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The Ultimate Battle for The 2014 Trophy

What are your thoughts on the final race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship??!! In my opinion, the chase was beyond EPIC! NASCAR honestly could not have had a more exciting finish. Who in the world would have thought that all four drivers would have been battling all day for the number 1 spot? Literally, at some point during the race, each of the four drivers was leading the points. I know this because my husband is a rear tire changer for the #11 and was in the chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. A good word to describe my emotions on Sunday would be a ROLLERCOASTER.

In past years, there are normally two drivers who are racing for the championship at Homestead and sometimes it has been only one. This year there were 4 teams that had equal chance to clinch the chase at the season finale race. That means one team would go home with one of the most prestigious awards one could ever receive in their career and three teams would go home with disappointment. Unfortunately, I experienced the latter, which was quite the emotional rollercoaster.

I was obviously trying to pull for the 22 to win the championship but my heart was with the 11 because I wanted my husband to experience winning a NASCAR championship. The week leading up to the race at Homestead was a week of mixed emotions, we did not want to get our hopes up, we did not want to act like Denny could win the championship for fear you would “Jinx” the team (don’t lie, we all get that feeling) but yet deep down all you could think about was making that trip to Vegas as a part of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Team.

I kept telling my husband to treat this race like any other, go out there and dominate like always. I realize that where I watched the race had ZERO impact on the results but I guess it is the Wood in me that just felt a little superstitious. Denny started to pull ahead while I was in the 21 hauler, so I decided to stay put. Then we had a problem with our car and I had to move. I headed out to pit road and decided to stay away from the 11 pit box. I don’t know why but I have always been told to stay put and don’t head to the pit box until the race is complete otherwise you would “jinx” the finish. I know for a fact that the people around me on pit road had to think I was losing my mind. Those last few laps were INTENSE. Not to mention I was pulling for two teams at the same time, the 22 and 11. One second, Denny was winning the championship, the next second he was not, one second the 22 was in lead, the next second they were having problems. I did not have the 11 team on my race scanner so I listened to MRN call the race and whew those boys can make you a nervous wreck on a good day.  I paced back and forth, screamed at the Sprint Vision screen a few times, closed my eyes and actually just sat down on the pavement at one point. In the end, my husband and his team would be one of those teams that had to leave the track with disappointment.

In summary, I LOVE the new chase. As a fan of the sport, I want close battles and that is exactly what the new chase delivered. In my opinion, if you are still a huge hater of the new chase then it is time for you to wrap it up and follow a different sport. There could be small changes made to make the chase better or it would have been better if your favorite driver was in the chase. Bottom line, you cannot beat what you witnessed on Sunday.

I stopped in with Leonard Wood to get his view on chamionship battles. Check out the video below.


~ Jordan

 

 

Trevor and Ashton Bayne Forever Part of the Wood Family

This weekend in Miami was an emotional weekend for our team and many others. For us, it marked the end of our driver relationship with Trevor Bayne. For other teams, the 2014 NASCAR season came to a conclusion and a champion was crowned.  For me, I am usually pumped for the season to end because that means my hubs and family will be home for a few months (I did mention I have a fussy little 5 month old at home, right?). This year was a little bit different because the season finale meant that Trevor Bayne would be climbing in our car for the final time.

_MH61624We all knew the dreaded day was coming that Trevor would be leaving the Wood Brothers but that did not make it any easier. I actually held back tears on pit road as we said goodbye to Ashton and Trevor. Yes, they will always be part of our family and we will continue our close friendships with them but I will greatly miss not being able to chit chat with Ashton during pre race and give Trevor a final “Good Luck” before he climbs in our car. Have you ever met someone that just by simply talking with them made your day better and made you feel like a better person? Trevor and Ashton both have had that impact on my family and me.

I remember spending time with Trevor at a tire test before the 2011 Daytona 500. This was actually right before we both fell in love with our future spouses and we were discussing our life plans and goals. Trevor did not talk about materialistic life goals but more about his relationship with God. It made me step back and think about what I was really wanting in life. I have always gone to church and followed the Lord’s word the best I thought I could but after meeting Trevor and Ashton, I knew they had something I wanted in my life. This was simply the unconditional love for God. Last year I was baptized and I thank Trevor and Ashton for being an inspiration to me and showing me what God can do in my life.

Last Sunday may have marked the end our journey with Trevor Bayne as a driver but it is only the beginning of a life long friendship. Trevor and Ashton will always be part of the Wood Family.

~ Jordan

Late-Race Contact Leaves Bayne, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team As Spectators For Epic Conclusion to 2014 Chase

_MI42001Trevor Bayne’s 57th and final ride in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion ended prematurely when contact with another car just 60 laps shy of the finish of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway damaged his car too much to continue on.

