Category Archives: 2008

Ambrose Qualifies the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Little Debbie Ford Fusion in the Camping World RV

Ambrose Qualifies the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Little Debbie Ford Fusion in the Camping World RV 400 in Dover

Dover, DE (September 19, 2008)-Marcos Ambrose qualified the no. 21 Wood Brothers Little Debbie Ford Fusion into  the Camping World RV 400 in Dover. The fast concrete surface is a likeable track to the Aussie who has never raced on the “Monster Mile” in a Sprint Cup Series Car. He will make his first start in the 29th position in the 400 mile event on Sunday, September 21st.

The Friday afternoon practice showed that the team and Marcos seemed to gel as the practice times were in the top 10. The team made adjustments and as other teams made qualifying runs, the no. 21 settled into the 27th spot with a final practice speed of 23.354 seconds.

Marcos was happy with the performance of the car and commented on the day, “This track actually feels better for me. The COT seems to like more banking and the more banking you get the better they feel. At Michigan, Loudon and California I had my hands full, but here I feel much more comfortable with the car.” Ambrose added, “I knew the car was good in practice, so you just don’t want to mess up. I under drove it just a little bit, but I’m really pleased with that.”

Watch Wood Brothers Racing and Marcos Ambrose in the no. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion race in the Camping World RV 400 on Sunday, September 21st with coverage beginning at 1:00pm E.T. on ABC.

Wood Brothers Racing: A Storied History of Success at the Monster Mile

Wood Brothers Racing: A Storied History of Success at the Monster Mile

Harrisburg, NC (September 17, 2008)-Wood Brothers Racing has been competing at Dover International Speedway since 1972 when the track promoter at the time, Melvin Joseph, invited them to try out the 500-mile event. The team decided to give it a shot, and with their first run at the Monster Mile with driver David Pearson, won the “Delaware 500” after leading 350 laps in the 500-lap race in the No. 21 Purolator Mercury.

David Pearson and the Wood Brothers would go on to sweep both races in 1973, later won in the spring of 1975, and then again in 1978. With these successful results, the team has been traveling to the “The First State” to compete in both annual NASCAR events at Dover ever since.

Leonard Wood was David Pearson’s chief mechanic and recalls the race in May 1976 when they finished second to Benny Parsons. “The day was humid and extremely hot. Several drivers were experiencing heat exhaustion and needed to be replaced with a relief driver,” Wood said. “I remember we were on a five or six win stretch when Bobby Allison made the comment that Allison must have been ‘lucking him.’”

 David wasn’t keen on the idea that luck had anything to do with his success. With his infamous high self-confidence, he believed that with as many wins as he had that year, he must have been doing something right and was determined to show that he could outrun the best of them at Dover. Wood spoke of the race with ardent reminiscence, “In 1976, Donnie Allison sat on the pole and David ran him into the ground! Donnie got out and Bobby [Allison] got in the race car, then Pearson ran him into the ground and finished second. After the race, they were all stretched out in the shower room and David walked in as proud as can be and said, ‘What’s the matter with you sissies?’”
 Even though he finished second, he felt that he made his point after placing in front of Allison who finished fourth.

 
After another win with Pearson in 1978, the team came back to win two more races with driver Neil Bonnett in May 1979 and in September 1981. In May 1981, Bonnett led 404 laps of the 500-lap event. He was four laps ahead of the field with Cale Yarborough two laps behind him when the engine blew on lap 455, forcing him to the garage. As the team packed up the No. 21 on the transporter, the scoreboard still showed Bonnett in the lead. He would eventually finish 13th. Wood Brothers Racing and Neil Bonnett would return to Dover for the September 1981 race and win.

The most vivid recollection of Dover International Speedway that Wood has is the high speeds and the ability to watch cars as they came out of the corner. He recounts his experience, “Dover is a fast one-mile track. I would stand down in the corner and watch the car come in the corner between one and two. Pearson would come down off of that high banking and would drive down to the bottom. I would take notice how the car reacted.

At this particular track, I could watch and see exactly what the car was doing. He [Pearson] would get on the throttle in the middle of the corner and I could hear it pulling in and I could watch if it pushed coming off. I do remember that, in fact, that’s the only track a mile or over that I could do that. It was very helpful with setting the car up.” To this day Leonard enjoys watching the cars come out of the corner at high speeds from the overpass on the walkover bridge in turn two.

