- A Weekend with the Woods – Birthday Style
- Glen Wood Has Seen Major Changes In NASCAR Championships During His Long Career
- The Love of Martinsville Speedway
- A Trip to the Wood Brothers Racing Museum
- Talladega Madness Wrap-Up
First of all – I apologize for my lack of blog post and Facebook updates this week. I have been at home with a fussy little sickling, who managed to pass her cold onto me. If there is a cold going around, we seem to get it no matter what! Not to mention we are headed to Texas tomorrow, which will be little miss Giselle’s first time flying. I apologize in advance if you are on our flight tomorrow ha! Anyway, I will hopefully have more updates for you as we head to Texas this weekend but for now a good ole’ birthday post is all I have.
This past Saturday was my brother, Jon’s, 33rd birthday. So in true Wood fashion, we all packed our bags and headed to Stuart for the weekend to celebrate. How to celebrate a 33rd birthday? I am not sure about the rest of you parents but since our children were born, our (the parents) birthday celebrations have declined. None the less, we still wanted to have a mini celebration. We spent the afternoon at the local park, had the traditional “Wood” family cookout and ended the night with a parent’s night out.
The park probably was not on the top of Jon’s “Birthday To-Do List” but Riley was literally climbing the walls at the house, so it was necessary to take him to an actual play set to release some energy. Adults, have you tried to climb the monkey bars lately? My gosh! I jumped on the bars, ready to show my husband my acrobat skills and then immediately jumped/fell back to the ground. Either the monkey bars get tougher with age or I am really out of shape. The park was successful, Jon and my husband, Michael, had a “friendly” competition of who could swing the highest and who could kick the soccer ball the furthest, I guess some things never change, and then we headed to the house for a birthday cookout.
On off weekends, the Wood family usually gathers at my mom and dad’s house for a family cookout. Kim brings the hamburger meat and chili, Pa (Glen) brings his fresh veggies from his garden, Nannie brings the most delicious Macaroni salad ever to be created and “Bananaless Pudding” (Yes, we like banana pudding without bananas), Jon mixes up Velveeta cheese/salsa dip, Len takes our food orders and Eddie grills the hamburgers and hotdogs. That’s how the traditional Friday/Saturday night “grilling out” goes at the Wood house and Jon opted to stick with the tradition for his Birthday meal Saturday night. We mixed things up a bit and surprised him with a birthday cake, of which Riley insisted on blowing out the birthday candles (see video below).
After dinner, my mom and dad forced us to have a “parent’s night out”, so we ended up at the local bowling alley in Stuart, Tin Pin Alley. We had a blast! If you are ever in the area, stop by and show off your bowling skills. It wasn’t really crowded and it was a perfect place to just hang out, chit chat and have a little competitive game of bowling. Jon claims he has not been bowling since my wedding nearly 2 years ago but I beg to differ. He actually “bowled a turkey”?? I had never heard of this, clearly as you can see my less than impressive score in this picture but apparently it means you are good. I guess it got to his head because he has now signed up for bowling lessons and purchased his own bowling ball and shoes, go figure!
On a little side note, check out Pa in his tractor this weekend! I took this Sunday afternoon, he was moving a pot that my brother made for my mom. Pa’s energy level amazes me everyday!
When Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team hit the track at Texas Motor Speedway, team founder Glen Wood will have one eye on the No. 21 Ford Fusion and the other on the three Ford drivers among the eight in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Additionally, Wood likely will be paying more attention to how Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Carl Edwards fare in the championship battle that he did to his own team back in 1963 when it won the owner’s championship in the series now known as Sprint Cup.
Joe Weatherly, who drove for the Woods early in his career, won the driving title in ’63, but he did it by driving for nine different car owners throughout the season, so none of them accumulated a significant number of owner points. Wood’s team ran 24 of the 55 races that season with five different drivers behind the wheel of their No. 21 Ford. Fred Lorenzen, Tiny Lund, Dave MacDonald, Marvin Panch and Wood himself all spent time behind the wheel, and the team won three races and had 17 top-five finishes. Lund scored the biggest victory, winning the Daytona 500. Panch, who was burned in a sports car crash prior to the 500 and was unable to compete in the Great American Race, returned to the No. 21 later in the season and won at North Wilkesboro, while Wood himself took the victory at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
But in that era of the sport, championships didn’t carry the significance or pay the amount of money they do today.
“We didn’t even know we were in that category until the season was over,” Wood said. “It wasn’t like today when there’s a big fuss over it. It wasn’t until Winston came along and sponsored the series that championships became so important.”
The Woods’ championship trophy actually bears the name of another Wood Brother – Ray Lee Wood, a crewmember and tire changer in the team’s early years.
Glen Wood said he listed his brother as car owner back in the day as a cost-saving move.
“Times were hard back then, and I probably saved $10 or $15 by listing Ray Lee as the car owner,” he said. “I had to buy a driver’s license for myself, and if I listed myself as the car owner, I’d have to have two licenses. So it saved one license by putting Ray Lee as the owner.”
Despite running a limited schedule for most of their NASCAR careers, the Woods have had several strong finishes in the championship battle. In 1974, with David Pearson at the wheel, the Woods ran just 19 of the 30 races that year but still finished third behind champion Richard Petty and runner-up Cale Yarborough on the strength of seven wins and 15 top-five finishes, five of which were second-place.
“Some of those years, all we would have had to do to win the championship was run a few more races,” Wood said, adding that if his team were to get the sponsorship needed to run all the races each year he’d relish the chance to compete for another championship.