His 42nd-place finish was no indication of the potential of the No. 21 Ford Fusion, which was running 23rd and poised to move up when a cut valve stem on a tire led to parts of the damaged tire wrapping around the brakes, ripping the brake line loose and damaging the sheet metal in the wheel well.

“It had gotten dark, and the track was doing just what Trevor and Donnie expected,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “The track was coming to us, and Trevor was running some really good lap times. He had gotten in the lucky dog position, which would have gotten us back on the lead lap when the next caution came out.”

“Unfortunately, that caution flag wound up being for us. We weren’t going to win the race, but a top-15 wasn’t out of the question.”

With not enough time left to properly repair their Fusion, the Woods, crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were left with front-row seats for one of NASCAR’s all-time greatest moments as the final race of the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup delivered the kind of “Game 7” moment that chairman Brian France envisioned when he decided on the current elimination-style Chase format.

“I congratulate Brian and everyone at NASCAR for putting on one of the most exciting races I’ve been to in a long time. It was a classic showdown between Ford, Chevy and Toyota.” Wood said of the grand finale of Ford Championship Weekend. “I was around when Bill Sr., who started NASCAR, was running things. And I was there when Bill Jr. came along and gave it a new dimension with corporate sponsorship, TV coverage and the involvement of Winston as the title sponsor of the series.”

“Now, it’s Brian’s time. He’s the chief, and he’s come up with a way to add a lot of excitement to our sport.

“It’s great stuff.”

_MH61591When the checkered flag flew to end the Ford EcoBoost 400, it also marked the final appearance of veteran crew chief Donnie Wingo atop the Motorcraft/Quick Lane pit box.

Wood said that the relationship with Wingo and Bayne has been a good one.

“It’s been a great four years,” Wood said. “They gave us one of our biggest wins ever in the 2011 Daytona 500, and they’ve been great to work with.”

“Like all the other great ones before them, they’re a part of our history now, and they’ll always be treated as such.”

“We wish them both well as they move on to their new ventures.”
The Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team along with their new driver, Ryan Blaney, return to the track next February for the 57th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

Bayne Set To Start 26th In Season-Ending Ford EcoBoost 400

SM_TE60933In Sprint Cup Series qualifying, mere fractions of a second can make the difference in a good qualifying run and a great one. On Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Trevor Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick   Lane team had to settle for a good one.

Bayne and his No. 21 Ford Fusion came within two hundredths of a second of advancing to the second round of knock-out qualifying for the Ford EcoBoost 400, but instead wound up with the 26th starting position for Sunday’s grand finale of the Ford Championship Weekend.

Bayne’s best lap in qualifying was at 178.136 miles per hour, just a fraction of second slower than the 178.247 mph that it would have taken to advance to the second qualifying round. His qualifying speed was considerably faster than his best lap in practice of 175.188 miles per hour, but his No. 21 Ford Fusion was a little to loose on his qualifying run.

“Trevor didn’t get the lap he wanted,” team co-owner Len Wood said. “Coming off the corners he had to crack the throttle.”

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team now turns its focus to Saturday’s two practice sessions, and unlike earlier race weekends this season, they’ll have an extra set of tires to use in fine-tuning the handling of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. It’s a luxury they often don’t have, but are enjoying this week because with just 43 teams entered for 43 starting spots, they didn’t have to put as much emphasis on qualifying, something that’s tremendously important for a team running a limited schedule and not guaranteed a starting spot for races.

“We’ll work on race trim in the two practices,” Wood said. “They’re in the daytime, and the race ends at night, so there’s some guesswork involved, but we will be starting the race in the sun.”

Having a good run on Sunday is important for Wood and the rest of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team as the Ford EcoBoost 400 marks the end of the 2014 season.

“It’s bittersweet to see a season come to an end,” Wood said. “But that also means that it’s that much closer to the Daytona 500, and everyone knows how much that race means to our family and to our team.”

The Ford EcoBoost 400 is set to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on ESPN.

A Snapshot of the Wood Brothers Racing Museum

Have you ever visited the Wood Brothers Racing Museum in Stuart, VA? If you haven’t, you are missing out! The entire Wood family has put a lot of hours into making this museum something special and in my opinion, they have accomplished this and beyond. They have thousands of artifacts that date back to the formation of Wood Brothers Racing. As I have stated in an earlier blog post, Len and Eddie have recently added numerous displays, pictures and artifacts to the museum. They are both very proud of the legacy their family has created and it shows in the work they have done at the museum. We have decided to do a quick museum feature every week on our blog because we realize that not everyone can make a trip down to Stuart. Of course, these videos and post are just snapshots of what you would see if you visited the museum. The displays are much better in person and we encourage you to plan a visit to see them!

In today’s video, Len Wood describes the “Racing Shirt” display that the family has put together. It includes race day shirts from the 1950’s to present day shirts and even a couple of outfits that Eddie and Len wore as babies.