The Wood Brothers have been running a partial schedule in 2009. Saturday night’s race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte will mark the team’s 11th race of the season. Bill Elliott drove the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion to a season-best 15th-place finish at Charlotte in May, after starting 15th, one of four top-10 qualifying efforts this year. This weekend, the car will carry a special Ford Motor Company Warriors in Pink paint scheme.
EDDIE WOOD – co-owner, No. 21 Warriors in Pink Ford Fusion – YOUR TEAM HAS RUN A PARTIAL SCHEDULE THIS YEAR. HAS THAT PLAN WORKED OUT BETTER THAN YOU HAD HOPED? “Things have worked out a lot better than we probably would’ve expected – actually, we didn’t know what to expect. You can look at it both ways – yes, we had more time to prepare, but we weren’t there week to week, either, so you could lose a little bit there. But, you know, we are so much better than we were a year ago – and have been all year. So, as far as I am concerned, it’s been very positive. It was done out of necessity, but the good side of it is we’re better – the cars are better, the crew is getting a lot better, everything about the whole race team is really upbeat. And, knock on wood, we’ve been qualifying pretty well, and racing pretty good, too. We’ve had some things happen to us on pit road at Indy and Chicago, and had that not happened, I think we would’ve had top-10s there – and maybe a top-five at one of them. But, we just keep working, and so far it’s worked out pretty good.”
WHEN YOU DON’T RACE EVERY WEEK, AND DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT POINTS, ARE THERE ANY OTHER BENEFITS? “Sometimes, you catch yourself racing like you’ve always raced, which is to do the right thing in the big picture, but with NASCAR putting in the wave-around rule and the double-file re-starts – changes that I think are all very, very positive – you can take chances now. Let’s say you find yourself a lap down, you can get the wave-around and take a chance on it. Whereas before, you’d do the safe thing, but when you’re not running for points every week, you don’t have to do the safe thing, and if it works out, great; you’ve gained a lot. And if it doesn’t work out, oh, well, we tried, but it doesn’t really hurt you in points.”
YOUR CAR WILL BE CARRYING A “WARRIORS IN PINK PAINT SCHEME.” HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? “Ford Racing and Motorcraft and us got together and decided to do that. The car looks good. It’s not a pink car, it’s a white car with pink numbers. It looks good.”
WHAT ARE THE NEXT RACES AFTER CHARLOTTE FOR THE 21? “Texas and Homestead.”