It’s understandable that Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of Eddie Wood’s favorite race tracks. His family’s team leads all others with twelve Atlanta victories and has nine poles and 33 top-five finishes in 101 starts.
Wood, a second-generation member of the Wood Brothers team, has been going to Atlanta since 1969, when NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough, driving the No. 21 Mercury Cyclone, got the third of his seven Atlanta wins. Additionally, it was at Atlanta that another Hall of Famer, Walter “Bud” Moore, taught Eddie and his brother Len how to use a slide rule so they could calculate the results of dynamometer tests. Another memorable occurrence at Atlanta was during the 1993 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500. Hall of Famer, Rusty Wallace, gave the Woods a tip on which left-front shock to use on their car. Morgan Shepherd went out and won that race riding on the shock Wallace suggested, while Wallace finished third.
Shepherd also delivered the Woods’ current crew chief, Donnie Wingo, an Atlanta victory in 1990, when both were working on Bud Moore’s No. 15 Motorcraft Ford.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to Atlanta,” said Wood, whose team didn’t race there in 2011. “It’s one of my favorite tracks. We’ve had a lot of success there with a lot of different drivers.”
It is a little surprising to hear how the current driver of the Good Sam/Camping World No. 21 Ford Fusion feels about the 1.54-mile quad-oval.
“I’ve never run a Sprint Cup car there, but it’s my favorite track,” said Trevor Bayne. “I’ve always run well there in the Nationwide Series.”
Bayne figures that given his team’s speed in recent races on similar intermediate-length tracks, he’ll get up to speed in a hurry when practice starts on Friday for Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500.
“Hopefully we can figure it out pretty quickly,” he said. “The car’s been really good here lately. Even at the two-mile track at Michigan we were really fast, and at Indy we were quick”.
“I think the Wood Brothers team has really got the cars dialed in pretty good.”
Bayne also believes he can tap into the resources of his fellow Ford team members over at Roush Fenway Racing.
“Roush is definitely getting their program better, and we’re feeding off that a good bit,” he said. “I think we’ll be pretty good at Atlanta.”
Qualifying for the AdvoCare 500 is set to begin just after 6 p.m. on Friday, and the race is set to get the green flag on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with TV coverage on ESPN.