Wood Brothers Racing has an extensive portfolio of drivers who have raced at the Monster Mile including Buddy Baker and Kyle Petty in the ‘80’s, and Morgan Shepherd, Michael Waltrip and Elliott Sadler in the ‘90’s. In the new millennium there was Ricky Rudd and Ken Schrader, and today, currently part-time is Bill Elliott along with new generation drivers Jon Wood and Marcos Ambrose.

With only four starts at the speedway under his belt in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the Nationwide Series, Ambrose’s highest finish was sixth in 2007. Marcos will make his first Sprint Cup Series attempt at the track in the no. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion for the Camping World RV 400 and is looking forward to joining the long list of drivers in the history of Wood Brothers Racing. “It’s such an honor to be able to race for the Wood Brothers and being a part of their long history,” said Ambrose. “I’m excited about being in the No. 21 car and just hope that I can contribute in moving their race program in the right direction.”

Ambrose affirms that Dover is one of the most challenging tracks that NASCAR competes on as its high speeds makes it one “monster” to conquer. “Dover is one of the most aggressive race tracks on the circuit,”Ambrose said. “Being outside of the top-35 we will focus on qualifying, but once we get the car in the show, then we can switch gears and work on racing. This is a track where I tend to focus my energy on racing the track, and then worry about competition second. You can carry a lot of speed into the corners. It’s very challenging but I’m looking forward to it.”

Wood Brothers Racing has a long history of racing since 1950 and has experienced both the highs and lows that the sport can bring, yet they look toward the future and what a new generation of drivers will add to their repertoire.

Read more Wood Brothers Racing history at the newly designed web site: www.woodbrothersracing.com

*Last Photo by Dorsey Patrick Photography

Wood Brothers Racing Las Vegas NCTS Preview

Wood Brothers Racing Las Vegas NCTS Preview
Jon Wood to Pilot the no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 in the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350

Harrisburg, NC (September 17, 2008)-Jon Wood is back behind the wheel driving the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 and will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 on Saturday, September 20th.  The Wood Brothers Racing team had a good run in 2007 as Jon Wood led 49 laps and brought home a third place finish.  He looks forward to a repeat of last year’s performance as the 21 team is going back with the same race truck and setup.

Jon Wood on Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

“Vegas was good to me last year and I believe that I led the most laps. This is a track where we will probably run wide open. You go to some race tracks and talk amongst other drivers saying that your running wide open, but you’re really not. You may be feathering it a little bit in the corners. But in Vegas, you really are, all out– wide open. It’s a fast place. With the horsepower change this year from last year and since we don’t have quite as much power, I’ve experienced more on-throttle time this year than in years past, so I would expect to see wide open racing the entire time.”

Will the track change during the race?

“The track really won’t change. If the race were to start later in the afternoon and go into night time then you would see a change, but since the race is short in duration and the sun is already down, the track is going to be as fast as its going to get. It’s really cool to be able to race there at night.”

Tech Talk with Crew Chief John Monsam

What’s the key to Las Vegas Motor Speedway?

“Run wide open as long as you can. Roush-Yates Engines provides us with the best and do everything they can to give us what we need to win. I trust the people over there and I know they work hard. I appreciate everything they do for us.”

“Last year we ran wide open for 40 laps, that’s with the extra horse power. This year, I expect that we have to be a bit freer. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great place to race. Not just for the atmosphere but its beautiful race track. I really enjoy going there.”

What are your expectations for the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350?

“I feel like Jon adapts extremely well to this place and we have a good setup. I just want to duplicate what we did last year. That’s putting a little pressure on ourselves because to run as well as we did and lead that many laps; we were just that fast. I’m going to go there and try to win the race. It’s not always the most realistic thing to think that we should always win a race considering we haven’t put ourselves in consistent contention to win but, I go to every race thinking that we can win and I think that’s the only way you can approach things. You’ve got to know that you’re giving it everything that you can. I’ve got to thank all of the guys on this team because I know that they’ve given everything that they can.”

Watch Jon Wood and Wood Brothers Racing in the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 on Saturday, September 20th with coverage starting at 9:00p.m. ET on Speed.