Wood said the new format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup has brought much more publicity to the sport, especially in the final weeks of the season, but it also makes for some nerve-wracking times for the participants.
“There’s been a lot of ink about the Chase,” he said. “But the way it is now, even the best teams can get knocked out by an accident that’s no fault of theirs.”
“No matter how it goes, somebody will be the champion when it’s over.”
Qualifying for the AAA Texas 500 is set for Friday at 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time, and the race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on ESPN.
Martinsville race is this weekend and as most of you know, that is the Wood Brothers hometown track. Martinsville has always been one of my favorite tracks for several reasons.
1. I have a major obsession with hot dogs and “The Martinsville Hot Dog” has always been at the top of my list on favorite hot dogs. What is not to love about the small red dogs with that oh so special Chili/Slaw that only Martinsville Speedway can master.
2. The intense racing and drama Martinsville Speedway always produces. Not only do the cars always leave the track with dents and scratches but it’s not uncommon for the drivers to leave with a few bruises as well (from other drivers not wrecks). You gotta love the drama that always unfolds after or quite often, before, the checkered flag drops. I actual remember a hilarious story from one of my brother’s, Jon’s, truck races at Martinsville. My Mema, grandma from my mom’s side not the Wood side, was at the track with us and we were sitting in the stands. My brother and Carl Edwards were racing hard for the win and Carl was right on his bumper, as close as you could get without wrecking. He actual raced him clean but Mema had a different view. She actually walked up to Carl after the race and pointed her finger and said, “if you had of wrecked Jon, you would have me to deal with”. Only at Martinsville, only at Martinsville. If you have never been to a Truck race or Cup race at Martinsville, then you are missing out!
3. Aside from the actual race track, when I was younger, Martinsville race weekend always meant our special friends, the Jarretts, would visit for the entire weekend. When Dale Jarrett drove for us, we became very close friends with him and his family. Every Martinsville race weekend, the family would visit and on race day the parents went to the race track and left us (the kids) home with a babysitter. It was always a highlight of race season.
4. Most importantly, my family’s history at Martinsville. The Wood Brothers have 8 poles and 2 wins at Martinsville, with my “Pa”, Glen, holding 4 of those poles. I wanted to take a look back and learn about the Wood Brothers first trip to Martinsville, which happened to be Pa’s first cup start. Check out the video below to hear what Pa had to say about that particular race at Martinsville!!!
If you are coming to Martinsville for the races this weekend, I highly recommend stopping by the Wood Brothers Museum in Stuart, Va. Over the past few years, Len and Eddie have added hundreds of new artifacts and pictures to the museum. The original museum was a 50 by 50 room in the front of the race shop. Once the team moved their racing operations to North Carolina, the museum was expanded to the back part of the race shop, where the team used to conduct their racing business. Now, the race shop walls are lined with pictures that date back to 1950 and the floors have numerous different historical exhibits, including toolboxes, workbenches and equipment from the 1960s. Eddie and Len have worked very hard to gather as many of the original artifacts as possible and some additional tribute cars. They have everything, from a limb from the original Beech Tree where Wood Brothers Racing originated to the David Pearson 71 Purolator Mercury. Inside the original museum there are many different pictures, artifacts and displays, including a new display of 1:18 and 1:24 scale model cars. Last but not least, you never know who you may run into at the museum. On most days, you will be greeted by Glen’s wife, Bernece, and some days Eddie, Len and Kim are roaming around the building. I could go on for hours about the different artifacts that are at the museum but I will let you visit and find out for yourself All I can say, is it is very impressive and definitely worth a visit!
Martinsville Race Weekend Hours:
Monday – Friday: 8:30 am to 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm (closed for lunch hour)
Saturday: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Normal Business Hours:
Monday – Friday: 8:30 am to 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm (closed for lunch hour)
Whew! Glad that race is in the books and we were not even in the Chase! Talladega is just one of those races that you look forward to and dread at the same time. The thrill behind Talladega is you never know how it will end until they cross the finish line, which also keeps you on edge the entire race. And by on edge, I mean that can’t eat, sweating bullets, nerve-wracking feeling.
In my opinion, Talladega lived up to the hype yesterday. For the Wood Brothers, the day did not end like it should have but since when does that ever happen at Talladega? Trevor consistently ran up front all day, dropping back a couple times because he felt the BIG one coming. The team had a caution that went their way towards the end and it put Trevor on the front row for the restart. Everything was set up for a great finish and then…..”Talladega” happened. On the final restart, the 2nd GWC attempt, Trevor was lined up on the third row and was hit from behind and slid off the track. It was just one of those “racing” things that couldn’t be avoided, with several chase contender cars behind Trevor that were either going to win or wreck trying. UGHHHH!!!!! It just wasn’t in our cards and we ended up with a 32nd place finish. Good news is we went home with a car in one piece, with a minor scratch on the rear where Trevor was hit. This tiny tiny tiny little scratch ended what looked to be a promising day for the team at Talladega.
As far as the race as a whole, I was highly entertained! I believe the chase made Talladega even more exciting than normal. Who was in? Who was out? I don’t know about you but my eyes were glued to who was in the chase and who was out of the chase, just waiting for the BIG wreck to happen and shake the point’s standings. As usual, it came down to the final lap before we knew who was going to be moving forward in the Chase. I actually found myself screaming at the TV, thinking that was going to help the Ford driver, Brad Keselowski, win the race. I guess it worked and we are very happy for all Ford teams continuing on in the next round of the Chase.