Category Archives: 2008

Jon Wood Qualified the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in 27th at Talladega

Jon Wood Qualified the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in 27th at Talladega

Talladega, Ala.(October 4, 2008)-Jon Wood will make his second start at Talladega Superspeedway in the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion and will take the green flag in the 27th spot on the starting grid for the Amp Energy 500 on Sunday, October 5th.

The team was relieved after Jon ran a lap that was fast enough to put him in the 43 car field with a lap time of 51.544 and carrying the speed of 185.783. Jon commented on his qualifying effort. “It’s quite a relief.  It was very intense the past several hours, particularly for my dad and Len.  When you’re in that position where practice reflects the fact that you will probably get in on time, but you don’t know if maybe you got a little bit of a draft, you don’t know what to expect.  The best position to be in is the Monday morning quarterback.  That’s the only guy that knows what to do and, unfortunately, you can’t ask him before qualifying, but we made it and at least this time I get to race.”

Watch Wood Brothers Racing and Jon Wood in the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion race in the Amp Energy 500 on Sunday, October 5th with coverage beginning at 1:00pm ET on ABC.

Wood Finished 22nd in Talladega

Talladega Post Race Report
Jon Wood Finished 22nd in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150

Talladega, AL (October 4, 2008)-Jon Wood finished 22nd in the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 U. S Air Force F-150 in typical Talladega style. The Mountain Dew 250 was filled with three and four wide racing throughout the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race as Jon was running mid pack. On the last lap, a truck spun, hit the door of the no. 21 and took the team out of contention for a top 10 finish.

Jon climbed into the no. 21 truck in the fourth position, but had to move to the back of the field before the green flag due to an unapproved change under the NASCAR impound rule. Earlier in the day, the team tried to start the no. 21 and it wouldn’t turn over.  The team discovered they needed to change the starter which fixed the issue but, Wood had to start in the rear of the 33 truck field.

Caution for debris on lap one prompted the team to pit. With nothing to lose, the no. 21 came down pit road to top off the fuel tank. Jon returned the track in 31st where he restarted the race on lap three.  On lap seven, Jon radioed to the crew, “This truck is stupid fast!”

Caution for debris a second time would bring out the yellow flag on lap 18. Crew chief John Monsam decided to pit for four tires, fuel and an adjustment to assist with a reported, slight, loose condition. Wood restarted in the 21st position on lap 22. On lap 40 other teams started making scheduled green flag pit stops that helped Jon move up to the seventh spot when the team decided to make their stop on lap 52. The 21 pit crew put on four tires and fuel. Jon returned to the track in the 21st position.  As Jon ran with a four truck pack his lap times were faster than the leaders. They picked up the main pack by lap 62.

The yellow flag flew on lap 63, Jon radioed to the crew that he felt a vibration and had suspicion that something was wrong as the truck was not running optimally. He came in to pit on lap 67 and the team changed four tires and fuel.  Not feeling confident with the vibration issue, Jon urged the team to check and make sure that there was nothing visibly wrong with the truck. He came back down pit road on lap 68, the team could not find anything noticeably amiss. The no. 21 returned to the track and restarted the race in 16th on lap 76.

With 13 laps to go, Jon moved to the 12th spot when he was shuffled out of line and fell back to 21st. Caution on lap 84 allowed for Monsam and the spotter, Danny O’Quinn, to seek other teams that would help run with Jon in the draft. Jon also said that the truck was fine but was still bogging down on power. The race restarted on lap 87.

On the last lap heading toward the checkered flag in turn three, the 40 truck spun and crashed into Jon sending him into the wall and across the track as he was running in the 12th spot and heading for the top 10.  Jon was unharmed by the hard lick and drove across the finish line in the 22nd position.

