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Kentwood graduate lands drag racing dream job
Dallas Glenn had quite a bit to be grateful for the week of Thanksgiving.
A Kentwood High graduate who grew up in Covington, Dallas Glenn was offered his dream job Nov. 20 then went to Las Vegas and went 23-4 in the Bracket Nationals drag race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“On Thanksgiving, that was one of the best races I had,” Dallas Glenn said. “I got the call to go and work for this team over in North Carolina, so, I thought, ‘This is going to be my last race, I figured I’d go out with a bang.’”
He went to the sixth round on the first day, won Nov. 23, got to the finals Nov. 24 before going out in the second round the last day. Dallas Glenn said he won the most rounds that weekend driving a 1994 Camaro. In one round he flew down the quarter-mile drag strip at 185 MPH and crossed the finish line in 7.48 seconds.
“It was a good race,” Dallas Glenn said.
A weekend which, at least for now, capped off a racing career which began in earnest in 2005 when he became enthralled with it as he helped his father, Steve Glenn, with work under the hood on a 1955 Chevy 210 Handyman Wagon.
Dallas Glenn won the first time he got behind the wheel of the wagon in 2006 as part of the high school drags at Pacific Raceways, which is one exit away on state Route 18.
His father knew right away his son had the talent behind the wheel to go with his ability to work as a mechanic on the car.
In recent years he’s driven for Shane Thompson, who lives in Las Vegas, but Dallas Glenn’s passion has always been the Pro Stock class raced in the National Hot Rod Association’s professional ranks.
“Throughout the years he’d say, ‘I want to go work on a pro stock car,’” Steve Glenn said. “So, at races he’d hang out in the pits and say, ‘Hey, I want to work on a pro stock car.’ Meanwhile, he’s racing and living the life.”
Whenever the opportunity came along for Dallas Glenn to hang out in the NHRA pro stock pits, whether at Pacific Raceways or when he was racing at other tracks in the Lucas Oil Series, his father said he always knew where to look for his middle son — just head for the pro stock cars.
Starting Jan. 2, that’s where Dallas Glenn, who turned 22 Dec. 26, will spend his time. He’s moved to North Carolina where he will work on the crew for two of the most successful Pro Stock drivers of the past decade at Ken Black Racing.
Rob Downing, the crew chief for drivers Jason Line and Greg Anderson, told Dallas Glenn when he looked at the young man’s resume he jokingly said, “It looks like you’re sick and twisted like the rest of us and really love the sport.”
All of his time hanging out in the pits had paid off. He was approached by someone from KB Racing during the NHRA AAA Auto Club finals in Pomona the weekend before Thanksgiving. Dallas Glenn was encouraged to submit his resume because there were some crew members who were going to leave the team after the season ended.
He got the call with the job offer while he was working on cars for Thompson.
“I was excited,” Dallas Glenn said. “I was real excited. I was thinking, ‘I have to move to North Carolina.’ So, I started researching North Carolina. I found out the state food is barbecue pork, which is all I eat. And the state sport is NASCAR.”
Though it’s the first time he’s really lived away from home full time, Dallas Glenn has lived out of his suitcase for the better part of the past two years, so moving away and traveling from mid-February to mid-November won’t be too hard of a transition.
“I think it’s going to be easier for me than for him (his dad),” Dallas Glenn said about leaving home.
Steve Glenn said he got a text message from Thompson congratulating him when his son was hired. Though he’s a proud father, he said he’s torn.
“It’s what we’ve always dreamed of for him,” Steve Glenn said. “He’s going to be a nine hour flight away. He’s the first one to leave. My other son (Dana) lives four blocks away.”
Dallas corrected him, though, saying it’s more like a six hour flight. Still, the elder Glenn said, “It’s a long ways away.”
The Glenns plan to get in the motor home during the 2013 NHRA MelloYello Drag Racing Series and go to as many races as they can to see their middle son follow his dream.
“As a dad, I could not have asked for any more,” Steve Glenn said. “I remember the spark in his eyes the first time we took him racing. Pro stock racing was always his dream.”
Dallas’ girlfriend, a capable driver in her own right, lives in Oregon. While he said she’s not looking forward to the longer distance, she knew the opportunity he had, Dallas said, and that she would kick his butt if he hadn’t taken the job.
To start with, Dallas Glenn will work on the back half of the car dealing with everything from the rear end, wheelie bars, shocks, chutes, gear changes to wheels and tires.
“I’m really excited to learn everything about pro stock,” Dallas Glenn said. “You’re going to the cutting edge of technology. I want to learn all of that.”