Wood Brothers Racing New Hampshire NCTS Post Race Report

Wood Brothers Racing New Hampshire NCTS Post Race Report
Keven Wood in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 Finished 22nd

Loudon, N.H. (September 13, 2008)-Keven Wood finished where he started as he drove the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 back to a 22nd place finish after battling a tight handling race truck in the Camping World RV Rental 200. NASCAR cancelled the Saturday morning scheduled NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying due to a rain delayed Nascar Camping World Series race that was originally scheduled for Friday. NASCAR made decision to push that race to Saturday and line up the NCTS field according to owner’s points standings.

Keven took the green flag in the 22nd position when on lap five, the first caution of the day occurred. The team decided not to pit and Keven reported a tight handling race truck. Keven restarted in 23rd on lap eight. The caution flag flew again on lap 10 and the team took the opportunity to make a pit stop for four tires, fuel and to make adjustments that would assist with the tight condition. The no. 21 restarted in 26th on lap 14.

On lap 35, Crew Chief John Monsam called out Keven’s lap time, “31.16, that was better; keep it up.” Jon Wood was also on the pit box giving input and tips on how to get around the track better. By lap 47, he found a better line to run on and when the caution flew two laps letter, the 21 crew called for a pit stop to make more adjustments to assist more with the handling. The pit crew made a quick stop and sent the truck back to the track in 19th on lap 59.

At the halfway point, Wood reported that the truck’s condition still persisted and seemed to be worse.  The team made a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 126 to make more adjustments on the truck along with four tires and fuel. Keven returned to the track in 26th.
After inspecting the tires, Monsam reported the left front tire was flat and that would have caused the extreme tight condition.

On lap 151, the caution flag waved again, the team made more adjustments and took on four tires and fuel. After returning to the track, Monsam called the no. 21 back down pit road for another adjustment. Under time pressure, the team was unable to complete the task and sent Wood back to the track. “You’re the only truck two laps down. Just do your best to make it in one piece,” Monsam said.

The opportunity came along when caution came out on lap 157. Keven came in and the 21 pit crew made the intensive adjustment they aimed to do on the last stop. Keven returned to the track and took the green flag on lap 160 the 24th spot. Keven radioed into the crew on lap 168, “The adjustments were not the way to go.” Fortunately, he held on until the next caution on lap 171 when the team could then reverse the adjustments. They finished the job, but the 21 restarted at the tail end of the longest line in 24th for speeding on pit road.

With the reversal of the adjustments, Keven was better able to handle the truck and with 25 laps to go in the 200 lap event, caution flew on lap 185. The team chose not to pit and worked on track position as he picked up a few more spots from the attrition of wrecked race trucks. Keven took the checkered flag in the 22nd spot.

“We just struggled from the beginning,” Wood said. “We came out here kind of with a partial different setup from the way we ended practice.  It would have been really great to have gotten to run that second practice because I think we would have found that what we did just did not work.  We just had to work on it all day long and just never could get it.  It just stayed tight the entire time.  The guys worked hard and I hate it that we couldn’t do anything better, but we’ll just go to Vegas.  Jon will be at Vegas and we had a heck of a run there last year, so we’ll see what happens.”

Wood Brothers Racing will head to Las Vegas with Jon Wood back behind the wheel of the no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 for the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 on Saturday, September 20th.

Not Just An Ordinary Race Day For Wood Brothers Racing in New Hampshire

Not Just An Ordinary Race Day For Wood Brothers Racing in New Hampshire

Loudon, N.H. (September 14,2008)-Wood Brothers Racing had some distinguished guests visit the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion transporter in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s garage area on Sunday, September 14th.  Senator John McCain and his wife Cindy made their way to the no. 21 hauler area from the driver’s meeting with Richard Petty to meet Bill Elliott and Eddie, Len and Leonard Wood. Maj. Gen Irving L. Halter Jr. from the U.S. Air Force was another special guest who also had an opportunity to meet the Senator and his wife.

As Senator McCain entered the hauler, most of the 21 team was there to greet him and shake his hand. Bill was very impressed with the presidential candidate, “That was a pretty neat deal,”Elliott said. “For what he stood up and did for our country, I don’t think they give the man enough credit. Regardless of some of the other issues, the way I see this whole deal is we’re either going to be fighting them over there or over here and I’d rather be fighting them over there than in our country.  There are a lot of things, but he’s a neat guy and I wish him the best.”

