Category Archives: 2010

Elliott to Carry FordParts.com Colors Before Hometown Atlanta Crowd

It seems only fitting that as Atlanta Motor Speedway celebrates its 50th anniversary, the race team with the most wins at the Georgia track is celebrating a special anniversary of its own. The Wood Brothers, who lead all teams with 12 Atlanta victories, come to Atlanta for the Emory Healthcare 500 with the hometown favorite, Dawsonville native Bill Elliott, driving the blue-and-white No. 21 FordParts.com Ford Fusion.

It’ll be the second time this season that the Woods’ Ford has carried the FordParts.com colors on the same weekend that Tasca Racing, which competes in the NHRA, also switches from its familiar red-and-white colors to the blue and white of FordParts.com

“We’re excited about the paint scheme,” said Eddie Wood, co-owner of the No. 21 Ford. “It looks really nice, and when we ran it in Michigan earlier this year it was well received.”

FordParts.com is a relatively new offering from Ford that offers a chance for repair shops, body shops, fleets, and do-it-yourselfers to order Genuine Ford and Motorcraft parts online.

Once a part is ordered, consumers can pick up the parts at a dealership or have them delivered to their home or shop.

The service offers a VIN-search capability up for more than 280,000 parts, and it also has available more than 22,000 detailed technical diagrams of parts and assemblies.

For Elliott, the thought of driving the FordParts.com car at his home track brings back memories of his five victories and five poles in 61 career starts on the home turf. It’s also a place that he remembers from his pre-driving days, of traveling there in the mid-1970s, parking in the infield and cheering David Pearson on to victory in the Wood Brothers Mercury.

Back in those days, Elliott and his family were well known in the north Georgia area for their unwavering support of Ford Motor Company and of NASCAR and its race tracks.

Elliott’s fondness for the 50-year-old AMS continues to this day.

“It’s great to get to race this close to home,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun racing there over the years, and I still enjoy racing there and still want to run good there.”

Elliott, like most veteran drivers preferred the old true-oval configuration at Atlanta, one that was changed to a quad-oval in the early 1990s. But he’s a little more encouraged than usual this week because of the success he and the  No. 21 team had in their last AMS outing.

He qualified a disappointing 34th  back in March, but his David Hyder-led crew made several changes to the car in the early laps and despite a pit-road penalty, Elliott drove his way toward the front, leading the race at one point and finishing 16th after weaving his way through some late-race multi-car crashes.

They also had a fuel-mileage strategy in play that could have put them in contention to win had the late-race caution flags fallen their way.

“I was really happy with the way we ran in the spring,” Elliott said. “We started way back, but everybody put in a great effort and we wound up running good.”

This weekend’s race will be the first at AMS for Elliott at night on Labor Day weekend. Last year he had to turn over the No. 21 Ford Fusion to David Gilliland after he injured himself riding his motorcycle the week before the race.

Elliott vows that won’t happen again.

“I’m staying off my motorcycle this week,” he said.

The Emory Healthcare 500 is set to begin Sunday night at 7:30, with TV coverage on ESPN.

Bill Elliott Appearance in Morrow, GA on September 2

Long-time friends of the Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury team, and personal friends of the Vigil family, racing legend Bill Elliott will be at the Morrow, GA location for a Meet & Greet event on Thursday, September 2, 2010 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.

Elliott will be available to sign autographs, take photos and for one-on-one discussions, as Georgia’s own “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” visits the showroom. Stop in during your lunch break and after meeting Bill, you can join the Allan Vigil crew for a home-cooked meal at the T-Bird Cafe, right inside the showroom.

When you visit our Morrow location, you’ll see one of Bill Elliott’s race cars in our showroom, and now proudly joining it is a race car of son, Chase Elliott – both making for a great photo opportunity. The dealership is proud to support Chase’s team in his racing efforts as well.

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Bill Elliott on September 2nd.

Showcar Appearance 9/1 – 9/5

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane showcar will be at Archie Cochrane Motors from Wednesday, September 1 through Sunday, September 5.  They are located at 2147 King Avenue West, Billings, MT  59102.  Please check with the dealership for show times.  Local Quarter Midget cars are scheduled to be on hand also.  Please come out and visit if you’re in the area!