Jon commented on the performance, “You don’t really know how frustrating it is in the truck race here to map out a race strategy or to have a predetermined strategy on who you’re going to run with, how you’re going to do it and how you’re going to execute the whole race.  You can’t do it because these trucks have such a closure rate that when you catch the guy in front of you, you’ve got that Dick Tracy ‘I’m going to go in with two guns a blazing attitude’ and thinking you  can pull out and pass the field and you just can’t do it.  Unfortunately, it creates a false sense of dominance for the entire field, so you get that big head of steam and pull out and then 10 trucks pass you.  That made it to where at least for the people I was around nobody was working together, so it got very stagnant.  You could only make it so far and then your luck runs out and you’ve got no help.  Then you go back and have to start all over again.  At the very end we got tore up on the last lap and that was just last-lap intensity.  Somebody got into the back of the 40 truck and drove him right into my door, but this was, without a doubt, the best truck I’ve had here at Talladega.  And the motor was unbelievable.  We had an awesome truck and just weren’t able to fully capitalize.”

Wood Brothers Racing and Jon Wood in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 will have a week off and then head to Martinsville Speedway on October 18th for the running of the Kroger 200.

Jon Wood Qualifies Fourth for the Mountain Dew 250

Jon Wood Qualifies Fourth for the Mountain Dew 250

Talledega, AL( October 3, 2008)-Jon Wood put down a solid lap in the no.21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 that won him the fourth starting spot in the 36 truck field for the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.

The Wood Brothers Racing team had two good practice sessions on Thursday when Jon put the fastest lap on the scoreboard in the first session with a final lap time of 49.856 and a speed of 192.073 proving that the no. 21 will run successfully in the draft.  The second session ended with a 14th place final score that resulted from running single truck laps.

In Friday afternoon’s qualifying session, Jon put down the fourth fastest lap time of 53.411 seconds and is the fourth place Ford with the top three spots occupied by Ford F-150’s.

Watch Jon Wood in the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 race the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, October 4th with coverage beginning 3:30 p.m. ET on Speed.

Double Opportunity for Jon Wood in Talladega

Double Opportunity for Jon Wood in Talladega

Harrisburg, N.C. (October 2, 2008)- Jon Wood will be making his second attempt in the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford Fusion at Talladega Superspeedway for the running of the Amp Energy 500 on Sunday, October 5th.

Wood started in the 12th spot in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut earlier this season and finished 36th. He is looking forward to the challenge, once again, of being in a Sprint Cup Series race car while also doing double duty in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday.  Jon has had a best finish of second place at the 2.66 mile tri-oval in the Nascar Nationwide Series in his first run on the superspeedway in 2005.  Talladega is also a historical track for the team as this will be the 76th time Wood Brothers Racing will run at the track since 1970. They have recorded five victories, 17 top-five finishes and 28 top-10’s.

Jon doesn’t view racing in both series as double duty, but rather, “double opportunity” as he talked about  his first run at Talladega, his first run in a Sprint Cup Series car at the superspeedway as he looks toward this weekend.

You ran your first race in 2005 at Talladega Superspeedway in a Nationwide Series car. You started 31st and finished 2nd. Can you recall that day?

“That’s the beauty of this race track, it is entirely possible to start in the back and work your way through and with the draft to finish second as long as you stay out of trouble. It just happened that it worked out perfectly for me that day.”

“I’ve always had this strategy of sorts, to take it easy and be far enough away from the lead pack to miss the wrecks but, then close enough within striking distance if the race should seem to go green for a long time.That way you don’t lose the draft and go a lap down. It has been quite different than any other experience that I’ve ever had which was limited to trucks and in those cars it was twice as hard to stay in the lead pack and twice as hard to keep up.”

How would you describe transitioning to the Sprint Cup Series level at this track?

“In the Sprint Cup race, it was twice as hard as the Nationwide Series race. I don’t believe it was the competition level where that is mostly the case at other race tracks.  NASCAR has inadvertently designed the cars/trucks where the people with the least amount of driving experience have the most ability to keep up [in the NCTS]. Then you have the middle of the road guys in the Nationwide Series and those cars are twice as difficult as the trucks to keep up but, twice as easy as the Sprint Cup cars. Then you get in the Sprint Cup car.”