As normal race activities took place after a short delay from a rainy morning in the Loudon, N.H., Bill Elliott started 37th driving the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in the Sylvania 300. The 43 car field was eager to get started and the early laps of the 300 lap event showed it as beating and banging took place on the track. Bill was shuffled out and with almost getting involved in an incident, he managed to save it  but, fell to 43rd.  A mandatory competition caution was planned on lap 35 as Elliott tried to find a line to run on until that point. He was passed by the leader on lap 33, however, received his lap back with the lucky dog award being the first car one lap down. The mandatory caution went into effect and Bill entered pit road. The 21 crew planned to make major adjustments to the tight handling race truck. “It’s better than practice yesterday but,still tight,” Elliott said. The 21 crew was able to get the adjustments done and put on two tires. He went back to the track and came back down for the other two. He restarted at the tail end of the line on lap 40 in 38th.

Caution occurred on lap 83 and Bill reported that the car was still tight but, now getting loose on entry and exit of the corners. The 21 crew changed four tires and fuel and sent Elliott back to the track in 38th on lap 88. On lap 110 Hyder radioed to Bill, “Keep doing what you’re doing. On that last lap you were one of the fastest cars out there.” One lap down from the leader, the team decided to make a scheduled pit stop under the green flag. As other race cars were beginning their stops, Bill moved up to the 32nd spot. He came down pit road and the team made an adjustment, put on four fresh tires and fuel. He returned to the track in 38th on lap 158. As long green flag laps continued, Hyder radioed to Bill on lap 176 with encouraging news, “You’re running as quickly as the leaders every lap.”

Caution on lap 213 allowed the team to pit for four tires and fuel. They also made an adjustment to help with the increasing loose condition. The race restarted on lap 220; Bill was scored in the 36th position. Another caution two laps later prompted the team to use it as an opportunity to top off on fuel. Bill returned to the track in 37th on lap 228.

A wreck involving five race cars occurred on lap 229. At the moment when all of the cars in front of the no.21 slowed; Bill hit the rear of the no.10. The incident brought out the red flag as track safety crews cleaned debris. The team was concerned for possible damage to the grill but, when Nascar lifted the red flag and Bill drove by, there was no apparent damage, therefore they chose not to make a pit stop. The race resumed on lap 234 and Bill was in 31st position. Caution flag flew on lap 266 and the 21 team chose to pit for two tires and fuel. They also made an adjustment then sent Bill back to the track where he restarted in the 29th position. Bill remained in the 29th spot for the rest of the race where he took the checkered flag.

Bill commented about his run in the Sylvania 300, “We struggled with track position all day.  We were tight in the middle and loose off.  I fought that all day.  Then we got the middle better, but would be loose up off.  I just couldn’t get going.”

Wood Brothers Racing will take the no. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion to Dover, Delaware with driver Marcos Ambrose back behind the wheel for the Camping World RV 400 on Sunday, September 21st.

View more  race photos and Senator McCain’s visit on the newly designed Official Wood Brothers Racing Web Site: www.woodbrothersracing.com

*Photo by Dorsey Patrick Photography

Qualifying Rained Out at NHMS; Elliott to start 37th

Qualifying Rained Out at NHMS; Elliott to start 37th


Loudon, N.H. (September 12, 2008)-
Rained washed out NASCAR events once again for the second consecutive week . Friday’s activities kicked off at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series practice but, after NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, rain moved into the area with no end in sight. NASCAR made the decision to cancel the remainder of the second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series practice and NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying, and then line up the 43 car field according to the NASCAR Rule Book.

Bill Elliott, driver of the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford Fusion, will start the Sylvania 300 on Sunday in the 37th spot due to his “past champion” status.  The no. 21 had a productive practice as the team anticipated rain in the forecast and mainly focused on race setup rather than qualifying. They completed the only session of the day with a final position of 36th.

