Legendary NHRA drag racer Bob Glidden died Dec. 17 at the age of 73. In a star-studded career that spanned more than 25 years in Pro Stock, Glidden won 85 events, 10 season championships, and was voted No. 4 on the list of Top 50 racers from NHRA’s first 50 years in 2000.
“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.”
Glidden dominated the class in the late 1970s and 1980s, winning back-to-back season championships in 1974-1975, three in a row (1978-80) and five straight (1985-89)
Glidden, who had carried the Ford banner practically by himself throughout his career, retired in February 1997 to concentrate on engine development for some of Ford’s NASCAR Winston Cup teams, although he came out of retirement to drive occasionally through the 2010 season.
“It is indeed a sad day to learn of Bob Glidden’s passing,” said Edsel B. Ford II, member of Ford Motor Company’s Board of Directors. “For many years, Bob was the true face of the Ford drag racing program, winning 10 NHRA championships with 85 wins. For me, Bob represented what drag racing was all about during his era. He was a self-made man who left his job as a mechanic at a Ford dealership to go racing full-time with a dream, a tireless work ethic and a winning determination.
“The automobile racing industry honored Bob by inducting him into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Additionally, we at Ford were proud to present Bob with Spirit of Ford award in 1989. Bob was a winner who never forgot, or left, his roots in Whiteland, Indiana. We offer our condolences to his wife Etta, as well as his sons Billy and Rusty, who were such a big part of his success.”
Read a full appreciation of Glidden’s storied career here.