FORDPARTS.COM RETURNS AS SPONSOR FOR WOOD BROTHERS’ NASCAR FUSION AND TASCA RACING NHRA MUSTANG DURING LABOR DAY WEEKEND RACES

• FordParts.com returns as the sponsor of two, high-profile Ford racing cars in NASCAR and NHRA on Labor Day weekend.

• Bob Tasca III to pilot the FordParts.com Shelby Mustang Nitro Funny Car at the NHRA U.S. Nationals race at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, IN

• Bill Elliott will race the No. 21 FordParts.com Ford Fusion during the NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA

• FordParts.com introduces the “Shop Shape-Up Sweepstakes” where entrants could win up to $25,000 in Ford authorized shop tools and equipment.

DEARBORN, Mich., August 31, 2010 – For the second time this season, Wood Brothers Racing and Tasca Racing will switch from their familiar red-and-white Motorcraft schemes to the blue-and-white colors of FordParts.com.  Tasca and the Wood Brothers are bringing the FordParts.com liveries to compete in their respective NHRA and NASCAR races over the Labor Day Weekend, September 3-6.

Launched in June, FordParts.com allows repair shops, body shops, fleets, and do-it-yourselfers to order Genuine Ford and Motorcraft® parts online.  Once a part is ordered, consumers have the flexibility of choosing in-store pick-up or having the parts delivered to their home or shop. FordParts.com takes the guesswork out of ordering with VIN-search look up for over 280,000 parts and more than 22,000 detailed technical diagrams of parts and assemblies.

FordParts.com recently launched a national sweepstakes to coincide with the special paint schemes during the 2010 season.  In the “Double Up Sweepstakes,” entrants could win up to $25,000 in Ford authorized shop tools and equipment through the “Shop Shape-Up” Sweepstakes, or win a 2011 Mustang GT through the “Mustang 5.0 Fever” Sweepstakes.  To enter, visit www.FordParts.com.

Earlier this summer, Bill Elliott raced his No. 21 FordParts.com Ford Fusion during the Michigan International Speedway race in mid-June.  Elliott qualified 29th and finished the NASCAR event in the 28th position.

Bob Tasca III ran his FordParts.com Shelby Mustang Nitro Funny Car at Old Bridge Township Raceway in Englishtown, New Jersey that same weekend.  Tasca qualified seventh and won the race, marking his third career win and the first win for the online retailer.

The matching schemes will once again be seen in person by nearly 150,000 fans at Atlanta Motor Speedway and O’Reilly Raceway Park, as well as millions more on ESPN and ESPN2, providing FordParts.com with a huge national audience to generate awareness of the new website.

Since the launch of FordParts.com site in June, changes have been made to enhance the convenience of shopping for parts online. Elements that were added include:

• Interactive “Ask Your Dealer a Question” assistance

• “Customers who bought this part also bought” information

• Express Checkout

“We’re proud of the success the FordParts.com has shown over the last three months,” said Brett Wheatley, Director of Marketing, Ford Customer Service Division.  “Since June, when we first launched the site and raced the paint scheme in NHRA and NASCAR, more than 50,000 parts have been ordered.  We’ve met and exceeded the goals we set for FordParts.com and are continuously improving the site for our customers.”

Every part available on FordParts.com is recommended by Ford Motor Company and features the trusted Genuine Parts or Motorcraft brand name.  From air-conditioning compressors to wire sets – it’s the right fit for any Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle.

Shop Shape-Up Sweepstakes

Register for a chance to win Ford-authorized tools and equipment from Rotunda. Two grand prizes will be awarded in the “Shop Shape-Up” Sweepstakes, with prizes valued at $25,000 and $5,000.  Enter daily at www.FordParts.com to increase the chances to win.

