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Eddie Wood talks about Wood Brothers Racing's past, present and future

Posted On Thursday, 13 August 2015 20:00 Written by
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BROOKLYN, Mich. -- If any team is a part of the fabric of NASCAR, it's the Wood Brothers Racing team.

Running continuously since 1950 (that's 65 years if you're not good at math), most of the great drivers in NASCAR's have spent some time behind the wheel of a Wood Brothers #21 Ford. Outside of Richard Petty's #43 and Dale Earnhardt's #3, the #21 of the Wood Brothers is arguably the most recognizable car in the sport's history. The teammade has made many contributions that all of auto racing should be thankful for, including inventing the modern pit stop.

Started by Virginia natives Glen and Leonard Wood, both NASCAR Hall of Famers, and now run by sons Len and Eddie Wood, the team endures in 2015, a testament to its commitment to the sport in an era where those without multi-car teams are at a distinct disadvantage.
The team has fluctuated through its history between part-time and full-time, and currently is a part-time competitor in the Sprint Cup series (It's been 8 years since they ran full-time).

At Michigan Speedway on Friday, Eddie Wood told me that despite the fact it's been a while, that doesn't mean the team doesn't want to run full-time. In fact, with a hot young driver in Ryan Blaney, it's a goal they are actively pursuing.
"We're working really hard to go back full-time, but we'll see whether we get that done or not," Wood said. "A lot of people in a lot of places are working really hard. It's a goal."

This week at MIS, the Wood Brothers team is in the same boat as everyone else. They are waiting until Sunday to see how this new high-drag package works.

"I thnk we're OK. It's a new package, high-drag," Eddie Wood said after Friday's practices. "I don't think anyone's going to know until Sunday. You're going to know the same time we do."

Driver Ryan Blaney echoed those sentiments this week, saying that: “Michigan is one of the fastest tracks we race. It’s very smooth and makes the drivers be very aware of things at all times because everything happens so fast. With this new aero package, it's going to be a lot different.”

Eddie Wood also addressed the possibility of "pack racing" at Michigan as a result of this new package. He wasn't concerned about it though, saying that even if it does happen it won't be anything like Daytona or Talladega, and drivers may initially be reluctant to attempt it.

"We could see pack racing because of the drag. But no one's going to do it until there's a whole group. But I think it's going to be fine."

Looking back on the team's storied past, Eddie Wood didn't name any favorites out of all the greats his team has fielded -- a list that includes David Pearson, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Fireball Roberts, Cale Yarborough, Dan Gurney and many more.

He said the team has enjoyed working with all of its drivers through the years.
"Everybody we have had in the car we had a good relationship with," Eddie said. "We had the most success with David Pearson, but also with others and we're thankful for it."

And the best news: He said there is no end of the road planned for this legendary team, which has amassed 98 wins in the Cup series and is 2 away from an even 100.

"We hope to stay around," he said. "I started coming around in 1968, my brother a couple years behind me. We have kids who are learning the business and grew up in this too."

Note: The Wood Brothers’ No. 21 will be wearing its familiar Motorcraft/Quick Lane colors this week, and it also will feature a special decal honoring the life of former Wood Brothers driver Buddy Baker who passed away Monday from lung cancer. Baker piloted the No. 21 in 1983 and 1984, finding victory lane at the ’83 Firecracker 400 in Daytona.

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Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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