“In that first race, I think that I lost the draft by lap five. However, prior to the green flag in the Sprint Cup race, I had zero drafting in a Sprint Cup car. It was like the first hour of practice when we took the green flag. I didn’t know what to expect and that’s why I lost the draft.”

Do you think going into this weekend that you’ll have more of an advantage because you’ve had that experience?

Yes, and I’m optimistic with the improvements that have been demonstrated in the past several weeks with the team. A lot has to carry over. Even though it’s a superspeedway race, some of it has to translate over.  Hopefully, we will be fast enough to get in without having to have that feeling of defeat on lap five.

What are you looking forward to in the Amp Energy 500?

It is a race track that I’ve already raced on so, obviously that makes it a little easier.  I’ve been very hands on with the truck but, with the Sprint Cup car, I stay away because there are plenty of brains that I’m confident with and I just do what I’m told there.  I like [crew chief, David] Hyder and [chief engineer] Hoyt [Overbagh]a lot, I really think highly of them and everyone there. I think that’s why you’ve seen so many improvements with the team.

How do you feel about the “impound” rule?

It makes it tougher on the “go or go home” guys for the simple fact that they’re in qualifying trim from the time that practice starts until the time the race starts. It just makes it that much harder to be able to perform well during the race. That’s a bit of a setback for our situation but, I have confidence in the guys and that we can overcome it.

This will be the 76th race at Talladega for Wood Brothers Racing, how do you feel about being a new generation driver for the team and that it’s part of your family history?

“The most gratifying aspect for me is to see a race fan that has been following NASCAR since before the big boom in popularity and still has the excitement in seeing this race team have the longevity that it has.”

Wood Brothers Racing Talladega NCTS Preview

Wood Brothers Racing Talladega NCTS Preview
Jon Wood in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150

Harrisburg, N.C. (October 1, 2008)- Jon Wood will be back behind the wheel of the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 at Talladega Superspeedway. Jon has had extensive experience in a race truck on superspeedways and is looking forward to returning to the NCTS for the Mountain Dew 250 on Saturday, October 4th. In 2007, Jon received his best finish in the no. 21 Wood Brothers race truck at the 2.66 mile tri-oval in 10th place. He will also be piloting the no. 21 Wood Brothers Motorcraft Ford Fusion in the Sprint Cup Series where he previously started the Aaron’s 499 in April of this year in the 12th spot.

Wood talked about heading to Talladega with a new approach for running practice in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 and is looking forward to the challenge of  doing double duty although, he doesn’t see it as doing double duty but, “double-opportunity”.

“I don’t consider it double duty. I call it more double opportunity. Talladega is not really a physically demanding type race track and these truck races are not long enough to cause any type of exertion so, it won’t be too bad,” Wood said.

What are you looking forward to this weekend in the Mountain Dew 250?

“I’ve been pretty hands-on with the truck that we’re taking to Talladega.  I feel like we should pick up quite a bit of speed from where we left off at Daytona.  I do expect to be a lot faster at Talladega and I’m taking a much different approach in practice as well.”

Can you explain the idea of your approach?

I’ve decided that in all of the previous truck races that I’ve been in, we’ve always taken the approach that since we are guaranteed in the race and don’t have to worry about qualifying, we did not do any qualifying runs. We’ve only run in the draft and we’ve just made runs that were in the pack. Since Talladega is not a handling race track, you can throw that aspect of it out. We do have several setups that we need to run through but, in the end, it’s all about raw speed.  It’s all about which one’s the fastest. I don’t care who tells me any different, there is no way that if a truck runs faster by itself that it’s not going to run faster in a pack.  So, we’re just going to do single truck runs. That way, there are no other variables that can enter in and give a false reading on which one is the fastest. I’ve done enough drafting there that I am not apprehensive about doing it that way. Typically, there are always about five or six trucks that get torn up in the process, so there’s no sense in taking any chances.”

If you don’t run in the draft during practice, how are you sure the truck will keep up with the draft during the race?

