With Leonard Wood’s picture on the hood, and candy apple red paint on the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, it comes as no surprise that crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew have prepared a brand-new Ford Fusion for this weekend’s 400-miler at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It’s the first new intermediate-track car we’ve built this year,” Wingo said. “Everything looked good when we took it to the wind tunnel so it should be a good car.”
For Wingo, this week’s paint scheme holds special meaning, since it’s a tribute to Wood’s upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. During his time working for Bud Moore’s race team, he got to know Leonard Wood and the rest of the Wood family. The bond has remained strong through the decades, and for the past two years, Wingo has worked for the Wood Brothers, giving him the distinction of working directly with three members of the Hall of Fame – Bud Moore, and Glen and Leonard Wood.
“It’s truly been an honor to work with Leonard Wood,” Wingo said. “It’s amazing what he’s capable of doing. After working with him, I understand why the Wood Brothers ran so well when he was the crew chief.”
Wingo said that Wood still uses his machinist skills to build parts and pieces for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. More often than not, Wingo is most intrigued by the non-racing projects Wood takes on, like his latest creation – a remote-controlled lawn mower.
“Leonard and I talk some about racing, but not as much as we talk about his projects,” Wingo said. “I like to see what he’s got going on.”
One of Wingo’s biggest challenges this weekend is the Indy schedule itself. The only two practice sessions and qualifying will both occur within a few hours of each other on Saturday.
With the team not assured of a starting spot, and a good starting position being such a key factor in the race, the team will have to use much of the practice time preparing a qualifying set-up. That means that laps – and sets of tires – that might have been spent on race practice, instead will be devoted to the qualifying effort.
“If you can qualify well, in the top 10 or 15, and maintain that for the first part of the race, it gives you a good chance of having good track position at the end of the race,” Wingo said. “So we definitely need to qualify well.”
Qualifying for the: Crown Royal Presents The Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard is set for Saturday at 2:10 p.m. with TV coverage on ESPN. The green flag is scheduled to fly on Sunday at 1 p.m. with coverage also on ESPN.