Watch Wood Brothers Racing and Bill Elliott drive the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion on Sunday, September 14th with coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Wood Brothers Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup New Hampshire II Preview

Wood Brothers Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup New Hampshire II Preview

Bill Elliott will drive the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in New Hampshire


Harrisburg, N.C. (September 11,2008)-Wood Brothers Racing will return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Sylvania 300 on Sunday,September 14th. Bill Elliott will once again be behind the wheel of the no.21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion with his 21st start at the 1.058 mile oval. He has one pole award along with two top-5 finishing spots and four top-10’s in his racing history at the track. The team is ready to work with Bill and his veteran experience after a weekend of progress in Richmond. Crew Chief David Hyder and Head Engineer Hoyt Overbagh comment on going to New Hampshire this weekend.

Tech Talk with Crew Chief David Hyder

Are you bringing the same car that was used in Richmond to NHMS?

“We are bringing the same car, chassis 17, which we used at Richmond. We decided to take our best car to every race and we’ve made that statement for last five or six races. We’ve run car 11 at a lot of races and this car 17 was the Bristol car and was a special light weight car, so we need to bring it from Richmond to Loudon.”

You discovered more damage from the incident at Richmond than anticipated. What was the strategy to turn it around for this weekend?

 “We were going to make it a point to see what kind of damage we had. The car came in on pit stops and we looked at it. It wasn’t really torn up that bad, but it took a hard shot in the left rear wheel and had some extensive damage that we didn’t realize at first. The guys really pulled together. I called and talked to everybody on our way back to the shop and the truck was back [in Harrisburg] at 10:30p.m. on Sunday. We had a group there and they worked all night. We worked 24 hours a day, from Sunday night until now in order to get the car loaded and headed to Loudon. You have to allow for more travel time because it’s so far away, but the guys really pulled together well and planned the scheduling of people in different shifts to get the work done. They worked really hard to get the car back in shape.”

What are your expectations going to Loudon and working with Bill Elliott there?

“NHMS is flatter and bumpier, with the level of experience he [Elliott] brings to the table and if we can make the car turn in the middle and he can get in the throttle then we’ll be alright. We’re going to concentrate on qualifying. If we can get to qualify up in the field and at least get in a couple of runs to get the car sorted out after, we’ll be ready to race. I want a lot of front grip. As long as we have that, we can get to where we need to be.”

Will Strategy be a factor in the Sylvania 300?

“Strategy is always a factor at NHMS and track position is real critical. Whether it’s two tires vs. four or no tires and fuel; as long as we do our homework there in practice, qualifying and happy hour, get it where it needs to be; it will play a part in Sunday’s performance. It will come down to that at some point in time.”

Head Engineer Hoyt Overbagh on Team Progress

“We made an awful lot of progress in Richmond from the beginning of the weekend until the end of the weekend. The car got better and we were able to give Bill what he needed to have times at the end of the race that were very similar to the top 15 cars. If we can capitalize on that, take a lot of that thinking to Loudon, we should do really well of there. We should start where we left off and hopefully make more progress.”

Wood Brothers Racing NCTS New Hampshire Preview

Wood Brothers Racing New Hampshire Preview
Keven Wood To Drive no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 in Camping World RV Rental 200

Harrisburg, N.C. (September 9,2008) Keven Wood is looking forward to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing U. S. Air Force Ford F-150. After coming off his career best and top-15 finish at Gateway International Raceway, he is looking to take what was learned and work toward something even better in the Camping World RV Rental 200 on Saturday, September 13th.

Keven Wood on New Hampshire Motor Speedway

“I’m really looking forward to going to New Hampshire after finishing in the top 15, Gateway is a unique track itself. The banking in turns three and four will be similar to NHMS, but NHMS is a little bit more symmetrical than Gateway. It’s just going to be finding the line and finding my points, and then working off of that. I think that we can take a lot of what we did to the truck throughout the race at Gateway to Loudon, but once again, it’s going to be a fresh start on another new track for me.”

What is the most valuable experience you learned at Gateway that you can take to New Hampshire?

“Running two weeks in a row will help; just being patient during the race and not giving up on it will also help. At Gateway, we stayed on top of it and worked on the race truck and worked on it some more. We got it to where I could get it going and actually race, and then came home with a top 15. I think building off  two weeks in a row and being patient are probably the biggest assets.  We’re using the same truck, the guys came back to the shop and fixed up what little body damage we had, turned it around and we’re ready to go to Loudon with it.”

What are your expectations for practice and qualifying?