“I’ve never seen a truck that couldn’t keep up. There’s nothing about those trucks that would make one faster by itself, less capable of keeping up. It’s always this way, if they run faster by themselves, they run faster in the pack. Always.”

Watch Wood Brothers Racing and Jon Wood in the no.21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 in the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, October 4th with live coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m ET on Speed.

Kansas Post Race Report

Kansas Post Race Report
Bill Elliott Finished 25th in the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Kansas City, Kan. (September 28, 2008)-Bill Elliott, driver of the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford Fusion finished a challenging Camping World RV 400 in 25th.

Bill took the green flag in the seventh position and was running in the top-10 for the first twenty laps. He was scored as one of the fastest cars on the track when the team made a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 51. The swift pit crew made an air pressure adjustment to assist with a slight loose condition that Bill had reported. The team sent him back to the track in 20th spot. He jumped to 14th within a lap when NASCAR called the no.21 back down pit road for a pass through penalty due to speeding on pit road. When Elliott returned to the track, he was in 30th and fell one lap down from the leader. The team’s short term goal from that point on was to get back on the lead lap and back in the race.

When caution occurred on lap 74, Bill didn’t seem to think that the changes made on the last pit stop helped the loose condition as it still persisted. The team would make more adjustments and crew chief David Hyder made the decision to put on two tires to gain track position. This  allowed the no. 21 to be the first car one lap down in order to win the lucky dog and get the lap back. Bill restarted in the 30th on lap 76.

The team was unable to win back its lap within the three cautions in the next forty laps but, the caution on lap 123 opened the opportunity. Bill radioed to the crew, “good job boys, good job.” Elliott pitted and the 21 crew changed four tires and fuel. He restarted in 32nd on lap 126.  The team was able to use the rest of the race to move up the field.

On lap 177, Hyder called for a green flag pit stop and the team did a quick four tire change and sent the 21 back to the track in the 29th spot.
After the stop and with running competitive lap times, the track position made way for the leader to pass and once again the 21 fell to one lap down from the leaders.

On lap 200, Elliott moved up to the 24th spot.  On lap 226, the no. 55 spun in front of the no. 21 brushing the right rear tire. The team debated on whether to stop and pit until the spotter took a good look at it and assured the team that didn’t need any repair. Hyder decided that Elliott would stay out and run the rest of the race. He took the checkered flag in the 25th position of the 267 lap event.

Wood Brothers Racing will travel to Talladega Superspeedway for the running of the Amp Energy 500 with Jon Wood behind the wheel of the no.21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion on Sunday October 5th.

*Photo by Dorsey Patrick Photography

Bill Elliott Qualified the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford Fusion Eighth in Kansas

Bill Elliott Qualified the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford Fusion Eighth in Kansas

Kansas City, Kan. (September 26, 2008)-Bill Elliott, driver of the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion, had one of his best qualifying results of the season at Kansas Speedway.  He qualified for Sunday’s Camping World RV 400 in the eighth starting position with a lap time of 31.58 second and traveled at a speed of 170.989mph. He is also the first car on the starting grid that is outside of the top 35 in owner’s points and had to qualify into the field on time.

The day began very positive as the 21 team had a 12th place final position in the only practice session on Friday afternoon on the 1.5 mile track with a fast lap time of 31.71 seconds. Elliott commented on his qualifying run. “We kept making changes, and the Motorcraft Ford just kept getting a little better and a little better. And, I was a little nervous about what we had changed to see if it’s going to work, but it all came together.”

He’s also looking forward to a good day on Sunday. Elliott said, “Well, yeah, now we started, now we’ve got to finish it up. But, we’ll see what happens. These guys have made improvements by leaps and bounds every race, it seems like, the last six or eight weeks, have really taken a turn for the Wood Brothers for what they’re trying to do. If we can just keep working together and understanding each other – we had a productive test. We weren’t really fast at Charlotte a couple of nights ago, but then the night went and we got better and better. I think we communicated better together, and we came in here with a pretty clear defined direction of what we needed to do, and it worked. Sometimes it doesn’t, but here did.”