Mustang 5.0 Fever Sweepstakes

Enter to win an all-new 2011 Ford Mustang GT equipped with Ford Racing Performance Parts and Ford Custom Accessories as part of Ford Customer Service Division’s “Mustang 5.0 Fever” Sweepstakes.  Bold and powerful, the all-new 5.0-liter V-8 Mustang uses advanced technology to deliver 412 horsepower, 390 ft-lb. of torque and class-leading highway mileage of 26 mpg.  Enter online until November 23, 2010, at www.racefanoffers.com, www.quicklane.com and www.fordparts.com.  The “Mustang 5.0 Fever” Sweepstakes is open to all licensed U.S. citizens over the age of 18.

Register for both Shop Shape-Up and Mustang 5.0 Fever Sweepstakes at FordParts.com

Enter to win both the “Shop Shape-Up” and the “Mustang 5.0 Fever” Sweepstakes with a single registration at FordParts.com.  To be eligible to win both sweepstakes, entrants must register on www.FordParts.com between August 7 and November 23, 2010.

About Motorcraft

Motorcraft® offers a complete line of replacement parts that are recommended and approved by Ford Motor Company. From routine maintenance to underhood repairs, Motorcraft parts offer exceptional value with the highest quality and right fit at competitive prices. Motorcraft parts are available nationwide at Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers, independent distributors, and automotive parts retailers and are backed by Ford Motor Company’s Service Parts Limited Warranty. For more information, visit www.motorcraft.com.

About Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers

Quick Lane® provides automotive quick services for all makes and models.  Quick Lane’s nationwide network will surpass 600 facilities, each providing the convenience of an aftermarket company (no appointment necessary, service while you wait, evening and weekend hours, competitive prices) with the confidence of a major automotive manufacturer (quality parts, factory-trained technicians).  Quick Lane® is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company. For more information, visit www.quicklane.com.

About FordParts.com

FordParts.com allows customers to shop online for over 283,000 Genuine Ford and Motorcraft parts. With FordParts.com, repair shops, body shops, fleets and do-it-yourselfers can shop for, order and ultimately receive parts 24/7 via the click of a mouse.  It lets each customer remain connected to their Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealership for the parts expertise, personal delivery assistance, and post-sale follow-up associated with a traditional purchase.  All customers visiting FordParts.com will benefit from its comprehensive, yet user-friendly nature, perhaps best expressed in the way Ford and Motorcraft parts are shopped for and selected. To do so, customers can enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and shop with unmatched accuracy for parts uniquely associated with the vehicle or start by entering the year, make and model of the vehicle.  Adding to the site’s functionality is the ability to view 22,865 technical illustrations on many of the parts and assemblies. For more information, visit www.fordparts.com.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents.   With about 159,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010.  The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.  For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.

Racing Wasn’t the Only Calling for One of the Original Wood Brothers

To see Ray Lee Wood quietly and But that he was. As a tire changer for the famed Wood Brothers crew, Ray Lee Wood helped send many of the sport’s top drivers to victory in some of the sport’s premier events.

But it was during a race trip that brought his family team world-wide acclaim that Wood realized it was time to change life courses.

At the same time he and his brothers were shocking the auto racing world with their pit work that helped propel Jim Clark to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500, Ray Lee Wood was realizing that his racing days were coming to an end.

“When we were up there in Indiana, I felt the calling of the Lord,” Wood said. “He had something else for me to do.”

It was the same calling his brother Delano, the family jack man, would feel at the end of the 1983 season.

Not wanting to leave his brothers in mid-season, in an era when good tire changers were hard to find, Ray Lee decided to stay on through the end of that year.
His racing career ended in grand style, with his old friend Curtis Turner driving the Woods’ Ford to victory in the inaugural American 500 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham.

It was one of the great moments in NASCAR history as Turner was considered by many to be past his prime, too old to win a grueling 500-mile race.

From then on, instead of spending his Sundays at the race track, Ray Lee Wood spent them at the Pentecostal Holiness church just down from his home in Buffalo Ridge, just north of the Stuart, where the family’s race team was based.

Now age 82 and retired from the grading business, he tends the family farm and lives in the same house his parents moved into when he was about 14 years old.

The well-tended yard and tin-roofed, white-frame home, with the mountain stream out front winding among giant hardwood shade trees, look like a scene from an earlier, simpler time.

