Phoenix: Gary Densham preview

Arizona's quickest and fastest man returns PHOENIX (February 21) - Funny Car driver Gary Densham returns to the Valley of the Sun as the undisputed ruler of Firebird International Raceway. The Racebricks/Auto Club-sponsored veteran posted the...

Arizona's quickest and fastest man returns

PHOENIX (February 21) - Funny Car driver Gary Densham returns to the Valley of the Sun as the undisputed ruler of Firebird International Raceway. The Racebricks/Auto Club-sponsored veteran posted the quickest and fastest quarter-mile in state history at last year's Checker, Schuck's, Kragen NHRA Nationals when he clocked a 4.773-second run at 325.77 mph, and he has every intention of bettering his marks in 2005.

Densham, a runner-up at this race in 2003 and the defending champion of the U.S. Nationals, has struck out on his own once again this year after a four-year stint at John Force Racing. The former schoolteacher from Bellflower, Calif., with eight national event victories to his credit, has traded in last year's Mustang for a slick Chevy Monte Carlo.

"We're optimistic about having a good, solid weekend," Densham said. "If we get four qualifying attempts in, we'll have this Racebricks/Auto Club Chevrolet Monte Carlo posting the numbers we need to see to be competitive. I do know we'll be 100-percent ready for this race. I don't know if I could have said that two weeks ago."

After signing new collectables company Racebricks as his primary sponsor in late January, Densham and crew chief Greg Amaral have been thrashing night and day to get all the pieces in place to race. They competed at their home track of Pomona Raceway during the season-opening Carquest Winternationals two weeks ago despite just a few days together as a team, but left town wishing for more after a DNQ.

"Just to be there was a huge accomplishment," Densham said. "We should have and could have done better, but between being a new team and then losing a session to rain and two more rounds to little stupid things, we ended up scared in the final qualifying session and didn't give it enough power. We won't make that mistake again.

"We all know what we're doing and everyone on this team has given 100 percent since they joined us. We were going to test in Las Vegas but it rained so we ended up working through the weekend and getting a bunch of stuff done. It's nice to have two more weeks of work together under our belts."

A fixture on the NHRA tour since the 1970s, Densham has been lifted by the incredible fan support he's received this year.

"We told the fans we'd stay out here and we made good on that promise," Densham said. "They've been incredible supporting me and now getting behind Racebricks and the Auto Club also. Driving the car is a blast but the fans are what keep you coming back. Hopefully, we'll have something for them in Phoenix."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Densham