Watch Wood Brothers Racing and Bill Elliott drive the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in the Camping World RV 400 on Sunday, September 28th with coverage beginning at 1:00pm ET on ABC.

*Photo by Dorsey Patrick Photography

Kansas Preview

Kansas Preview
Wood Brothers Racing and Bill Elliott in the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion look toward Kansas Speedway

Harrisburg, NC (September 25, 2008)-Bill Elliott will drive the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford Fusion at Kansas Speedway in the Camping World RV 400 on Sunday, September 28th. Elliott has had four starts at the 1.5 mile tri-oval, yet his abbreviated record shows that he has two top five finishes.  In 2003, he led 115 laps of the race and finished second. Elliott also tested the no. 21 machine at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on September 23rd and 24th for the NASCAR sanctioned open test. Elliott spoke about looking forward to Kansas.

You had a great run in 2003; you led 115 laps and finished second, talk about that finish.

“We had to stop for tires and it seems like Ryan [Newman] stayed out or got two [tires] and got the track position and by the time I got to him, the race was over. But, I was better; I had a really good car that day. We had a good enough car to win. We had a good run and we ended up second.”

What do you like most about Kansas Speedway?

“I like Kansas real well, it’s just a fun little race track to me. It’s kind of like what Vegas and Chicago have gone to. The only difference in Chicago is that the back straightaway has a little curve to it and Kansas is straight.  Kansas is very much like Kentucky.
I also like just the way you drive it, it kind of fits my style. Like Michigan, even though Michigan has disillusioned me the last few years, I still like running it and California. I’m one of the weird one’s that likes Pocono. Those types of flatter, bigger race tracks. Those I’ve always liked throughout my career.”

What do you think is the key to doing well at Kansas?

“I’m not sure, you see, I haven’t been back there in a COT car. I mean everything I’ve done is the old evolution car and some of these places with the new car, I just struggle with the feeling I’m looking for in the car. We just have to be able to connect all of the dots to make it work. Then if you go back to Bristol; when I drove in that place I thought, ‘now, why did I choose this race track?’ Then we ended up having a great time there. We ran well and had a lot of fun.
You go to these places and you never know. These guys have really worked hard. They’ve changed a lot and worked through things. Once they get the evolution car better and better, I think that’s the thing we need to do.”

What are your expectations for this race weekend?

“If we can continue to get our communication lines better and take each race track and try to figure it out.  Just like if you take what we did at Bristol and you try to apply it to Loudon, we kind of got something and if you watched Ambrose at Dover, Bristol and Dover are more similar. [Crew chief David] Hyder and I haven’t really worked on a race track like the Kansas shape. We’ve got to take what we’ve learned and go from there.”

Will the data from this week’s test at Lowes Motor Speedway help you in Kansas?

“Kansas doesn’t really have any tough transitions. At Charlotte, the way you get into turn one is different than how you get into turn three and how the car loads up, is different. You turn in and not pick the bank up, and then you get a lot of bank in the corner where Kansas doesn’t have those types of transitions. The way they try to run these COT cars, with the spring packages, the bump-stops, or no bumps-stops and that’s what’s so confusing to get everything just right and I know we keep harping on this but, being a single entity, you’re kind of like on Gilligan’s Island.  You go through two days of testing and make a hundred runs to collect all of the data you can. Then there are those who have four teams, and you multiply that out, that’s four hundred runs.”

Elliott believes that multi-car teams have the advantage of sharing the collective data that can be used to help set up all of their cars and assist their drivers. Elliott said, “One guy figures something out and he gets in the corner a little different. You go look at the data and say well, I need to do this a little different, I need to do that a little different. I need to set my car up like this. We just don’t have that luxury over here. We’ll just take everything that we learned and do the best that we can.”

