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Ten-Time NHRA Champion Bob Glidden Dies at Age 73

Bob Glidden, NHRA, Pro Stock

Bob Glidden won 10 NHRA Pro Stock championships in his 25-year career in the drag racing series

Bob Glidden, one of the most prolific Ford drivers in the history of NHRA Drag Racing, whose career spanned three decades in the Pro Stock division, died on Dec. 13, 2017. He was 73. Glidden won 10 NHRA Drag Racing championships and 85 events in his 25-year career in Pro Stock. He was voted No. 4 on the list of top 50 drivers released by the NHRA in 2000.

Glidden, who was also known as “Mad Dog” in NHRA garages for his unrelenting work ethic, started his drag racing career in Stock and Super Stocks. He raced 427 Ford Fairlanes and 428 Ford Cobra Jet Mustangs in 1968. He turned pro in 1972 and won his first Pro Stock championship in 1974. He won back-to-back titles in 1974-75, three in a row from 1978-80 and five in a row from 1985-89.

Glidden was once asked what contributed to his success, he said in a release from NHRA, “Common sense and the will to survive. I know that I have to hustle to win and that I have to go all out to afford to race.”

Glidden left his mark in NHRA Drag Racing and with Ford. The NHRA Drag Racing community mourns the passing of one of the most successful drivers in the history of the series.

“Everyone in the NHRA community is saddened to learn the news of Bob’s passing,” said NHRA President Peter Clifford. “He was a true competitor who left a lasting legacy of excellence both on and off the track. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest condolences are with the Glidden family at this difficult time.”

In Glidden’s first NHRA Pro Stock event, the season finale Springnationals in 1972, he was the runner-up to Bill Jenkins. Glidden drove a Pinto Pro Stocker from Wayne Gapp and Jack Roush in the Springnationals.

Glidden won his first NHRA Pro Stock race the following year in 1973 at the U.S. Nationals. He beat Gapp and set a national record with a 9.03-second pass at 152.54 mph.

Glidden’s first NHRA Pro Stock championship came in 1974 when he won three events, including the U.S. Nationals again. He won seven events in 1975 en route to his second NHRA Pro Stock championship.

Bob Glidden, NHRA, Pro Stock

Bob Glidden started his NHRA pro career in 1972 in a Pinto Pro Stocker

In his third championship season in 1978, Glidden set a number of records. He was the No. 1 qualifier in 23 events in a row, including all 14 events in 1978. He won nine national events in a row, a streak that carried over two years.

He won seven national events in a row to close out the 1978 season and a Pro Stock championship. He opened the 1979 season with two more national event wins. He lost only three times in 1979 and didn’t lose a round until June at the Mile-High Nationals.

Glidden’s third Pro Stock championship in a row in 1980 came with some drama. He trailed Lee Shepherd when they entered the season finale in Ontario, California. Shepherd’s transmission broke in the second round and Glidden went on to win the event and the Pro Stock championship, the fifth of his career.

Shepherd snapped Glidden’s championship streak in 1981. Buddy Morrison, one of the partners who owned Shepherd’s Reher-Morrison team, said Glidden was the motivation to his team’s championship run in 1981.

“We finally got tired of losing and of Glidden winning so easily,” Morrison said in a release. “We decided that we either had to make the same kind of commitment to racing that he did or get out. We didn't want to get out.”

Glidden started his third championship streak in 1985. Driving a Ford Thunderbird he received in 1984, Glidden won five national events and his sixth championship in 1985.

Glidden won his sixth Pro Stock championship after crashing his Thunderbird early in the season. He didn’t win his first event until the Mile-High Nationals in July, the start of three in a row. He capped his championship season by winning six of the final seven races of the season.

Bob Glidden, NHRA, Pro Stock

Bob Glidden won the 1985 NHRA Pro Stock championship, his seventh, in a Ford Thunderbird

He won eight national events and the 60th of his career in his championship of 1987. He was also the No. 1 qualifier in all 14 events in 1987.

Glidden won five of the last seven events to win the Pro Stock championship in 1988. He saved his best championship season for last. He won nine events in 1989 and captured his 10th and final Pro Stock championship. He won five of the first seven events of the 1989 season. He won the season-ending Winston Finals, giving him 76 career wins at the time, 49 during the 1980s.

He won his 85th and final event at the Mopar Parts Nationals in 1995. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1994.


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