NASCAR’S Chase For The Cup might be coming to Medina County. And not just on television.
Make no mistake, Spencer Township’s Scott Glasgo doesn’t want a ticker-tape parade if Denny Hamlin wins this weekend.
In fact, the 41-year-old would rather stay in the background like he has all his years on the NASCAR circuit.
Glasgo is the logistics manager for Hamlin, the current points leader – by 15 over four-time defending champ Jimmie Johnson – as drivers head into the final race of the year at the Ford 400 in Homestead, Fla., on Sunday.
A win there and Hamlin takes home the Cup.
“It’s the jack-of-all trades job,” Glasgo said. “I basically drive the coach, clean for Denny, cook for him and handle his guests and family.
“I’m basically his personal assistant. They fly into every race and I make sure I have the bus cleaned, his laundry done, set up his rental car and grocery shop for him.”
The humble Glasgo is really selling himself short. If it wasn’t for the Black River graduate, who was on the road 330 days last year, Hamlin’s life might not run smoothly.
Glasgo is the one who drives the $2.5 million motor coach to the next race as soon as the preceding race is over.
He’s on the bus Sunday through Tuesday and in a hotel Wednesday through Saturday, but makes sure Hamlin is eating his signature tuna fish sandwich for lunch or is diving into Italian chicken, hamburger, spaghetti or crockpot lasagna when he’s in town for the next race.
“I’m burnt out and ready to come home,” Glasgo joked. “Racing wasn’t ever a big thing for me before. I’d seen dirt car racing and demolition derbies living in Spencer, but never anything more.”
A self-confessed homebody, Glasgo had never been anywhere much outside the state line and was looking for something to do where he could travel the United States.
So when a friend turned him on to a possible career in racing, he took a peek.
“The reason I got into it was because being a small-town boy, I’d never been anywhere before,” Glasgo said. “I’d never been to Washington, D.C., or saw Las Vegas or anything like that. Now, I can see the U.S. and I do it on someone else’s dime.”
Hamlin it up
After a few stints with a couple of other drivers – most recently J.J. Yeley – Glasgo came to the Hamlin camp in 2008 with 11 races left.
It’s been a smooth transition ever since as Hamlin finished fifth overall last year and has won eight races – the most on the track – this season.
While race day can be intense, time spent with team Hamlin can be interesting.
“You have your highs and lows,” Glasgo said. “It’s unbelievable. I can’t even describe it. The only thing I can say that is close is when I played in the playoffs (for Black River’s football team in 1985).”
Days do come with some slapstick moments.
Hamlin, an avid video gamer, is very much into the Nintendo Wii system. So at the urging of the team, Glasgo decided to bowl.
“It can be a riot,” Glasgo said. “There are times when I’m always laughing. Denny likes to bowl, but I’m not a video gamer. I didn’t know you had to hold onto the remote. I threw it at the TV and everybody started busting up.”
There’s only one thing more exciting than meeting the likes of race car fans and personalities like Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Brad Daugherty and Troy Aikman, and that’s race day, according to Glasgo.
While fans are nestling in their seats and waiting for the famous words, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” Glasgo is making sure Hamlin has everything in place before the race.
Relaxation turns to concentration beginning on Friday. Two hours before the green flag drops, it’s hands off Hamlin. The current points leader heads into his motor coach to prepare and goes through the things necessary for success.
“I try to make it as easy for him as I can,” Glasgo said. “I just want him to be focused on that race car. I won’t be relaxed until he’s ready to go.”
When Hamlin is ready, Glasgo knows a white-knuckle day is in store.
“You’re not driving the car, but you still get butterflies,” he said. “When it comes to the last 20 laps, I can’t even watch. When he wins, the thrill is amazing. It’s like you’re on cloud nine.”
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday
NASCAR couldn’t have painted a better scenario than Sunday’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Hamlin toted himself as the driver to stop Johnson’s four-year reign. The standings are as close as they’ve ever been in Chase history.
Last week at the Kobalt Tools 500, Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota led for 190 laps, but fuel issues forced a 12th-place finish, while Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet wound up fifth.
That took Hamlin’s lead down to 15 over Johnson and 46 over Kevin Harvick.
Hamlin has a 5.0 finishing average in his last four starts at Homestead, including two third-place finishes and a win last year.
Harvick has the best numbers at Homestead with seven top-10s in nine career starts. Johnson’s average finish is 12.7, though it should be noted he’s never had to win the last race to claim the Chase title.
“It’s going to be pandemonium,” Glasgo said. “I think it’ll be amazing, unbelievable. If he can win the first championship – being Toyota’s first driver to win – and at a Ford track, it’ll be something.”
Now and later
Believe it or not, the offseason is one of the busiest times for Glasgo.
On the road almost every day – next year he’ll go a stretch of 17 weeks without a break – there’s not much time for Spencer Township.
But after Glasgo cleans up the bus, he’ll come home at the beginning of December and be there through the middle of January.
That’s when he’ll catch up with friends and family before heading back out as things really get going around Feb. 1.
“I never unpack. I still live out of a suitcase,” Glasgo said. “The stress of not being home can be hard, but that’s what you’re used to. NASCAR is a big family.”
As far as regrets, Glasgo has none. He makes a very good living and is fulfilling dreams he had as a kid.
There are off days during the season where he can get to places like the Florida Keys to fish and relax and there are experiences he’s had that few get the chance to live out.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘You’re nothing but a butler,’ but they don’t get to do what I do,” Glasgo said. “I sacrifice a lot, but I’ve got a great career and a great job and I’m having fun.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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