“Friday is all practice, so we’ll just work on getting it all dialed in to where we have a good truck to race. I’m never really that concerned with qualifying. Last week we qualified 16th and fell back to 25th pretty quick. You always want to up front because you have a better chance of avoiding trouble and a lot of it was right around me at Gateway. We’re just looking for a good truck that’s balanced and ready to race. That’s what I’m focused on.”

Tech Talk with Crew Chief John Monsam

What is the key to New Hampshire Motor Speedway?

“You’ve got to be able to turn in the middle and get back to the gas.  The straight-aways are really long and the turns are really tight.  I’ve had a lot of success there, I love the place, it’s going home for me and I’m really looking forward to going. Over the years, I’ve had really good cars in every series. I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”

What will your strategy be?

“Strategy is to get in early and pit once. Taking two tires is not going to be out of the question. There is going to be a lot of strategy this weekend. It’s going to be on when you pit, how far you can go on fuel and how much wear you have on your tires, it’s not a long race and Goodyear has a good tire.”

Since it’s Keven’s first time NHMS, what’s your strategy for getting him up to speed?

“I talk with Keven about the race tracks; he watches the tapes of previous races.  When he gets to the race track I try to encourage him to talk to the other drivers.  Maybe get one to take him around in the pace car. He goes out there and usually follows one of the better veterans. Rick Crawford has been extremely helpful in showing Keven the line.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.  We may not be teammates in the same building but we’re definitely Ford teammates.”

Was there anything that you can bring to New Hampshire from Gateway?

“I think we made some gains as far as what we learned at Gateway to make the truck turn there. We also got Keven comfortable in the truck. We started tight then freed him up and that’s going to be our method from here on out.  It’s the safest, smartest best way to go about it.  I’ll start him off tight, then the faster he goes, the tighter the truck gets, I will continue to free it up, then he will continue to go faster.”

“Generally, when working with a rookie, starting on the other side of the coin spooks them sometimes and they lose confidence. You then have to work on gaining that confidence back for the rest of the weekend. Keven did a great job this past weekend, because he raced real hard with a lot of good people. We had a truck that could finish in between 10th and 20th ; to finish 15th was a good day.  We’re just looking to build on that finish this weekend in New Hampshire.”

Watch Wood Brothers Racing and Keven Wood in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 race in the Camping World RV Rental 200 on Saturday, September 13th. Coverage begins at 2:30pm  ET on Speed.

Keven Wood Gets Career Best Finish At Gateway

Keven Wood Gets Career Best Finish At Gateway

Madison, IL (September 6, 2008)-Keven Wood drove the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 to a 15th place finish at Gateway International Raceway on Saturday, September 6th.

After two practice sessions on Friday evening, the 21 team found that the truck was not running the way they had hoped, finishing the first practice 24th and 22nd fastest in the second practice. Keeping in mind that the team had the potential to improve on those positions, Crew Chief John Monsam made the decision to change the entire set up for qualifying and it paid off.  During qualifying Saturday morning, Keven ran a lap time of 34. 382 seconds that put the no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 on the starting grid in 16th.

Keven took the green flag in the 16th position in the Camping World 200 and reported that the no. 21 was a little on the tight side . The first caution of the day occurred on lap 6, but the team chose not to pit. By lap 10, Wood fell to 23rd where he tried to find a line to run. Once he found a groove, he moved to 21st when the caution flag flew on lap 20.  Monsam called for the no. 21 to make a pit stop.  The team decided to put on four tires, fuel and make an adjustment to assist the tight condition. The adjustments seemed to help as he reported that the truck was better.

At the half-way point, Keven had gone one lap down to the leaders, despite racing on a track that’s difficult to pass, he had moved to the 22nd spot.  Caution on lap 100 allowed the no. 21 to regain its lap as Wood received the “Lucky Dog” award for being the first truck one lap down. On lap 101, the no. 21 pit for four tires and fuel. He restarted in the 22nd position on lap 107. The adjustments to the truck and Keven’s confidence were evident as he moved up to 17th place.

With 39 laps to go, a multi-truck wreck occurred directly in front of the no.21.  The incident caused a chain reaction that included several race trucks and with the help of his spotter, Jon Wood, Keven maneuvered through and came out unmarked. He restarted the race in the 17th position.

On the last lap heading for the checkered flag, the no. 21 battled with the no. 81 for the 15th position and won it. Keven would take the checkered flag and bring home his best career finish in 15th.

