The tagline for the Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association is “paying tribute to the legends,” and boy howdy, do they ever do a phenomenal job. Earlier this year at the NHRA season opener in Pomona, spectators had the opportunity to cruise the pits and check out an assortment of tributes to Pro Stock legends.
Eight cars were on the property at Pomona: “Dyno Dom” Blasco in his Bill Jenkins Grumpy’s Toy XVI Camaro, Mike Roppo in the Nationwise Rod Shop Pontiac Firebird, Alex George in the Hedman Hustler Maverik, Bill White in the Joe Satmary WE-HAUL Camaro, Steve Stanick in the Machak and Offermann Vega, Ted Peters and his all-original B-1 powered Wayne County Speed Shop Dodge Daytona, Mark Pappas and his Reher-Morrison Camaro.
And, of course, Mike Ruth and his tribute to the legendary Bob Glidden and the undefeated Ford Fairmont, complete with a big fat No. 1 on the windshield. Talk. About. Cool. You can check ’em all out here.
Ruth’s girlfriend, Eileen, found the Ford on the Racing Junk website. Ruth purchased what was then a bracket car and worked diligently to turn it into a tribute to run in the series. Glidden was aware of the project before his passing in 2017.
“Bob never owned it, but he gave me permission to use the name. The family has been supportive, and if you look right in there,” said Ruth, pointing inside the cockpit, “Rusty and Billy [Glidden’s sons] both signed the dash.”
The 2020 season was Ruth’s fifth with the Glidden tribute car in the Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association.
Ruth worked for a time with Pappas, who put together the series, and drove one of his tribute cars. That was all it took to ignite the idea of having a nostalgia Pro Stocker of his own.
“I decided I had to have a Ford,” said Ruth. “I was a big Glidden fan, and I thought this car was the right one to do. We wanted to get into the era with the square hood scoops, and this car made perfect sense for me. It’s a huge hit with the fans. People just love it.”
In a normal year, Ruth will participate in 15-25 events, including the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky; the Bill Jenkins memorial race known as the Grumpy Cup in Cordova, Illinois; and the World Series of Drag Racing, also held at Cordova International Raceway.
“We’re having more fun than the people in the stands,” said Ruth. “You get to come out here and show off, and you’re with a bunch of your buddies. It’s just a fun deal. We’re a bunch of old guys, no drama, going down the track and having some fun.”
In 2018, during the U.S. Nationals, Ruth had the honor of bringing out his Fairmont at Glidden’s most revered racetrack, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Glidden still holds the record for most Pro Stock wins at Indy with nine trophies claimed at the venerable facility.
“Etta [Glidden’s wife] was there, Rusty sat in this car and I pulled him, and Billy was in an EXP,” said Ruth, referring to the parade in front of the grandstands for the fans on Friday of the event. “Right before that, Etta was walking by the car, and I asked her how we did. She said, ‘Oh, this is lovely. This is so nice.’ They’re such gracious people, and they’ve been so supportive of my program. It’s just unbelievable. I can’t say enough about how nice they’ve been to me.”
Scroll down for a sneak peek of a tribute to a legend currently in the works!
According to the Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association website, Chicago-area resident Kevin Lawrence is working on a Warren Johnson ’91 Oldsmobile tribute car. Oh, we can’t wait for this! Watch our social media for updates as we find them!