“There’s just something about this old home place,” Wood said of his love for his little part of the world, adding that he tries hard to make his kin feel just at home there as he does.

It’s in his front yard that the Wood clan gathers each year, under an old beech tree, for their family reunion.

“Even though it’s been mine for some time, I tell the family that I want them to always feel like it’s home for them too,” he said.

Wood, who never married, lives there alone, but says he’s never lonely.

“The Lord’s always there, and you can always talk to him,” he said.  He’s also got his TV and radio, so he can keep up with the NASCAR races, especially when the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion is competing.

“I still follow it,” he said.

And when visitors press him for stories from his racing days, he’s always glad to oblige.

Many of his racing tales involve Turner, his fellow Virginian.

“Curtis was something else,” Wood said. “If he liked you, you really had a friend.”

Although Turner was a legendary partier, Wood never participated in those excursions. However, he often hitched a ride in Turner’s plane.

Since he wasn’t a full-time racer, it was important for Wood to get home as quickly as possible after a Sunday race and get back on his bulldozer. Since Turner often was flying back to Virginia, Wood would ride along.

“One time when we were coming home from Pennsylvania, Curtis got a little sleepy,” Wood recalled, smiling and chuckling as he told the story. “He said, ‘Don’t let me go to sleep.’

“I told him, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going to let you go to sleep.’”

Wood’s just as interesting when talking about his bees or his garden.

Just as his brothers Glen and Leonard – and the team mechanics today – are meticulous and thorough in the preparation of their race cars, Ray Lee leaves nothing to chance when tending his bee hives. Since he began keeping bees 50 years ago, each year he ensures that his boxes in good order, and he faithfully treats his bees for a myriad of problems that are plaguing bees everywhere these days.

Recently he harvested honey from his 100 hives, taking only the sourwood, the most popular flavor, leaving plenty of poplar and other less popular flavors for his bees to live on over the winter.

Not surprisingly, Wood’s honey crop, 100 or so cases, is mostly spoken for already. Its popularity extends far beyond the quiet community where he resides.

Some has been shipped as far away as Japan.

Just as his brothers continued to find success on the race track after he left pit road, Ray Lee Wood has had bountiful harvests at home.

When the Wood family gathers, there is much to be thankful for.

EVOLUTION OF THE PIT STOP: THE EARLY YEARS

(This is the first in a series of four stories about how the pit stop has evolved in stock car racing over the past 60 years.  Presented by TUMS, the number one antacid in America, award-winning motorsports writer Ben White chronicles the changes that have made a pit stop an art form and the people responsible for that transformation.  The NASCAR Hall of Fame will host the “Evolution of the Pit Stop” press conference on Tuesday, August 24 at 2 p.m.).

On the Sunday afternoon of June 19, 1949, NASCAR’s first ever Strictly Stock race was held on a small, dirt track just off Wilkerson Boulevard in Charlotte, N.C.  Since that fateful day, pit crews have serviced cars during races on a variety of track configurations throughout the nation.  In more than six decades of racing, it has become a science and an art form.

Pit stops have become an important part of the sport, just as baseball games feature home runs and football has its 100-yard fields.  Initially, however, pit stops weren’t that important when stock car racing first came to prominence in America following World War II.  At that time, moonshiners in the North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee mountains raced cars more for bragging rights than for money in hastily organized events on vacant cow pastures and open farmland.

Rules, if there were any, varied greatly from region to region and often were open for interpretation with many gray areas.  Mechanics and those who owned the cars struggled to define them, often causing confusion and anger after races had been completed.

Race promoters would, at times, organize events and announced a purse to be paid, only to scurry off the premises with gate proceeds before the race was completed.

After seeing his fair share of dirty dealings and unfair actions on and off the track, race promoter and eventual NASCAR president Bill France, Sr., called a meeting of drivers, owners, promoters and mechanics in December 1947 and asked for their ideas to build stock car racing into a respected and legitimate professional sport. Once the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – NASCAR – was incorporated the following February in Daytona Beach, Fla., a structured point system emerged, a uniform set of rules were established and drivers could depend on the purse being paid.

