DRO: And this
is your chassis. You own this chassis.
GD: No, no. First
of all I wouldnít own it to begin with because
of the way I fit in the car. I still have my
truck and my trailer and all that sort of stuff.
I would need to find considerable financing;
weíve created such labor-intensive monsters
out of these things where you need good personnel.
Iíd have to update some of the things that Iíve
had from a few years ago, how it all falls together
I donít know, and thatís an honest answer at
this point. Thereís some issues that John has
to address with his people on what the ultimate
scenario is going to be. We hope to have a much
closer understanding of what is going to happen
by the time we get to Indy, because if Iím not
fortunate enough to stay here and be part of
the operation that we have going right now,
then I have kind of an uphill battle to find
some financing to put stuff together because
I donít want to leave here. Itís just that simple.
I want to be a part of NHRA Drag Racing for
many, many, many years to come. There will be
some point probably along the line where I may
elect not to drive the car or I feel that Iím
not doing it properly enough that Iím hurting
the team. We all might get to a point like that
someday. We all have, we that have been in it
a long time and live it every time we see Chris
Peterson go out and set a career best run like
he did this weekend. It all gives us hope that
we still got another 20 years.
DRO: By hooking
up with John three years ago it gave you some
incredible visibility that you never had before.
GD: Itís a situation
that this is the team in NHRA Drag racing Funny
Car class. It has been for 13 years now and
to be a part of it and have the opportunity,
I think it showed a lot of people that if I
had some financing before, that I might have
been more successful to be honest. Iíve had
a thousand people ask me, "Weíre you ever really
discouraged that you hadnít won any more than
you did before you came with John?" Well, you
always want to win. I never came to a starting
line not thinking I was going to win or wanting
to win. But I also had more fun that anybody
else in drag racing. I had nine runner-up finishes
and I won a lot of other things. I won HRA championships,
and AHRA and IHRA national events and not a
lot, but some of the old 64 Funny Car shows
and 32 Funny Car shows. So it wasnít that it
was a horrible disaster. Just to be part of
it is a great thing to be able to do. Would
I have liked to have had more financing to be
able to have more parts and personnel? Hell
yes. There were probably some decisions that
I made personally that maybe hurt us years ago
where I could have taken more money and maybe
been able to build it into an empire to challenge
John. I was stuck between a rock and a hard
spot, where I really liked to work with the
kids, and it would have meant leaving that,
and that was a very difficult decision to make.
But the thing that became the best of both worlds
was to be able to do the school program with
auto club and to able to have all the right
parts and pieces to race with John.
DRO: Are there
a lot of your students that come by?
GD: Every race
at every place in the country. And I wonder
to this day sometimes how when I see a student,
some young man, young woman, screaming, "Mr.
Densham, Mr. Densham, do you remember us in
'82, or '86 or '79," or whatever it was, how
in the hell did they get from Cerritos, California
to Gainesville, Florida, or Minnesota or Topeka,
Kansas? What happened to get them there? You
say you remember them all, you donít after they
introduce themselves. They change from 17 year-old
kids to 30 year-old young men. Most of them
youíre really pleased to see. You look out there
and sometimes you see some with 400 tattoos
and 400 earrings and they look like theyíre
on leave from prison and you think, "Well maybe
you werenít always successful." But the bottom
line is as a teacher Iím way luckier than any
teacher in that I get this kind of response.
Iíll go to some place like Topeka and some guy
will walk up to me and say, "Mr. Densham, remember
I had you in '83 and hereís my wife and hereís
my kids and thereís my new pick up and I work
at John Jones Ford. If it hadnít been for you,
I wouldnít have gotten out of High School."
I did a lot of that. Every year that I taught
school I never once had a bad school night or
an open house that I didnít have some parent
come up and say if it wasnít for your class,
Johnny would have dropped out of school. And
I donít care what it is that keeps kids in school,
athletics or auto shop or band, it also gets
them to make better choices. Unfortunately a
lot of other teachers donít get these kudos,
I mean, how many kids come back and say "Mrs.
White, remember me, I had you in civics and
Iím now President?" "You know, Mrs. Smith I
had you in English and hereís my newest book,
on the NY best sellerís list." They influence
the kids they help. I just happen to be the
lucky one that finds out about it. And because
of the fact of my involvement in racing and
their involvement in cars, some of them got
the passion for the cars that I have and they
pursued it and they became successful that way.
DRO: I hope things
turn around for you.
GD: Trust me,
they will. Weíll be fast and life will be good.