Pomona: Justin Humphrey preview

Glidden Optimistic about Justin Humphreys' 2008 Success; Praises Driver's Potential: 'He Reminds Me of Me' It is T-minus two days and counting for Justin Humphreys, Bob Glidden and the RaceRedi Motorsports Pro Stock Pontiac GTO team as ...

Glidden Optimistic about Justin Humphreys' 2008 Success; Praises Driver's Potential: 'He Reminds Me of Me'

It is T-minus two days and counting for Justin Humphreys, Bob Glidden and the RaceRedi Motorsports Pro Stock Pontiac GTO team as preparations wind down for the launch of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Series season Thursday at Pomona, Calif.

Ignited by a solid conclusion to his rookie season, Humphreys and Glidden -- a Pro Stock icon with 10 series championships, 85 victories and numerous awards -- believe the team is capable of reaching the upper echelons of the top 10 by the time the 24-race series concludes in November.

While Glidden described last weekend's slow start during testing at Las Vegas as "really depressing," he nonetheless remains optimistic about the team's ability to be a title contender. And he provided a glowing summary of Humphreys' driving potential.

"I'm really down in the dumps about our testing but I am optimistic about our chances this year," said Glidden. "We have pretty good power. We just need to get everything going in the right direction. I have a lot of confidence that we will have a very good season.

"Nothing went right for us at Las Vegas," he continued. "The track was cold and you either had to be perfect or you missed it . . . and we missed it on almost every run. We didn't learn a thing but we will go with the tune-up combinations like they were when we left Pomona in the fall."

There was one bright spot during last weekend's cold, wet and windy weather -- Humphreys' 6.723-second time Saturday after the Pro Stock Shootout. Humphreys qualified 10th (6.764 seconds at 204.39 mph) for the special event and lost to Allen Johnson in the opening round. Rain washed out Sunday's scheduled testing.

"Everybody was struggling at Vegas," said Humphreys. "No one made good runs because it as so cold. I'm excited about going to Pomona. I'm ready to let the clutch out. I'm sure we'll get everything straightened out for Thursday's (first) qualifying run."

Glidden is confident Humphreys is up to the challenge of staying in title contention over the grueling 24-race season.

"All the blood, sweat and tears you put into (Pro Stock racing) kind of boils down to the nut behind the wheel that controls the whole game," Glidden commented. "And that's where we have an advantage. It is very plain to me that Justin is one of those guys involved in Pro Stock who has the mental edge to go out and win races. He's not going to be good all the time but he is pretty darn good most of the time.

"You can have the best of everything but if the guy driving the car doesn't have the mental strength to go out there and be competitive, you are going to lose.

"This guy has a mind of steel. He reminds me of me when I was at the top of my game. He's in the range where if his car is competitive, he is going to win it. I am very proud of him . . . not just the fact he can drive but because of his mental attitude toward this whole thing.

"He's just got it. Whatever it is . . . he's just got it."

The tune-up Glidden referenced from last November came only seven-thousandths of a second from winning the championship round against Jeg Coughlin in the Auto Club Finals (Nov. 4) at the venerable racing facility on the Los Angeles Fairgrounds.

"Pomona is a good place for us to start," he said. "I've been pretty lucky at that track and I just hope it continues. In racing, you can be pretty good and you still need a lot of luck. There are a lot of people out here that are pretty darn good."

Glidden's Pomona performance record of 12 victories leans predominantly more toward the good rather than lucky side. He has seven Winternationals wins (1975-76, 1978-79, 1981, 1985 and 1989) and was runner-up in the 1983 season-opener. Finals wins came in 1984, 1986-87, 1989-90).

"I wish we'd left Las Vegas in a little better frame of mind, but it is what it is and we'll start all over at Pomona," noted Glidden. "We need to qualify in the top half of the field to give ourselves a better chance to win rounds. We are certainly capable if Richard and I do a good job with the engine and the car. We can win races.

"That's the challenge. . . ."

-credit: rrm

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Bob Glidden , Allen Johnson , Justin Humphreys