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NHRA: Bob Glidden Returns to Competition at Indy

27 August 1998

CLERMONT, Ind. -- Bob Glidden, NHRA's winningest driver, will come out of retirement for the 44th annual U.S. Nationals and drive a second Dynagear Pontiac Firebird for Steve Schmidt, Schmidt Racing announced at the VisionAire NorthStar Nationals at Brainerd, Minn.

Glidden, 54, who earned 85 victories and 10 NHRA Winston championships during his 22 year Pro Stock career stepped away from the sport following completion of the 1997 Winternationals. During the last 19 months he has been mainly an engine consultant for a variety of racing operations, including NASCAR Winston Cup driver Geoff Bodine.

The return to the U.S. Nationals will be a special one for Glidden, a resident of nearby Whiteland, Ind., who constructed an impressive record at IRP during his career. Glidden won drag racing's most prestigious event nine times and made an amazing 13 consecutive final round appearances in the event from 1977 to 1989.

"We thought about making our debut at Denver, but it didn't seem like the right thing to do," Glidden said. "Indy is Indy. It's also my home and I have a lot of great memories at that track. Even during our worst years it always seemed like we had good luck at Indy."

Glidden last won at the U.S. Nationals in 1988. His last final round appearance there was in 1989, when he lost to Larry Morgan. His last race at Indy was in 1996, when he qualified 16th and lost in the first round to Jim Yates.

Said Schmidt, a resident of Indianapolis, "Bob has been a close friend ever since we worked as line mechanics at two automotive dealerships across the street from each other in Indianapolis in 1969. Since Bob has retired from our sport, he has admitted to me that he misses drag racing, especially his loyal fans. This gives Bob an opportunity to compete again, and in return we will have his many years of engine-building experience added to our braintrust, a factor that will help us in our ultimate goal of winning the NHRA Winston championship."

Glidden, who had much of his success in Ford machines, is looking forward to getting back under the hood of a Pro Stock car, no matter the brand.

"When you've done this for 25 years you develop your own little tweaks and generally it applies across the board," Glidden said. "I'm looking forward to working with Steve. At this point our deal is just for Indy. If that works out, then we'll go from there."

He is also looking forward to seeing many of his longtime fans again.

"After 25 years of racing you take for granted how the fans make you feel until you walk away from it for a while," Glidden said. "Whenever I see the fans now it really makes me reflect. I'm looking forward to seeing all of my fans again."