Joliet II: Gary Densham final summary

Cinderella story ended by a few feet JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 2, 2005) -- Gary Densham had a daunting task in Sunday's opening round of eliminations at the fifth annual Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals. In the end, two hundredths of a second...

Cinderella story ended by a few feet

JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 2, 2005) -- Gary Densham had a daunting task in Sunday's opening round of eliminations at the fifth annual Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals. In the end, two hundredths of a second kept him from producing what would have been one of the season's biggest Cinderella stories.

After smashing his primary car into the retaining wall during Saturday's qualifying action, Densham and the Racebricks Chevrolet Monte Carlo crew pulled an all-nighter getting their back-up car prepared for action. The hard work paid off as they successfully held onto a spot in the quickest Funny Car field ever assembled.

By the first round of eliminations, the young crew, which was assembled at the start of the season when Densham started his own team after four years at John Force Racing, looked like a group of savvy veterans as they gave their man a racecar that would have won many other rounds, Unfortunately, Densham's 4.855 at 319.22 mph was just edged out by low qualifier Cruz Pedregon's 4.832 at 310.05 mph.

"We got down the track with a good time and I didn't hit anything," Densham joked. "That was a bonus. Seriously, for what this group went through after I hit the wall yesterday, for them to get this car together for me and give me a great chance to win is very rewarding. We really grew up as a team this weekend.

"It was a very close race but we just ran out of racetrack. It felt like my car was gaining on him at the top end but he got to the stripe first. It's never fun to lose, especially in Round 1, but I just can't find a reason to be disappointed with this group."

Up next for the 59-year-old Densham is a trip to the Texas Motorplex near Dallas. Densham is a former winner at the racetrack, as he beat John Force in the final there in 2001.

ESPN2 will air coverage of this weekend's event. Final eliminations will start at 8 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. NHRA 2Day can be seen at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday on ESPN2.

-gdr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon