Skip to main content

Fast-tracking success: Former dirt-track racer, NASCAR pit coach a rising college star

Campbell's Weston Glaser used to race dirt-track cars in Texas to make ends meet. Then he went to work in NASCAR for Hendrick Motorsports. He carved a football career in coaching along the way.

Weston Glaser sees it all on video.

The camera passes no judgement; merely shows the false steps that impede pursuit.

Split-seconds matter.

A football coach knows this.

A NASCAR pit coach knows the same.

So, too, does a dirt-track race-car driver.

Glaser knows all these elements intertwine because he’s amidst a career experiencing the nexus of all three vocations.

Before Glaser was an American Football Coaches Association 35-under-35 honoree, he was an unpaid, student-assistant football coach at his alma mater, Sam Houston State, who spun around central Texas dirt tracks to help pay the bills.

“I kind of grew up around racing and Hendrick Motorsports posted a job, actually on FootballScoop, that they wanted a pit crew coach,” said Glaser, whose racing roots don't exist without the two-man crew of his father, Kenny, and brother, Colton. “They had an 18-man roster between two teams, and 16 of the 18 played college football or baseball. They wanted somebody who had been in that environment and who could relate to those guys and coach them.

“It was funny to me how similar it was, and we actually would break down film, learning different techniques. We had a practice setup for our guys at Hendricks, where one team was lifting, the other team was practicing. We had changers hitting lug-nuts, different things like that, and we would have team meetings, watch film of practice with the guys and then time absolutely everything. Those guys are wearing Go Pros (cameras) on their helmets, timing how long to get lug-nuts off and on and things like that.”

Timing remains an integral part of Glaser's world today. He's defensive coordinator at Football Championship Subdivision up-and-comer Campbell University.

The Camels are coming off a fall-only schedule featuring four games against Football Bowls Subdivision foes, including a one-point loss at Georgia Southern and a strong effort in a three-touchdown loss at 2020 darling Coastal Carolina.

They bring back virtually all starters, are sprinkling in seven new FBS transfers just on the defensive side of the ball and are further along in the transition from non-scholarship punching-bag to FCS playoff-contender under the guidance of head coach Mike Minter, a former Nebraska star and longtime Carolina Panthers stalwart.

Glaser and a staff including a blend of coaching veterans on the defensive side of the ball, Damien Adams and Braxton Harris are key veterans; former NFL veteran Reggie Howard, up-and-comer Patrick Miller are more recent additions, are trying to implement the lessons Glaser carries with him from his 40-weeks-a-year-grind in NASCAR, his work with Hendrick spanning the last half of the 2014 NASCAR season and first half of 2015.

“Championships. That's the thing we preach to our guys every day. Our staff, we have here defensively, coaches who have won championships as players and coaches, and we're teaching our kids what that looks like,” said Glaser, a former Southeastern Conference quality control coach at Texas A&M who also logged time as a scout for the NFL's Cleveland Browns. “Really, a big part of being at Hendrick was the management, being inside a professional organization like Hendrick Motorsports is like being in the Yankees or Cowboys when I was growing up. Mr. (Rick) Hendrick does a phenomenal job, with who he is and how he runs things. Being able to keep guys motivated for 38 weeks a year and being in the details and technique. That translates. Really, that's one of the biggest things I took from it. We talk about football being a game of inches and seconds; 100ths of a second on a pit-stop can change everything.”

Jeremy Springer, Marshall University's special teams coordinator and a former Glaser colleague, sees the NASCAR work with Hendrick Motorsports' powerhouse teams – Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmy Johnson are the drivers from Glaser's time with the multi-championship organization – translating in perpetuity to Glaser's college coaching.

“I think when you can see the whole picture, you're able to break it down to where it makes sense for every role,” Springer, Glaser's former graduate assistant at UTEP who initially shared word of the NASCAR opportunity with Glaser, told FootballScoop. “You're able to make sure every part of your staff is covered and invested in what everyone is doing for the team. Like we do here at Marshall, you own your role, and if you're able to see the whole picture, you're going to be better off.

“It's big-time what he is doing and how his experiences help him with his players and other coaches. First and foremost, Weston has no ego. It's out the door. Because of that, he's able to serve his players and peers. When you're able to do that, I think it just makes it that much easier.”

Both Glaser and Springer are somewhat disciples of Scott Stoker, a veteran of three decades in college coaching with stints at Sam Houston State, UTEP and FootballScoop's 2011 FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year.

The Camels, set to open against Hugh Freeze's Liberty Flames Sept. 4 and also with a late-season, non-conference showdown at James Madison, unsurprisingly mirror Glaser's roots; as long as they're flying to the football, a few cautions and crashes are no problem.

“For us, we're an aggressive style; we like to challenge people,” said Glaser. “At the end of the day, this has become an offensive game. My objective as a defensive coordinator is to not let the offense dictate everything. We want to make them react some to what we do and mix in a lot of looks. We've run some 4-2-5 but also installed a 3-3-5 last year as we played so many FBS teams.

“There are only two things in life you can fully control: effort and attitude. My job is to put players in position to be successful, I truly believe that.”

Glaser implements that vision to his players, in part, because of his own belief in what Minter sees for the Camels.

“Coach Minter's vision for this program is the biggest thing,” Glaser said. “He had an article, we were ranked the very last D-1 school in the country. We were new, transitioning from non-scholarship to scholarship football.

"Our thing as a program is to uncover the greatness in our players. The belief Coach Minter has and his vision for the players and this program is phenomenal.”

All that's left? Full speed ahead.