Seattle Return to Basics Has Densham Excited

Return to basics has Densham excited SEATTLE (July 23) -- Coming off his best qualifying effort of the year, Funny Car pilot Gary Densham returns to Seattle International Raceway for the annual Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals ...

Return to basics has Densham excited

SEATTLE (July 23) -- Coming off his best qualifying effort of the year, Funny Car pilot Gary Densham returns to Seattle International Raceway for the annual Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals brimming with confidence.

The former high school auto shop teacher, who won the Northwest Nationals in 1995, placed his sleek NEC/Auto Club of Southern Calif. Pontiac Firebird into the No. 6 spot of the qualifying field during the National Hot Rod Association's last stop in Denver. Unfortunately, eventual winner Tony Pedregon eliminated Densham from Mile-High title contention on Race Day. But that hasn't dimmed the optimism of the 52-year-old from Bellflower, Calif. as he heads to Seattle's famous strip.

"I'm so excited about our hot rod," Densham said. "We've been going back and forth between the new clutch system and the old one and our performance has been very erratic. We decided to use the old system, which uses four discs instead of five, and it took us a few races to re-learn the old set-up. We finally found it in Denver.

"The great news is that we ran good enough to be in the top half of the field with what I consider to be an extremely safe tune-up. That was just the basic four-disc set-up. Once we fine-tune it to reach the maximum potential, we should really be able to compete.

"I've been saying all season that the five-disc clutch is the future of our class. I still firmly believe that. But John Force has won eight races this year with a four-disc clutch, which tells me that a four-disc clutch can still get it done at this level.

"We had a dream weekend in Seattle a few years ago and I'd love to have another one. Aside from the Northwest Nationals title we won there, I've been fortunate enough to win a bunch of match races and other events at that track. I know S.I.R. pretty well. Hopefully that knowledge will help us this time through. I'm as confident now as I've been all year."

Densham is currently in 14th place in the Winston championship points standings. He has qualified for nine national events this season and has logged four elimination round wins. His best finish of the season came in Pomona, Calif., where he grabbed runner-up honors.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Gary Densham