DEARBORN, Mich. – Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing driver Bob Tasca III will honor Ford drag racing legend Bob Glidden with a special throwback paint scheme when he competes at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana over Labor Day weekend. The paint scheme tributes Glidden’s 1987 Ford Thunderbird NHRA Pro Stock championship car.
Between his accomplishments on and off the track, Glidden quickly became a legend in the motorsports community. His impressive professional drag racing career thrived for over 25 years, which saw him earn an incredible 85 NHRA victories, 10 NHRA championships and 122 final round appearances. In 1987, he drove his Motorcraft Thunderbird to eight victories en route to capturing his eighth NHRA championship. There wasn’t a single race that year where he wasn’t the top qualifier.
On top of being inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, Ford Motor Company presented him with the Spirit of Ford award in 1989. After his passing in 2017, Ford established the annual Bob Glidden “85/10” Award for Ford drag racers that epitomize Glidden’s spirit of grit and determination. However, for all of his racing stats, the man was arguably even more impressive outside of his car.
“He was an incredible racer, no doubt, but the qualities of his life that he shared with everyone he met were second to none,” said Tasca. “His work ethic, his determination, his drive… as a young kid, I was just enamored by it.”
Tasca’s life and career were heavily influenced by Glidden, first meeting him at the end of an autograph line in 1987 at New Jersey’s Englishtown Raceway. Upon meeting 12-year-old Tasca, he excitedly asked the young man if he was the grandson of Bob Tasca, Sr., and subsequently invited him into his trailer to meet his sons, Rusty and Billy Glidden.
“It was such a turning point in my life,” explained Tasca. “To have a connection with that kind of an icon. He became one of my biggest heroes, and the rest as they say, is history. Being able to play this small role in celebrating his life, rolling out a car that says Motorcraft, in Indianapolis, with his name on the side window...there’s been a lot of memorable moments in my life, but this will certainly rank at the top of the page.”
Expected to be onsite to see the throwback Funny Car unveiled are Bob Glidden’s wife Etta, and his two sons, Billy and Rusty. All three were instrumental to Glidden’s Hall of Fame career, as they remained very closely involved with his team through the end of his career.
“It’s really nice that people are remembering my dad,” said Billy Glidden, who will be competing at the U.S. Nationals himself this year, in Pro Mod. “He and Mr. Tasca Sr. went back a long way. There was a really strong bond between them, and our families have remained in touch through the years. I’ve even worked on a few engines for Bob III, many years ago. It definitely makes me miss him, but seeing this kind of tribute is very touching for my family.”
Tasca is hoping that the tribute paint scheme will bring the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team good luck, as they sit just one spot outside of the Countdown to the Championship entering Indy, where Glidden himself captured nine U.S. Nationals titles. Currently inside the threshold but not having clinched a spot for championship contention are John Force, Shawn Langdon and fellow Ford driver Tim Wilkerson, who Tasca respectively trails by 132, 68 and 24 points.
“I’m not sure if there’s any truth to the racing gods smiling down from above,” said Tasca. “But I told my team that while we may have our backs against the wall, to have Bob Glidden’s name on the side of your car, at a race track he owned, it’s just going to be one of those weekends where I truly believe great things are going to happen for our team.
The NHRA U.S. Nationals elimination rounds can be viewed live on FS1 on Monday, Sept. 3 at 11:00 am ET.