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.

Previous INNERviews
Cole Coonce — 8/8/03
John Force, Part 1 — 7/16/03

John Force, Part 2 — 7/25/03

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