'Fired up' Densham ready for Houston

HOUSTON (March 30) - It's easy to put a smile on the face of a 33-year drag racing veteran like school-teacher-turned-Funny-Car-driver Gary Densham - show him how to go faster. That's exactly what a new piece of equipment has done for...

HOUSTON (March 30) - It's easy to put a smile on the face of a 33-year drag racing veteran like school-teacher-turned-Funny-Car-driver Gary Densham - show him how to go faster. That's exactly what a new piece of equipment has done for Densham and his Team NEC/Auto Club of Southern California crew. Since the National Hot Rod Association's last race in Gainesville, Fla., Densham has spent several hours working with a new clutch system. So far, the results have been so positive that the 52-year-old from Bellflower, Calif. is practically busting at the seams to try his new theories against the world's best drivers. He'll get his chance soon enough at the NHRA's next stop - the O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil, which run from April 8-11 at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas. "The entire team is as fired-up as we've been in a long time," Densham said. "We can't wait to get back to racing. We have known for some time that we've been making great power. Our trouble this year has come when we try to put that power on the track. We always end up overpowering the track at some point and smoking the tires. "After racing the car with every conceivable clutch set-up we could think of to combat this problem, we knew it was time to go in a different direction with the clutch. So after the Gainesville race was over we decided to stay at the track and try out the new five-disc clutch system that everyone is switching to. It couldn't have worked any better. "Every lap we made I was grinning from ear-to-ear inside my helmet because I knew we were on to something great. The car was so smooth and just kept pulling all the way down the track like it was ready to go faster and faster. We had absolutely no signs of traction problems. It was awesome. Put it this way, I've been around racing a long time and I'm very, very impressed with this clutch system. It's definitely the way of the future. "Finally, it looks as though we'll be able to see just how much horsepower we really have. Houston is a track that can hold just about anything you throw at it so we're ready to go very fast and contend for the title. I can't wait to get there." Densham is currently in eighth place in the Winston Championship points standings.

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