Convertible Racing at Soldier Field

Who knew that NASCAR raced at Soldier Field in Chicago? Well, if you are a “youngster” like me, you may have been unaware that NASCAR held races at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears.  With the race in Chicago this weekend, let’s take a trip down memory lane to look at what it used to be like racing in Chicago.

The track was built around the field and was considered to be a half-mile paved track. In 1956 and 1957, the Wood Brothers joined in on the fun and brought their 21 convertible. Glen Wood was the driver at the time, with his brothers serving as the crew/mechanics and building him a top-notch car. In 1956 the team finished 14th and then went on the win the race in 1957.

I caught up with Leonard Wood this week to talk to him about racing at Soldier Field. Watch the video to get some insight on what it was like racing at Chicago in the late 1950’s.

 


~ Jordan

 

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Welcome to The Wonderful World of The Woods

Welcome to the Wood Brothers Racing blog, brought to you by Jordan and Jon Wood, third generation of the Wood family. We are excited to start this blog and share current and past stories of what make the Wood Brothers who they are today! Each week we will be posting several stories that will range from stories from the 1950’s to stories about what it is like to be a “Wood” family member today. Trust me life gets interesting when you have Leonard Wood and Jon Wood as apart of your daily life. Stay tuned for our first post.

Be prepared to be AMAZED & AMUSED.

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Multi-Car Crash Spoils Bayne’s Quick Michigan Start

_M254975After a strong start to Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Trevor Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion were involved in a multi-car accident on lap 22 that led to a trip to the garage for major repairs and a 41st-place finish.

Bayne, who had to start in the rear because of a driver change from qualifying, had a goal of making it into the top 30 before a planned competition caution flag at lap 20. He had surpassed that with ease and was 28th when Danica Patrick lost control and triggered a nine-car crash that left the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion with damage to the radiator, oil cooler and front-end body work.

“We had something we could work with,” Bayne said of his car, which was driven in practice and qualifying by Ryan Blaney. “It’s pretty easy to get through those first 10 to 15 cars, but when you get to about 25th, the pace picks up and it’s more difficult to pass.

“We were almost to that point, and we were just going to keep working on the car and try to get it to turn better. We could have had a good run, but we got caught up in somebody else’s mess.”
Bayne said there was little he could do to avoid being swept up in the crash.

_M255313 “I couldn’t really see much in front of me,” he said. “I was following the 7 car [Michael Annett] or whoever was in front of me, and the next thing I know three cars slid down in front of us, I got on the brakes hard and couldn’t get it slowed down in time. It wasn’t much of a hit, but it doesn’t take much to damage these things.”

The otherwise disappointing situation provided the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team an opportunity to shine, and the crew delivered in fine fashion. They replaced the radiator and oil cooler as well as patching up the aerodynamically sensitive sheet metal at the front of the No. 21 Ford Fusion and had Bayne back on the track for the final two-thirds of the race on a day that Ford Motor Company board member Edsel B. Ford II was watching from atop the team’s pit box.

“They did a really good job of putting the car back together,” team co-owner Len Wood said. “We didn’t have to come back in to fix any tire rubs or anything. They got it right the first time.”

Bayne too had good words for his fellow members of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, whose next scheduled return to the Sprint Cup circuit will be on Oct. 17-19 for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

“I hate that for these guys who work so hard,” he said. “Hopefully next time we don’t have that kind of luck.”

 

Ryan Blaney Has Successful First Outing in Famed Wood Brothers Ford

SM_M240881Two three-generation racing families officially went to work together on Friday at Michigan International Speedway as Ryan Blaney took his first laps in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion.

Blaney, the son of veteran NASCAR and sprint car racer Dave Blaney, nephew of sprint car standout Dale Blaney, and grandson of the late short track legend Lou Blaney, drove the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion as a substitute for Trevor Bayne, who was at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where his Nationwide Series schedule conflicted with Sprint Cup practice and qualifying.

Blaney, who will become the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team’s regular driver next season, also will drive the No. 21 in Saturday’s practice session before turning it over to Bayne for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.

Blaney was 27th in practice with a best lap of 199.756 miles per hour and then qualified 28th with a lap at 202.327 mph. Nevertheless, Bayne will have to start from the rear on Sunday because of the driver change.

“It was a good day of work with everyone here at the Wood Brothers team,” Blaney said. “We didn’t get the qualifying lap in that I wanted to. I am excited for tomorrow to be able to get some race runs in and hopefully get it pretty good for Trevor for Sunday.”

Part of Blaney’s challenge was trying to adapt to the more powerful Cup cars while still practicing in his Ford F-150 in the Camping World Truck Series, where he’s the current points leader.

“It is good to get out here and get my first laps on Michigan in a Cup car,” he said. “It is a whole lot different than those trucks over there I will tell you that. It is all about learning and helping these guys out as much as I can. I am just happy to be here.”

Eddie Wood, who co-owns the Motorcraft team founded by his father Glen Wood and one that now includes his brother Len and sister Kim, as well as third-generation members Jon, Jordan and Keven, said he was impressed with Blaney’s work on Friday.

“He did a great job for his first time here in a Sprint Cup car,” Wood said. “He gave the crew great feedback, and I was very impressed with his calm, focused approach to the whole day.”

The Pure Michigan 400 is set to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday with TV coverage on ESPN.