Read more on Bill Elliott and Wood Brothers Racing on the official Web Site:

Las Vegas NCTS Post Race Report

Las Vegas NCTS Post Race Report
Jon Wood and the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 Finished 13th

Las Vegas (September 21, 2008)-Jon Wood in the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing U.S. Air Force F-150 ran a decent race in the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350. He was able to move from a 23rd starting point up to 9th where on the last lap was involved in an incident beyond his control while crossing the finish line where he took the checkered flag in the 13th spot.

The one day show started off Saturday morning phenomenally as the no. 21 unloaded and Jon was scored in the top spot on the scoreboard for most of the first practice; he ended the session with a 12th place standing with a lap time 32.070 seconds and a 20th place spot in the final practice session with a lap time of 32.360. With the first practice fairly early, the team made some adjustments in the second practice to anticipate qualifying in the evening on Saturday. The team made some adjustments to the truck that would accommodate for the track temperature change. Jon qualified 23rd but was working with a loose handling race truck. Because of the impound rules, they were unable to make any changes after qualifying.  Crew Chief John Monsam put a plan into place to make changes during the first caution of the 147 lap event.

Jon Wood took the green flag in the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing U.S. Air Force Ford F-150. He was immediately battling a loose handling race truck that persisted from qualifying.  With the first caution on lap four, the team decided not to pit as Jon was able to move to the 18th spot.  However, by lap 24 when the second caution occurred, the team took the opportunity to pit and make some major adjustments that were previously planned to assist with the loose condition. Jon returned to the race track where he restarted in the 23rd spot on lap 29.

As the number of cautions seemed to climb, the 21 team continued to work hard and make adjustments to the truck. By the halfway point of the race the team was not making much progress with the condition and when on lap 77, Crew Chief John Monsam discovered that the right front shock was possibly broken and created a plan to fix it on the next caution. On lap 100, the caution flag flew and the team was able to implement the plan and fix the shock. Unfortunately, it took longer than expected and the no. 21 went down one lap to the leaders; Jon would restart the race in 22nd.

With the shock issue fixed, it seemed to remove the loose condition. Jon was able to move into position where he would win the “lucky dog” and get his lap back. On lap 120 he was in the 20th spot. In the remaining laps, Jon moved to the 13th spot and with 12 laps to go, the caution came out. The 21 team did not pit and the race restarted on lap 137. Jon was able to move up to the 9th position when he was going to take the checkered flag, the no. 6 truck spun and moved up the race track on the back stretch, Jon had nowhere to go and slid into the wall as he crossed the finish line. He would take the checkered flag in 13th. Even though the truck was heavily damaged, the team brought home a solid place finish.

Crew Chief John Monsam commented on the day’s performance, “Our weekend started out real well, we unloaded the truck and went right to the top of the sheet in the first practice. I was really happy with the truck.”, he said.

“We made some adjustments in the second practice that, in hindsight, weren’t exactly what the truck needed for the race track changes and we should have left the truck where it was after the first practice. All of the changes that we made in the second practice contributed to the loose condition in the race that took us until lap 110 to get out of the truck. There were some changes that we made that we could not change back before the race due to the time constraints. Once we fixed the shock, Jon said that it drove excellent. I was really pleased with that. Then it was unfortunate that we got in a wreck on the last lap, right there at the finish line. Jon did a good job hanging in there with us and the guys worked really hard on the truck all night with the adjustments.  We’ll just work on getting this truck fixed and look forward to Talladega.”

Wood Brothers Racing and Jon Wood in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 will head to Talladega Superspeedway for the Mountain Dew 250 on Saturday, October 4th.

Dover II Post Race

Dover II Post Race
Ambrose Finishes the no. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion in 32nd

Dover, Del. (September 21, 2008)- Wood Brothers Racing put on a good showing at Dover International Speedway with driver Marcos Ambrose in the no. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion. Ambrose worked his way up to as high as 13th position from 29th in the Camping World RV 400. Unfortunately, an incident on pit road put the team two laps down from the leader, then an accident on the track caused damage to the grill that led to more laps down. Thereafter, the team did everything to work as hard as they could to try and gain back lost laps. Yet in the end, the 21 team completed the 400 lap event in 32nd place.

