The launch of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series begins in a special place for third-year Pro Stock racer Dallas Glenn. He'll start a fresh campaign alongside his competitors at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, a race that Glenn won in 2022. The defending event champion is eager to go after the Gainesville Raceway spoils once again, and he's hoping the event will be the beginning of a much more fruitful season.
"Last season wasn't a bad year, but it wasn't exactly up to the expectations I had as a driver," said Glenn. "Like Greg [Anderson, teammate] says, you want to win every single race. Although it isn't likely that you can do that, you can certainly try.
"I learned a lot about how the car works and different things having to do with driving — but there was some frustration on my part. I didn't feel like I had the same level of reaction time like I did my first year, and I still don't know if it was something mechanically with the car or something I was doing. I had my moments, so I know it was there – but everything is an experience in learning. All you can do is go forward and learn to be better."
After finishing No. 3 in the Pro Stock points in his first full NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, the 2021 NHRA Rookie of the Year had been eager to get back in the seat for 2022 and build on that early success. Things did not quite go according to plan, but reaching the final round at the NHRA U.S. Nationals and then again in St. Louis during the Countdown to the Championship bolstered his championship hopes.
Glenn was within striking distance until the NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, where he attempted to work the ladder in qualifying with the goal of taking out a hard-charging Erica Enders. He kept himself at the bottom of the sheet on Friday with the intention of moving up just to the No. 16 position to line up squarely against his friendly rival, but ultimately, conditions changed, and he was unable to improve. Glenn posted the first non-qualifying attempt of his career.
"As far as trying to get Erica first round, I don't have any regrets," said Glenn. "Obviously, I could have executed a little differently, and there are some regrets there. But it's so difficult to do. That was a lesson on my part, but I don't think it was wrong to try to get Erica. We went over the math [points], and I felt like the best opportunity for me to win a championship was to take her out first round."
Many speculated that Glenn was hoping to stop Enders so that Anderson could have a better shot at defending the championship, but Glenn called that assumption false.
"Oh no," he said. "This wasn't so that Greg Anderson could win his sixth championship. This was for Dallas Glenn to win his first. If I could help my teammate, that would be a bonus, but if I could have taken her out first round and won the race, that would have given me a very good opportunity."
The strong marks on Glenn's final scorecard included one win in three final rounds and a low qualifier award – the second of his career – at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping. But the low marks brought a particularly unpleasant sting. Several of Glenn's races were decided at the starting line, and unlike in his debut season, the races were not decided in his favor. Cristian Cuadra's holeshot win over Glenn at the Mile-High NHRA Nationals posed a question for the driver nicknamed "Double-Oh" Dallas by the media: Was it detrimental or beneficial to be known as one of the best leavers in the class?
"From my experience, sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's really not," said Glenn. "It usually comes in waves. You might have a race where several people make a mistake, go red, their foot slips a little bit, and it works to your benefit. But other races, they'll take a shot and hit it. Last year, I had my first holeshot loss. He knew I was going to be tough, and he went up there and did his job. But I don't spend a whole lot of time feeling sorry for myself. It's more of a motivator than anything, and I don't ever want that to happen again."
There have been several happenings of note in Glenn's world over the offseason, primarily the merge of KB Racing with Titan Racing Engines. Camrie Caruso, entering her second season in Pro Stock, is now part of KB Titan Racing along with Glenn, Anderson, Kyle Koretsky, Matt Hartford, and Deric Kramer. The Mooresville race shop has been humming as the team prepares for the new year, and Glenn, who not only drives his RAD Torque Systems Chevrolet Camaro but also drives the race rig, sets up and tears down the pit area, and services the clutch and transmission between runs, has been cleaning and organizing the team haulers and helping prepare the race cars for competition.
He'll be in a different car for 2023 – the Jerry Haas-built Chevrolet Camaro most recently driven by Rodger Brogdon – but he'll continue to fly the RAD Torque Systems colors.
"I'm going into my third year with my third different car, and I'm excited," he said. "We'll have six cars running at any given time, so it's going to be busy. I'll need to make sure I get all my stuff done, not just the fun driving part. I want to make sure I do my job and put my best foot forward at all times. That doesn't change."
This season, Glenn will also have the opportunity to feed his love for bracket and Sportsman racing as crew chief and mechanic for his wife, Sadie Glenn, as she competes in Top Dragster. Glenn met Sadie, who is now a public relations and social media professional on the NHRA tour, when they were competing (in different categories) in NHRA's Pacific Northwest Division.
This will be the first season that Sadie will be racing national events regularly, so Glenn's offseason was even more busy than normal.
"My role is a little bit of everything with Sadie," said Glenn. "I make sure the car is mechanically ready to go, so that's taken up all of my free time after Pro Stock hours. I've been trying to get everything so she will be able to run the whole car by herself, because there will be races [outside of national events] that I won't be able to go to.
"I try to give her advice from my own experiences, but at the same time, I respect that she's making her own experiences and is going to do things a little differently. I'm proud of her – she's more than capable."
Of course, Glenn will join his wife trackside at the national events when his work for the day is done, but his main focus is on Pro Stock and winning races for KB Titan Racing.
"The ultimate goal for the season is to win the championship," said Glenn. "We all want to win it. That's one thing I love about KB Titan Racing – they don't think about who is driving what. They just try to get each car to run the absolute best and let the drivers figure it out. If it happens that I have to race Greg Anderson in the final round for the championship at Pomona, I guarantee both cars will be set up to their best. It'll be up to us."