Last year’s wreck was a crazy one, with the Select Blinds Ford Mustang sandwiched in the middle of a fiery, yet entertaining, multi-car pileup during the last few laps of 2019’s Daytona 500! Check it out:
This is just one of two rooms NASCAR super fan Glenn Zabransky and his father have transformed into living shrines to the sport. From die-cast mini car replicas to actual full-size tires and car hoods, their monster collection of all-things NASCAR numbers in the thousands. Photos courtesy of Glenn Zabransky
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.”
The Zabransky family includes three, four-legged members, including Ralph, who was named after Dale Earnhardt Sr’s. father and racing patriarch Ralph Earnhardt.
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.”
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.
Daytona was the first of four races this season that will see Ragan’s car sporting our colors, and if you feel like the partnership between a NASCAR driver and an e-tailer seems a bit odd, well, we’ll tell you how it all went down.
It all started with a bid.
In mid-January at the annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, AZ, Select Blinds founder and CMO Rick Steele was the highest bidder on Ragan’s 38 Shriners Hospitals car. The car featured a paint scheme seen in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway last summer, a race in which Ragan finished 27th.
It also came with a 750-horsepower Roush Yates engine and many of the other accessories needed to…umm…go really, really fast.
The $300,000 from the auction benefited Shriners Hospitals for Children, which help kids battle orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal injuries and cleft lip. Ever one for charitable causes that help children, Steele’s interest was certainly amplified because his mother was treated by healthcare professionals when she was a child.
So it made plenty of sense that he would be interested in bidding on the car.
Now, providing that kind of money to such a worthy cause on its own would have given this fun story a happy ending.
Except that was not the end. In fact, it was only the beginning.
Ragan and Steele got to chatting and in true “Step Brothers” style, quickly became best friends. Though unlike how most best friends who go to a ballgame, meet up for drinks or do things like that, these two instead decided on something unique.
Steele and his company would be one of the primary sponsors for Ragan’s No. 38 car in the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Beginning with the Daytona 500 and continuing through the TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte and the South Point 400 in Las Vegas, the car will be zipping around the track while introducing the masses and NASCAR faithful to SelectBlinds.com.
In short, our company was founded in 2003 by Steele, and has grown to be successful by combining child-safe, high-quality, custom-made blinds with affordable DIY pricing. Hundreds of thousands of customers have provided glowing reviews, while millions of windows have been covered with our help.
How many Phoenix-based companies do you think can say that?
Where the SelectBlinds.com-adorned car will finish over its next three races is anyone’s guess. NFL great Deion Sanders once said something to the effect that if you look good you’ll feel good, and if you feel good you’ll play good.
We may be biased, but we believe Ragan has the best looking car on the track.
Of course it would be helpful if other, less-stylish cars didn’t cause wrecks around it, but we all know that’s a possibility at any time before the checkered flag comes out.
Yet no matter where Ragan and his No. 38 car finish, the story of how he got to that point is one that, to be honest, is as fun as it was unexpected.