E3 Spark Plugs Highlights the Players in Pro Mod: Billy Glidden

Nashville, TN, (May 15, 2018)…One of today’s most exciting classes in NHRA drag racing has become the Pro Mod series that is now in its first season, sponsored by E3 Spark Plugs. The 2018 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service is the only one that allows multiple makes of cars, builders and engines to compete on a level playing field. This combination is now drawing ever increasing throngs of fans to each city that Pro Mod races at NHRA. The 2018 season is shaping up again as one packed with thrills as barely hundredths-of-a-second divides the number 1 with the 16 qualifier, from entries topping 30 cars per event.

One of those competing racers is Billy Glidden, from Whiteland, IN. Billy was born into racing royalty, the son of legendary Pro Stock driver, the late Bob Glidden. “I was born in 1964,” says (Billy) Glidden, “and my dad was racing at that time. I was literally born into it. My father for many years, was the winning-est racer in the sport; 10 championships, 86 wins, and we did it all ourselves. It was a family sport and it was all that I knew. Glidden says his first time in the seat was when he drove the test car for Ford Special Vehicle Operations’ Project 514 car, in 1986.  “I ran it a couple times that year, and then in 1992 I built my own beater car,” says Glidden, racing local tracks near his home in Indiana. “For 5 years we won every run. Never lost.”


From the local match races, Glidden has risen through the ranks, running a gamut of events including Mr. Gasket Challenges, Fun Ford Weekends, Hot Rod Shootouts, NMRA, ADRL, HDRL, PDRA, IHRA and NHRA. “We won multiple-sanction Championships for 6 or 7 years in a row. It’s just my wife and I and it’s how we’ve survived,” he says, “and a lot of things have changed through the years,” says Glidden. “I was a consultant for a lot of companies like Edelbrock, Royal Purple, and our longest standing program was tire testing for Mickey Thompson for almost 20 years. Then we started the big tires program and I was racing Pro Stock in ‘07/’08. Good Year then won the contract for the class and MT was out. We switched over and raced in the ADRL 10.5 class instead.” Team Glidden did well in the game and the Mickey Thompson execs  began pushing towards regaining the stature of NHRA. “In 2012 we started chasing our qualifying points through NMCA, and 2014 we started in NHRA Pro Mod,” says Glidden. “We did well, despite running an older Pro Stock car and not much funding for the requirements to compete. We still made a couple finals and won Englishtown in 2015. Early 2017 I crashed the car. I then spent 5 months building a new car, unfortunately while my father was going through the final stages of his life.” Billy raced sparingly in 2017 and the execs at Mickey Thompson then decided on a different direction.


Glidden changed directions as well and sold the engine he had been running, deciding to build a couple different engines on his own and currently seeks out a new relationship with whom he can work. For example, in 2016 Harry Hruska (formerly Precision Turbo) put Glidden in the drivers seat for a few events. Glidden runnered-up the first, won the 3rd and 4th, missed qualifying in one and made it to the semi’s in the other. Proving he can still compete as driver, Glidden welcomes similar opportunities in the future. “If I had a car that could run in the top 8,” chuckles Glidden, “I’d deliver better results than worse. It’s just me and my wife, we can win and we thankfully have a huge fan following.”


Glidden still runs how own self-built ‘68 Camaro. The car is powered by a nitrous Hemi that he says he has a difficult time with now days. Without the big money spending required of the sport, he has struggled to find the right combination. He says he can run .2 faster than a lot of cars in the 1/8, but since it takes so much nitrous (that he cannot afford) he’s .2 slower at the end of the ¼. “This year we raced Gainesville,” says Glidden, “but we had electrical in addition to the mechanical issues. We have been working on it, running locally and just working to make the engine good with nitrous. We did a single hit at Indy but the nitrous tore it apart. And we are making more changes and we plan to get some more testing in the year. At Indy 500 weekend we ran the Pro Mod exhibition for the fans in town. But the car was slow.”


