READING, Pa. -- Schoolteachers are always figuring out ways to gain information. That's exactly what Gary Densham, the high school auto shop instructor and pilot of the NEC/AAA Club of Southern California Nitro Funny Car, hopes to do prior to ...
READING, Pa. -- Schoolteachers are always figuring out ways to gain information. That's exactly what Gary Densham, the high school auto shop instructor and pilot of the NEC/AAA Club of Southern California Nitro Funny Car, hopes to do prior to Friday's opening day of professional qualifying for the 14th annual Pioneer Keystone Nationals.
"We've got a brand new track to contend with this year in Reading," Densham said. "It makes it a real crap shoot for everyone. But if history is any gauge, we'll be fine. They've changed the track three times in the last three years and its always turned out great. Plus, the initial reports I've heard are all good. Apparently there is new concrete on the first 500 feet of track which will translate to some really quick times. I'm anxious to get there and study how the sportsman guys hold up on Thursday."
Arriving at the track a day early to study the track is the latest tactic that Densham and crew have taken in their search for a win. Over the last seven races, Densham has suffered six first round eliminations despite running an elapsed time that would have won several of the other opening races. To add to the pain of the discouraging early exits, many of Densham's first round foes have gone on to lose in the second round.
"We keep catching everyone at the wrong time," Densham said. "It's like running into a buzz saw. The good news is that our car has been strong and consistent all year. I've been at this for a long time and I know how sweet it'll be when we start winning. It just hurts for now because the guys on the crew deserve some reward for their hard work. That's why I want to get a head start on studying this track.
"I hope the information my friends have given me about Reading is right on target. We've been running down some marginal tracks this summer and it will be fun to finally have a good track where we can go real fast. That favors us. Everyone on the team is pumped about the car and how it has been running. It's been frustrating to have such a great car and not be able to show it off on race day. But I believe the glory days will be here soon, hopefully right here in Reading. I just need to do my homework."
Densham has won four elimination round races in 14 events this season. He is currently in 13th place in the Winston Funny Car points standings.