In NASCAR’s fledgling years, many races were 100 miles or less in length on dirt tracks carved by the Hudsons, Desotos, Fords and Mercurys that were driven on them.  The so-called race cars of the 1950s came straight out of home garages, put into service after stops at local corner gas stations for fuel, water, tape over headlights, and a leather belt to keep the doors from flying open.  The last touch was door and roof-top numbers applied via the use of white shoe polish.

Putting cars designed for highway use to the test through higher speeds and sharper turns meant service had to be ready at a moment’s notice. That resulted in friends and family often being called upon to help turn wrenches when engines broke, when tires went flat and radiators steamed hot.

Dubbed “pit crews” for the deep work pits used in old-fashioned garages, they quickly became an important part of the race-day dynamic.  They discovered in NASCAR’s early days that positions lost on the track could be gained back with fast stops on pit road.

“In the beginning, pit stops were rather chaotic,” says Buz McKim, historian for the newly opened NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.  “It was pretty much done by neighbors of the driver or team owner looking for a way to get into the race for free.  Pit stops weren’t choreographed with any degree of real organization until the 1960s.  Over time, crew members became quite a bit more specialized as far as their duties on race day, such as changing tires, carrying tires, filling cars with fuel and cleaning windshields.  But in the beginning, there was very little polish during a pit stop in NASCAR.”

Crew chiefs or chief mechanics, as they were initially known, answered the mechanical needs on race day the best way they knew how by using merger tools that were very primitive by today’s pit crew standards.

Leonard Wood, chief mechanic for the famous Fords fielded by the Wood Brothers, was a huge part of the team’s 96-career victories dating back to 1953 when the organization was formed.

Over time, drivers and crews discovered quick work in the pits was vital for making up positions lost in the race.  Along with his ability for building strong race-winning engines, Wood is considered someone who first recognized and developed fast stops on pit road.  His ideas pioneered the astounding 12-second stop often seen today.

“Back in those days, we had a four-lug wrench for taking off lug nuts,” Wood says. “There was a lot of emphasis on making sure it was balanced so the lugs would spin on and off nicely.  We continued working where you could do it with one hand.  It would spin on real fast and off real fast.  But if that wrench was wobbling or not balanced, it wouldn’t spin off very fast and you’d lose time.  There was a lot of emphasis put into it, but without that, you just couldn’t get the job done. You could sense this was something the crew could gain time with, so we just kept working with it until we got the process as fast.

“From the four-prong lug nut wrenches, we went to power guns.  Once we had changing tires worked out to where we thought we had it as fast as you could get it, then we’d ask ourselves, ‘What’s holding us up?’   Then we’d look at the jack and what could be done to speed the jack up in getting the car in the air. Then we’d have the jack worked out to our liking, so you’d say, ‘OK, what else is holding us up?’  Then it might be how fast the fuel goes in. So we streamline the fuel system.  We would just work at what we thought was the weakest link and concentrate on that and improve that. But throughout that process, you want pit crew members who really had quick reflexes.

By the early 1960s the Wood Brothers were already enjoying stardom, having won many races including the 1963 Daytona 500 with Tiny Lund at the controls of the No. 21 Ford.  They were already known as one of the fastest pit crews in NASCAR when Ford Motor Co. asked them to step out of their element and serve as Jimmy Clark’s pit crew in the 1965 Indianapolis 500.

Both Clark and rear-engine Lotus designer Colin Chapman were delighted to have men from the Virginia mountains giving them lightning-fast pit stops that year.  Thanks to their flawless pit work and common sense ingenuity, Clark started from the second position and breezed to victory, just under two minutes ahead of second-place Parnelli Jones.

“From say 1961 to 1963, we already had the pit stops worked out pretty well,” Wood says. “Pitting Jimmy Clark in the Indianapolis 500 was a much different situation for us, but we still took the same techniques. We got there and found we had an all British crew that we were working with. Being a foreign crew, we weren’t sure how that was going to work out because we weren’t sure they were going to accept us. But we walked in and they welcomed us with open arms. So that made all the difference. It wouldn’t have worked if they hadn’t wanted us to be there.”