Marcos Ambrose took the green flag in 29th when on the first lap the caution came out. Marcos reported that the car was good, yet being too early to pit, Crew Chief David Hyder decided to keep Ambrose out on the track where he restarted on lap five in 26th. Just as the race started to get going under green, another caution occurred only five laps later and Marcos reported that the car was tight off the corner but loose in the corner. Hyder still believed that it was too early to pit; Marcos stayed out on the track and the race resumed on lap 15. Caution on lap 64, allowed for the team to make adjustments on the car for the persisting “tight-in/loose off” condition. The 21 crew also put on four fresh tires and filled the tank with fuel. Marcos restarted on lap 69 in 29th.

On lap 77, he reported, “Loose in, really, really loose in” As green flag laps continued for a longer run, on lap 109, Hyder radioed to Marcos, “Race the race track, you’re doing a good job.”  The team decided to make a green flag pit stop on approximately lap 145 however, the caution came out again on lap 142 and the team was able to make a pit stop for more adjustments. The 21 pit crew made a fast stop in 13.8 seconds that included the adjustments and putting on four tires and fuel.

Marcos battled with the no. 15 car for the spot that would be the first car one lap down. Hyder told Marcos to get around the 15 and he said, “You’re doing a good job, we just need to get our lap back and get back into this race.”  Marcos finally won the lucky dog position and when the next caution flag flew two laps later, he was able to pass the leader to put the no. 21 on the lead lap. “That’s what we needed, now we can get back in this thing,” Hyder said.

On the next caution, the team did not pit. When the race restarted, Marcos was in the 16th spot. The car was still not handling to Marcos’ liking, so Hyder called for a pit stop when the caution occurred on lap 185, the 21 crew put on four tires and fuel and made another adjustment. He restarted on lap 190 in 22nd position.

As teams began to make green flag stops, Marcos moved from 17th up to 13th when Hyder decided to make their green flag stop on lap 272, but Marcos’ radio communications were not working properly as he couldn’t hear the crew chief.  He came down pit road early and the swift crew got into place. When he got into the pit box, they made adjustments and put on four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, the pit crew lost control of the rear tire and it rolled into the next pit stall. Nascar called Marcos back to pit road immediately for a pass through penalty which put the no. 21 down two laps from the leaders and scored in the 25th spot.

On lap 285, Hyder discovered that there was a large hole in the grill of the no. 21 car, when the yellow flag came out on lap 292, Hyder called him into pit to repair the grill damage. The crew assessed the damage and added a piece of sheet metal to cover the hole. They sent the no. 21 back to the track to prevent losing another lap and came back in to finish the repair. Marcos restarted on lap 298 in the 30th position.

Green flag laps continued until on lap 325 when Marcos radioed to the crew that the water pressure, water and oil temperatures were through the roof and the motor was overheating. Marcos still having communication issues could not hear if Hyder ordered him to come to pit road or not. He did come immediately to pit road and Hyder had the crew remove the sheet metal that was blocking the damaged grill that also hindered air flow to the engine and caused the overheating issue.

During the last 75 laps, the team worked hard to keep adjusting the car to make it better. Marcos ran in the 32nd spot where he would take the checkered flag five laps down from the leader.

Marcos commented on the race, “We really had a good car. I’m proud of Davide Hyder and the guys for giving me a good piece. I was running in 13th for a little while there and we just had some unfortunate incidents that took us out of the running.” He added, “I came in to pit too early and that locked us up in the pits-it’s just one of those things. Then Tony Raines spun and I ran into the back of him and punched in the nose. It’s unfortunate; we really did have a chance at a good run.”

Wood Brothers Racing and the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion will head to Kansas Speedway with Bill Elliott back behind the wheel for the Camping World RV 400 on Sunday, September 28th.

Photo by Dorsey Patrick Photography