the way the weekend went," Densham said. "The fact is that we made three great qualifying passes and any one of those would have qualified us in the toughest race in NHRA nitro Funny Cars. If we had not broken an axel on the fourth run, who knows, it could have been a low E.T. pass.
"When you make those kinds of runs in this kind of field, you have to feel really good about what you were able to accomplish."
Still, not being able to race in final eliminations of the season finale hurt just a little for the entire team.
"To have such a good performance all weekend and to lose because of a $4 part is just frustrating. There are no guarantees that we would have won the round, but we would have given him a darn good race.
"It wasn't anyone's fault, it wasn't anything that got overlooked. It was just a parts failure. I'm just sorry we didn't get to race in front of all of my friends and family. Pomona has always been my hometown race track and it's always been very special for me to race here. But we'll get back to work and make sure we make it up to them during next year's season opening event."
The NHRA POWERade season kicks off here at Pomona Raceway, Feb. 9-12, 2006.