The first pit stop of the day set the stage for Clark’s runaway victory.

“We just started working with the car and preparing for the stop.  I remember we were going through inspection and this was the first year they had a gravity-feed fuel flow; it previously was under pressure. Ours (fuel tank) was different, but completely legal.

“The official said, ‘I’ll bet you $1,000 you can’t pour 20 gallons a minute out of that thing.’  Of course, we didn’t bet with him.  We did a dry run and put in 58 gallons in 15 seconds. So we knew each stop was going to be under 20 seconds.  That kind of caught everybody off guard. It just got everyone to thinking. You go along doing the same thing over and over, but then you reach a point where you think of how time can be gained here or there.”

One of the greatest chief mechanics in NASCAR history is Dale Inman, the man who built and turned wrenches on the Plymouths, Dodges and Fords driven by seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty.  Even though very modest about his accomplishments, Inman orchestrated 198 of Petty’s 200-career victories.

Like Wood, Inman was on the scene when tools used on pit road consisted of not much more than a lug wrench, a pit board, a few tires and a small box of tools.

“Lord have mercy, we might have had a floor jack, but may have even had a regular bumper jack that came with the car some of the time.  I’m serious,” Inman says.  “There would be times back then with some of the shorter races that we might only change one tire at a time and did it with a four-way lug wrench.  I don’t remember the exact time we started using air wrenches on pit road, but that may have been in the late 1950s.  It’s hard to describe what this sport has come from to what it is now.”

Today’s specialist-filled NASCAR garage features crewmen dressed in vibrant sponsor-colored uniforms.  In the early days, there was very little specialization among crew members.  Volunteers were a major part of Sprint Cup, then Grand National, pit crews during the first two decades of NASCAR’s existence.

“We had what we called pick-up pit crews way on up into the mid 1970s,” Inman says.  “We used to share pit crews with (veteran crew chief) Harry Hyde’s team at some 100-mile races. We would pit together.  If he had three or four people and we had three or four people, we would pit whichever car was out front of the other at the time first.

“It’s all come a long way, but the equipment is what has made the biggest difference.  We started modifying our sockets, such as putting springs in them.  It was the same thing with jacks.  We never had one that worked with one pump, but we did try to make them lighter.  At one time, we were changing four tires using two jacks.  One would go up on the right side and someone whom didn’t go over the wall would start jacking the left side jack when the right one fell and the tire guys were coming around the car.  Over time, NASCAR outlawed that and made us use only one jack.”

Through thousands of NASCAR events dating back to the sanctioning body’s inaugural one, safety on pit road has evolved just as it has with all aspects of stock car racing.  Many innovations have come throughout NASCAR’s storied history.

“Fireball Roberts got burned badly at Charlotte in 1964 and we still had gas tanks then,” Inman says. “That brought on the rubber bladders [fuel cells] inside the gas tank.  For years, we used a regular gas can and a regular snout to put it into the car.  They now use a dry break system (which lets the gas can spout fit snug into the car to prevent fires).  Eventually, the man who catches access fuel out the vent opening will be eliminated. That’s a guy standing with his back to oncoming cars coming down pit road and the guy who is pitting right behind him.”  I was there the day Don Miller [retired president of Penske Racing South] got hurt on pit road in 1974.  And I don’t remember the exact year, but some people got hurt on pit road the same way at Raleigh [N.C.] Speedway when we were still fueling the cars from the center of the rear bumper.  That was a long time ago.”

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Showcar Appearance

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane #21 Bill Elliott Ford Fusion showcar will be on display August 26th through August 28th at Walt Sweeney Ford.  This dealership is located at 5400 Glenway Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45238. Showtimes are scheduled to be 9:00am – 3:00pm daily.  Check with the dealership location for more info!

A 22nd-Place Finish Tops Off a Special Day at Michigan for the Wood Brothers

Bill Elliott and the crew of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion battled back from being a lap down to score a 22nd-place finish in Sunday’s Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway, topping off a day that saw the team honored for its legacy of success in NASCAR and at the Michigan track.

