Gainesville Densham report

Early exit prompts changes for Densham GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 21) -- Fighting for a world championship in the competitive world of professional drag racing requires several components coming together for a team over the course of the ...

Early exit prompts changes for Densham

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 21) -- Fighting for a world championship in the competitive world of professional drag racing requires several components coming together for a team over the course of the 22-event National Hot Rod Association season. The most important ingredient is winning rounds and collecting points at every race.

NEC/Auto Club of Southern California Funny Car driver Gary Densham knows that better than most drivers. After all, he's been racing in the NHRA for 33 years. That's why his first round exit at this weekend's 30th Annual Mac Tools Nationals prompted the 52-year-old California native to immediately call for some changes with his team.

"I've decided that we're going to stay here (at Gainesville Raceway) and run this car until I figure out what's wrong with it," Densham said. "We were making great power all weekend and every time out we'd just throw it all because the clutch wasn't set-up right and the tires would start spinning. That first round loss was a perfect example of our problems."

After qualifying in the No. 11 position, Densham opened Sunday's elimination action against No. 6 qualifier Tim Wilkerson. The race started with a huge hole-shot by Densham as he reacted to the green light in 0.491 seconds to Wilkerson's 0.546 start. But by mid-track Densham's tires began to emit puffs of smoke signifying that his tires were losing traction. Wilkerson's car then passed the NEC/Auto Club machine and drove on to a 4.976-second, 290.88-mph win. Densham followed with a 5.214-second, 262.03-mph lap.

"We've been anxious to test the new five-disc clutch that everyone has been using and maybe this is the time to make the change," Densham said. "We'll have get some laps on it to see how it works. I still like the old clutch system. Obviously, the old kind still works because (John) Force runs a four-disc system and he just won the race. But if the five-disc clutch turns out to be better for us then we might make the switch for good. It look's to be the way of the future in the Nitro classes."

Densham's next race takes place during the NHRA's next stop at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas on April 8-11.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Densham , Tim Wilkerson