Englishtown Gary Densham Story

Pedregon ruins Densham's day again ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 25) -- Funny Car driver Gary Densham is starting to get the impression that there is only one other car in the National Hot Rod Association. For the fifth time in eight races this...

Pedregon ruins Densham's day again

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 25) -- Funny Car driver Gary Densham is starting to get the impression that there is only one other car in the National Hot Rod Association.

For the fifth time in eight races this season Densham's luck of the draw had him squaring off against Tony Pedregon in a crucial Sunday elimination showdown. And for the fifth straight time Pedregon got the better of the 52-year-old former high school teacher and beat him to the other end of the track.

"I'm really starting to hate that guy," Densham said with a wry smile. "He owes me so many races now I might never get even with him. But the truth is that it's our fault that we keep running into him. If we could figure out a way to qualify this NEC/Auto Club of Southern California car better than we wouldn't be facing him so early in the day. It would be a lot easier to swallow if we kept running into him in the finals like we did in Pomona. But instead we keep seeing him in the first or second round and he's just killing us."

In qualifying for this past weekend's 30th Annual Mopar Parts Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Densham had a hard time getting his car's rear tires to adhere to the track. Consequentially, he only managed to qualify in the 16th and final spot with a pass of 5.224 seconds at 249.95 mph.

The less-than-desirable starting point meant Densham had to open Sunday's twice-delayed elimination rounds against the smoking-hot Pedregon, who had grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot with a 4.904-second blast at 316.08 mph. The superior elapsed time posted by Pedregon gave him the advantage of lane choice and he ended up with an easy win over a tire-smoking Densham in Round 1. The official numbers saw Pedregon cross the timers in 4.932 seconds at 314.46 mph to Densham's 9.847-second pass at 90.72 mph.

"He's near the top of the points standings (currently in second place) for a reason," Densham said. "He's a darn good driver with a darn good hot rod. Ultimately, if we want to realize our goal of being world champions then we're going to have to reach a point where we can consistently beat guys like him no matter when we run into them. I'm convinced that we'll be in that position at some point in the near future.

"We're working very hard to stay with the front runners and so far we are doing a pretty good job. We're 10th in the points right now and are only a win away from being in the top five. There's a lot of racing left this season and we're going to give it our all every time out."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Gary Densham