Keven commented on the weekend, “After practice we were really skeptical.  We actually changed it for qualifying, a whole new set-up and it paid off.  We just had to do some tuning on it and once we got in the race it was okay. We had a lot of luck today.  A lot of the action was right in front of me.  I’ve just got to thank my team for all the hard work they put into my Ford this weekend.”  He added, “We had a lot better finish than what we expected.  We kept working on the Air Force Ford F-150 and it kept getting better and better.  In that very last run we got a little tight and we held on to a top-15 finish. That’s my best finish so far.  We’ll go to Loudon now with a little bit more enthusiasm.”

“Finishing in the top-15 is a great day for this 21 U.S. Air Force team.  We made the truck better and once Keven found his brake and throttle points, he got better at passing,” Monsam said commenting on the performance. “Jon [Wood] did a good job spotting; he helped Keven get through some tough spots.  We’re going to New Hampshire and we’re going to improve on what we learned in Gateway.”

Keven Wood and the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 will head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway to race the Camping World RV Rental 200 on Saturday, September 13th.

Wood Brothers Racing Richmond II Post Race Report

Wood Brothers Racing Richmond II Post Race Report
Elliott Finished 35th in Chevy Rock & Roll  driving no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion

Richmond, VA (September 7, 2008)- After Saturday’s race was delayed until Sunday, September 7th due to Tropical Storm Hanna’s presence in the Richmond area, Bill Elliott started the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 in the 37th position. Elliott used the first 10 laps to get a feel for the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion, since there had been no practice and no track activity since Friday. As he raced around the 35th position, caution flew on lap 35. Bill reported that the car needed more traction coming off of the corners and that he was experiencing a tight condition.  He believed that as more laps were run on the track, it would eventually get tighter and less slick as it was under the hot sun. Crew Chief David Hyder brought the no. 21 down pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Bill restarted in the 36th position on lap 42. On lap 84, leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed Elliott to put the no.21 one lap down.

Caution again flew on lap 98.  Bill reported more handling issues, so Hyder requested the no. 21 pit for more adjustments, four tires and fuel. He went back to the track in 38th on lap 102.
Two more cautions ensued within the next 10 laps, however Hyder kept the 21 out on the track for both cautions. On lap 127, Elliott was scored in 37th.

On lap 201, Bill reported that the tight handling issues persisted. On lap 204, the 21 team pit for four tires and fuel along with making another adjustment to assist with the tight condition. He restarted the race in 38th on lap 208. On lap 226, he reported that the car was getting better.  In an effort to make up the lost lap, the team made the decision to pit only if the other cars on the same lap stayed out.

When the no. 42 did not pit, Hyder made the call for Bill to pit.  However, Bill had already passed the commitment line and couldn’t stop. Hyder said, “We’ll be alright. We’ll just pit on the next caution.” The race restarted on lap 232 with Elliott in 34th. 10 laps passed and the team had their opportunity to pit after another caution flag flew. The no. 21 came down pit road where the pit crew put on four fresh tires and fuel. The race resumed on lap 246; Elliott was in 36th.

On lap 265, Hyder radioed to the crew and driver, “The lap times were as good as the top three cars.” Unfortunately, on lap 315, the #43 lost control and collected Bill in the incident, yet the no. 21 experienced only minor damage. Elliott came down pit road for four tires and fuel and to repair any damage. The pit crew pulled the fender away from the left rear and sent him back to the track. With one lap to go before the restart, NASCAR put Bill at the end of the longest line for pitting before pit road was open. Bill restarted the race 35th on lap 320.  Within 10 laps, Elliott reported that the engine was running hot.  Hyder decided that the next time the caution flag flew, which happened on lap 360, the 21 crew would remove some tape from the nose of the car and put on four tires and fuel.

After removing the tape, adding fuel and changing tires, green flag racing resumed.  However, the 21’s engine continued to run hot. During the next caution, which transpired on lap 370, Elliott brought the no. 21 back down pit road to remove more tape. When he returned to the track, the temperatures started to come back down to normal levels. Bill was able to run the remainder of the race where he took the checkered flag in 35th.

Bill Elliott will return in the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in New Hampshire for the Sylvania 300 on Sunday September, 14th.

* Photo credit to Dorsey Patrick