“There was a time we were winning a LOT of races,” says Glidden. “We won lots of specialty races outside of Pro Mod like Fun Ford, NMCA, NMRA, World street nationals in Orlando, Superstreet World Nationals in Vegas. NHRA Pro Stock wins back in the day obviously, but not me personally, but our  family with my dad, tons and tons of wins.” Glidden claims in 2002 he himself raced 35 events, won 32, runner up in 2. In 2015 he pulled down a Pro Mod win in Englishtown and 2016 he won Norwalk driving Harry Hruska’s turbo car. “We were Runner Up at Houston and Englishtown, a few Semis and topped at 3rd in points. Then finished 6th that year.


This year we raced Gainesville,” says Glidden, “but we had electrical and mechanical issues. We have been working on it, running locally and just working to make the engine good with nitrous. We did a single hit at Indy but the nitrous tore it apart. And we are making more changes and we plan to get some more testing in the year. At Indy 500 weekend we ran the Pro Mod exhibition for the fans in town.” In his career, Glidden says his fastest ¼ mile was in the Harry Hruska turbo car;  5.81 @ 259. “In my personal cars,” says Glidden, “my best time was 5.879, and my top speed was 245.72mph. In my 1/8 miles my best were an ET of 3.82 and a top speed of 196.5 mph.”


Of all the time spent at the track, Glidden recalls his favorite personal memories as the races back in the 80s and 90s as a family. “Dad was racing Pro Stock,” he says, ”and we were doing so well. It truly was just a great time with our family. Shannon and I have been together since 1990 and we’ve been very fortunate and very successful over the years too. But my dad was my hero.”


When not at the track, Glidden doesn’t seem to get much sleep, he says. “That was passed on to me from my father when I was about 5 yrs old. I pretty much just work around the shop, work around the house, I’m helping my mom, and I help some of the locals now and then whenever needed. I was just helping a local farmer plowing his fields last weekend.”


Glidden, both dad and son, at one time also played a lot of golf. At one time, he was also a caddie on a couple PGA tour stops, for Kenny Perry in 2003: British Open and The Masters. “When my dad quit racing,” says the son, “he picked up the game. If there wasn’t a pile of snow on the ground, my dad was golfing nearly every day. We even took our own golf cart and trailer in the winter, slide out of the isinglass, hit the ball and jump back in to run up to the next one. I eventually joined the Legends, about 3 miles from my shop, and the first year I played there, I won the club championship with a 68/71. So I took golf up for a while, from being a hack, as branded by Kenny (Perry), to winning, to playing everyday with Dad. Then in 2011, my dad was so obsessed with trying to teach someone his way to play, that I walked away from it. I haven’t played for 7 years. My Dad loved golf and became so intense with the game, that I didn’t want to ruin it for him.”


Billy Glidden has built a formidable career over the years and he says that he has a lot of great stories about his family, great memories, and that he likes to joke around a lot. “But I’m very much the same as my dad,” he says. “I don’t like unscrupulous people, I tell it like it is, I don’t strut around better than anyone else and I’ll tell the ones that do, exactly what I think. I’m not hard to deal but it often feels like people want me to promise other people things that aren’t true, to try to impress them enough to get involved. And I won’t do it. Racing has been good to us, and I enjoy it and I can still be very good at it, but I do need the help with money and the right situation to compete. I do primarily all of my own work; transmissions, rears, trailer, truck, engines, and even one more person would be a help.”


Just like Billy Glidden, E3 appreciates the support from the racers/teams/participants competing in the E3 Spark Plug Pro Mod class of the NHRA and we are excited for the 2018 season. ?Rob Fisher, E3 Director of Motorsports says, “We are very thankful for everyone in the sport and everyone in the stands!”

For more information about E3 spark plugs and performance ignition products, visit www.e3sparkplugs.com. For the latest company and product news follow E3 on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, or subscribe to E3’s You Tube  Channel.



E3 is a true high-performance aftermarket manufacturer providing high-performance spark plugs and ignitions systems for drag racing, off-road, late model, street rod and muscle car, tuner, sports car, marine, lawn and garden and powersports. E3 Spark Plugs are the product of years of fundamental research in the combustion field. The unique patented electrode configuration of the new E3 spark plugs increases the amount of combustion pressure created during each power stroke of an engine, which results in a marked increase in power output, fuel economy, and reduced emissions in gasoline engines.


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