Monday, May 27, 2024

Ryan Gleghorn | Living the Dream Part 1

Ryan Gleghorn is living the dream! Unlike most racers, Ryan is making a living doing what he loves. His job as a big-time announcer sends him to tracks all over the country. In this series, he will document those travels with behind-the-scenes details from his cross-country road trips.

DragChamp Logo

Let me start by saying I write this laying in a pair of Nike shorts, spralled out on the love seat in my living room that I haven’t seen in 6 weeks. This is “my spot”. I think everyone has one in their house.

You know that spot that’s yours that no one else sits in because it’s not worth the argument that you’re gonna give them. The one that if you move in just the right position you could literally sit, or lay in my case, in all day. Yeah that’s the spot I’m in and I’m enjoying it a little bit more than usual.

The Road Trip Begins

Gleghorn and the Dad Van

You see I left my house on October 11th for a 38 day, 6,200 mile trip that took me to seven states, five race tracks, three slot cars tracks, and some of the biggest events that sportsman drag racing has to offer. Over the next few weeks I will tell you about each of these events as they are each special in their own way and tell their own story. 

Now some of you may know me, but if you’re sitting in the bathroom at work reading this thinking “who the fuck is this guy?” I’ll tell you. My name is Ryan Gleghorn and I’m one of the voices of some of your favorite races.

A Little History

I have been blessed with the opportunity to announce drag races for a living and 99.99% of them are bracket races. To be fully transparent I’m living a dream that started when I was very young. I’m a 3rd generation racer, my “pawpaw” Lynn Gleghorn was the baddest man in the 80’s in this area. There will be someone who will try to debate this and they are wrong.

Pawpaw Gleghorn

If you rolled threw the gates of Green Valley Raceway you had to run through a black roadster if you wanted a check at the end of the night. My uncle Steve Gleghorn raced in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He ended up racing for a couple years until adulthood claimed him.

I’ve been racing since 2002 when I started in Jr’s, won some stuff that no body cares about, then jumped into a big car in 2009. Since then I’ve driven everything from a Nissan Sentra dialed 17.00 to a blown dragster going 4.30’s at 165 mph.

Yes, I’ve watched my opponents win lights come on from Vegas to Ohio. If you want to watch your car go down the track a couple times at a big event call me. I promise not to put too many runs on it.

I started announcing at 17 years old for the Southwest Jr Dragster Series in 2011. From there was a very slow climb to where I am today. From announcing local tracks, small big money races, slightly bigger money races, a match race, and everything in between until last year where I got my “break”. And I did what any responsible person would do, I quit my job and decided to make a living in drag racing.

Do people think I’m crazy? Yes. Do I think I’m crazy? Also yes. Do I have any regrets? Besides one ex-girlfriend absolutely not. Since September of last year I have lived a life that I never thought I could live. Working races that I have always wanted to be apart of including but not limited to The Million, WFC, Great American Bracket Races, and the SFG 500

Adventures of the Dad Van

Through these experiences and ups and downs I ended up making a life through the sport I love just as much (they would argue more) as my family. When I looked at my schedule and saw I was going to be on the road for five weeks going to different races I wasn’t exactly bummed. I love traveling, I love having a good time, and obviously I love bracket racing. Yeah sign me up bud.

So noon October 11th I packed up my suburban, also known as the dad van, and headed south for stop one of this trip to The Original Lupe Tortilla in Houston for the Great American Guaranteed Million sign up party. I will start by saying Stan and Shiela Holt are fantastic hosts. I’ve never felt so welcome by two people I’ve never met. There were nine of us there signing up for the race and another probably 10 or so people just enjoying the evening plus the camera crew.

Great American Guaranteed Million Kickoff
Great American Guaranteed Million Kickoff

Oh yeah forgot to tell y’all I’m a TV Star now. I’ll sign autographs still don’t worry. I shared a night of drinks, and fantastic Mexican food with equally fantastic people and then I was gone towards the next stop. I was headed north, but I did have a detour. I spent the night in a rest stop in Texarkana. I’m not sure how many of you have slept in the back seat of your car, but In case you were wondering it hasn’t gotten any more comfortable.

I left there and stopped in Memphis to see my girlfriend Tara. Living eight hours from your significant other isn’t the easiest thing, but it always seems my travels takes me through Memphis, so that always helps. Also I’m convinced Alan Jackson wrote the song Dallas for me. He probably doesn’t know that, but it fits.

