KENT, Wash. (Aug. 1) -- The hard luck season of Funny Car driver Gary Densham continued this weekend at Seattle International Raceway when the former high school teacher had another win slip through his hands. This time around the annual Prolong...
KENT, Wash. (Aug. 1) -- The hard luck season of Funny Car driver Gary Densham continued this weekend at Seattle International Raceway when the former high school teacher had another win slip through his hands. This time around the annual Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals, which Densham won just four years ago, was the one that got away.
"It's almost comical," Densham said. "I keep finding ways to give the race to the other guy. People must love it when they get the ladder and see that they're racing against me. They probably say 'There's a sure-fire win.'
"If our NEC/Auto Club car was a piece of junk, this wouldn't bother me so much. But we have a great racecar here. I have to find a way to turn this thing around and take advantage of days like today. If I do that, I'll find the Winner's Circle real quick."
Densham, who struggled during qualifying and wound up in the No. 15 spot with a lap of 5.306 seconds at 266.69 mph, opened Sunday's Race Day action at an apparent disadvantage. His first-round challenger was No. 2 qualifier Whit Bazemore, who had mastered the track with a lap of 5.027 seconds at 290.32 mph.
But when the starting tree was lit, it was the 52-year-old Densham who blazed out to the early lead, pasting Bazemore at the light with a 0.487-second start to Bazemore's 0.544-second launch (0.400 seconds is perfect.) Unfortunately, the NEC/Auto Club machine had too much power and the tires broke contact with the track and instantly turned into a cloud of smoke.
To make matters worse, Bazemore struck his tires also, proving that he was there for the taking. However, he had already traveled far enough down the track that his momentum carried him through a lackluster 5.641-second, 213.60-mph win.
"We battled this track all weekend," Densham said. "Obviously, it was tough for everyone to navigate. Some just did it better than others. It's too bad for the guys. They worked real hard to put a fast car together. It just didn't work out this time.
"We'll continue to work on our consistency in Sonoma. I know that track pretty well and I know it can be every bit as tricky as this one. Maybe we'll get a few breaks and make another charge. I sure liked it better when we were competing at the top of the pack." Densham slipped one spot this weekend to the 15th spot in the Winston championship points standings.