Glenn Zabransky lives and breathes NASCAR. And we mean LIVES. AND. BREATHES. IT.
Just take a look at the formidable collection he and his father have amassed over the last 28 years since Glenn saw his first race at Pocono Raceway (now a super speedway) in Pennsylvania, when he was just five years old. Hard to believe he could squeeze anything else in, but we were pretty honored that one of his most recent additions were two #38 SelectBlinds.com Ford Mustang hero cards autographed by driver David Ragan with Front Row Motorsports.
With a passion for the sport passed down by his grandfather and father, Glenn, who hails from New Jersey when he’s not traveling the country from track to track during race season, started collecting die-cast cars as a kid. His dad, he says, would order a 1/64 scale car for him for every 1/24 his dad ordered, most of which were replicas of Dale Earnhardt Sr. cars (his dad’s favorite driver). The first thing Glenn bought on his own was a Terry Labonte Corn Flakes replica for $10, snagged at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1996. The collection truly started, though, he says, with a set of 1/24 scale Richard Petty cars from Franklin Mint.
“We have more than five hundred 1/24 scale cars, as well as a few hundred smaller cars. In recent years we’ve expanded to sheet metal and other pieces of cars from actual races,” Glenn says. “I think I have ten or so pieces of metal (fenders, bumpers, trunk lids, etc.), about eight tires including a Dale Sr. 1994 Daytona 500 tire, as well as other odds and ends like valve covers and rims.”
The collection also includes “odd-ball pieces like Davey Allison chili and Dale Sr. suntan lotion” Glenn says his mom has contributed.
His most prized items?
“We were able to obtain the actual seats my dad and I sat in at our first Daytona 500,” he says after the famed World Center of Racing underwent a remodel several years ago.
Now that’s cool!
No matter how cool his collection is, though, for Glenn, the coolest thing is that racing is a real family affair.
“The bond that racing has formed between my father and I is something that I’ll always be grateful for,” he shares, “and while my mom doesn’t really follow or care for the lower series, she’s probably been to at least 60 cup races or so.
“My wife knew when dating me that if she ever wanted to see me, she would have to put up with the NASCAR aspect,” Glenn continues. “Turns out she’s super into it now. She even participates in my fantasy NASCAR league. The fact that she’s so on board and into it makes it even better.”
His now brother- and sister-in-law have also gotten into the sport. Together, the family has traveled to most of the tracks (Indianapolis Motor Speedway, surprisingly, is one pit stop still on Glenn’s bucket list), meeting every NASCAR driver at least once, including favorites Austin and Ty Dillon.
“Actually met them both and their dad, Mike, at Volusia County dirt track during speed week. My wife had on a few-years-old Austin Dillon dirt hoodie and was too nervous to ask Austin for a photo, so I asked and he was happy to do so. He knew we were pretty big fans. Mike even offered us a beer.”
They also met Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace that night, both of whom had beer to share, too.
“That was a fun night,” recalls Glenn with a laugh, adding that he’s also been impressed meeting Jimmy Johnson and “even” Kyle Busch. “It’s a great thing with NASCAR. You have the ability to interact with the drivers during the event, not just at some sports store signing autographs.”
It’s not just the drivers he loves; it’s the fans he meets, too.
“I love talking about [NASCAR] with other people, trying to ‘recruit’ new fans, and just every aspect of the sport,” he says. To help in his recruiting efforts, he often gives away duplicate die-cast cars to young fans.
“I was lucky enough to attend a ton of races and have a dad that also collected. Those first cars that a young fan gets can shape their fandom for years to come. ”
He loves sharing stories of his most memorable races, too. His favorite? The 2001 MBNA Cal Ripken Jr. 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Glenn’s uncle, who had worked in the Twin Towers at the time, was with Glenn and his dad for the race. Glenn’s favorite driver then was Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won that day and after, went around the track with an American flag hanging out the window.
“An image,” reminisces Glenn, “that’s burned in my memory. I’ll never forget it.”
Join Glenn this Memorial Day weekend and watch the No. 38 SelectBlinds.com Ford
Mustang and David Ragan recognize Corporal William G. Taylor of the United States Marine Corps, who was killed in the line of duty while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Twenty-six-year-old Cpl. Taylor of Macon, GA, was killed on Nov.
30, 2005 by small-arms fire while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Fallujah, Iraq.
Taylor’s name will be displayed on the windshield of Ragan’s SelectBlinds.com Ford for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 26, where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will pay tribute to the fallen men and women of the U.S. military. Ragan’s car will also feature a red, white and blue patriotic paint scheme as part of NASCAR’s tribute.