The Halloween Classic

We had a great day then I rolled north the following morning where that evening I would roll through the gates of Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH for the 47th running off the Halloween Classic. 

If you don’t know about the Halloween Classic, I’ll tell you what I was told. It’s a party that they happen to race at. I was not misinformed. “The Classic” is eight days of non-stop good times. I rolled in Sunday afternoon where they were running the first race of the weekend. My buddy Rick Baehr was kind enough to let me wheel his stuff that week so I watched him roll a couple rounds and then we dipped out.

This wasn’t a bad night it was just odd. If you’re easily offended you probably should skip the next few sentences. We go to the gas station to buy some beer. Well as we leave we decide we’re gonna go to the Taco Bell where the cashier who appeared to be a woman turned out to be anything but. Then we got pulled over….by three cops for not stopping in front of the stop bar. Welcome to Norwalk.

Now the next day Rick left and there was no racing, but that evening there was a practice tree race. Free entry for a set of MT Slicks. So I mess around that day and see the sights and sounds of SMP and then roll into this practice tree race.

Well I met a group of guys the night before and they were hell bent on me having a good time. Mainly my buddy Cadamore. So we run this race, get our ass kicked and start the Monday party.

We had a hell of a blow out with a male strip show to the legendary music of “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, lots of beers, a random old guy showed up with Fireball that also started dancing, I sang a lot (not well) and somehow ended up on a golf cart with my new buddy Adam. Hell of a night and thankfully not a hell of a hangover.

In search of Chick-fil-a!

So the next day there’s not much planned so I decided I wanted to wonder out and find some Chick-fil-a. I am a huge fan of God’s Chicken. A potential addict even. I found the closest one to be in Sandusky which was 30-40 minutes away. So I start my journey. I start getting close and signs for Cedar Park amusement park start popping up. I have no concerns. Then more signs. Still no worries. Well then I get to the gate and realize that this CFA is inside the park.  Shit. So I drive back to Nowalk defeated with no chicken.

Did somebody say slot cars?

That night Matt Dadas, Jaeden Durst and myself headed to do some racing of the 1/25 scale variety. HMS Speedway is a slot car track in Bellevue that just happened to be racing on a Tuesday night. I’ve always said I enjoy racing slot cars way more than I do big cars. I know I’m the polar opposite of everyone else, but just the way I feel.

I won light money first round (a whopping $10) then I proceeded to get beat at nine cars while Matt beat Jaeden in the final. Shocker, Matt Dadas won in 2019. Wednesday was the first day behind the wheel of the Camaro. It was cold. When I left Texas it was 75 and it was now 35.

I’m obviously not used to racing in the cold, but I wasn’t gonna not race because of it. Well it had rained the night before so we had quite a bit of downtime before our time run for them to dry the track. So we go eat breakfast and then it was time to run. So we unload get these cars warmed up and make a time run.

What I have failed to mention up to this point is what the car count was. Now think about what the highest car count race you’ve ever ran was. Now double it and oh yeah it’s WEDNESDAY. Single entry, no buybacks. So after a couple hours of first round I was about to go to the lanes when it started raining again. I loaded it up and went inside where I would finish my night.

The next morning we would get started with the remainder of first round where I sucked and my guy laid down 12 total. Way to go me. Thursday night we had the 128 car shootout. I didn’t quite suck as bad at this one where I put together some good laps, beat Bam Bam Bigalo for the Intercontinental Title of No Box racing and then found myself at eight cars where Nick Hastings killed all my hopes and dreams.

Dadas and Baehr Cash at the Classic

Slick Rick Baehr

Slick Rick showed up around second round so we grabbed a few more beers and then called it a night. I would roll out the next day as they started the main event. I drove back to Memphis to see Tara one more time as my boys Matt and Slick Rick won the Super Pro and No Box main events. The Classic was a great event that I plan on attending again next year. Norwalk is a fantastic facility that the Bader family has done a terrific job of making a destination that is second to none. 

The next time (if there is one) The Million!

Ryan Gleghorn is a 3rd generation racer and one of the voices big money bracket racing from Watauga, TX. Ryan announces some of the biggest bracket races in the country and is the Competition Director of Ardmore Dragway in Ardmore, OK. He also promotes his own big money practice tree race the “Cowtown Winter Throwdown” alongside former Million Dollar Race winner Nathan Martin. You can connect with Ryan on Facebook.

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