Elliott started 30th and maintained a spot on the lead lap until he fell a lap in arrears due to two long stretches of green-flag racing. But when the caution flag flew for an incident between Joey Logano and Ryan Newman with 51 laps to go, the Woods opted to take the wave-around and rejoined the lead lap.

But for the wave-around to be of much help, a team needs the caution flag to fly again fairly soon so they can get fresh tires and fuel since teams that opt for the wave-around can’t make a pit stop during that caution period.

Jeff Gordon’s flat tire and the resulting caution flag provided the No. 21 team that opportunity just six laps later, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew was able to service their car and send Elliott out with fresh tires and a full tank of fuel for the final run to the checkered flag.

Elliott restarted 25th and drove to 22nd at the checkered flag.

“It was a good day,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “At the end of the race, we were running good lap times, but we just couldn’t get the track position we needed to capitalize.”

Wood said the over-the-wall pit crew had a good day, and Elliott did a good job getting on and off pit road as quickly as possible and without incurring a speeding penalty.

“Bill’s one of the best at getting on and off pit road,” Wood said.

Race day at Michigan started with a ceremony on pit road in which the Wood Brothers were honored with a permanent plaque commemorating the team’s 60 years in NASCAR.

The plaque, on the wall behind Victory Circle, recognizes both the Woods’ contributions to NASCAR and their history at Michigan International Speedway.

The Woods are tied with fellow Ford team owner Jack Roush for the most wins at MIS (11) with three drivers, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Dale Jarrett.

Yarborough won the first NASCAR race at Michigan back in 1969 driving for the Woods, and Dale Jarrett got his first Cup win, also with the Woods, at Michigan in 1991.

“It’s a real honor,” Eddie Wood said. “The only other plaques there are commemorating NASCAR on its 50th year and Richard Petty for his 1,000th start.”
 And the fact that the honor came at Michigan made it even more special.

“It’s the home track for Ford Motor Company, and it’s like home for us too,” Wood said.

Elliott and the Woods return to action at another home track of sorts, Atlanta Motor Speedway, on Sept. 5-6. AMS is the home track for Elliott, and it’s also a place where the Woods have scored 12 Cup victories, more than any other team in the track’s 50-year history.

Qualifying Gamble Doesn’t Pay Off; Elliott Still Starts 30th in Carfax 400

Bill Elliott and the crew of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion got an opportunity to take a few chances in qualifying for Sunday’s Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Their chassis tweaks didn’t work out just like they’d planned, but they’re still solidly in the show for Sunday, which is the most important thing on pole day for a team running a partial schedule and therefore not eligible for a guaranteed starting position each week.

This time around, the Wood Brothers team did have some breathing room because Elliott was the only past Sprint Cup champion in the field, thus ensuring him a starting spot. So the team decided to loosen the chassis in an attempt to grab a spot near the top of the starting grid.

But the sun popped out hot just as Elliott took his turn against the clock and the car would be too loose, resulting in a lap at 184.431 miles per hour, which puts him 30th on the starting grid.

But spirits were high in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane pits because the team was focused on making its car faster, not just getting it into the show.

“We had good speed,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “We were good in Turns One and Two, but we were just too tight in Turns Three and Four in practice.

“Since Bill was locked into the field, we loosened up the car, but it wound up being a little too loose.”

Wood pointed out that while the perception is that a loose race car is fast, that’s not exactly the case. Having a car that rolls freely through the corners is best, he said.

“When a car is too loose, the only way a driver can adjust for that is to back off the gas,” he said. “But if it’s too tight, they can still stay in the throttle. It’s a very hard task to get the balance just right.”

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew is encouraged by the performance of the No. 21 on Friday, knowing that when the change is made from a two-lap qualifying set-up to one designed for a 400-mile run the car should be closer to a balance that will allow Elliott to drive toward the front of the field.

“When we open up the grille for race trim, so the air flows through the radiator, it should balance it out, and we’ll be just fine,” Wood said.

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

2011 FORD TAURUS GRAND PRIZE IN GOODYEAR SUPPORT OUR TROOPS® SWEEPSTAKES

DEARBORN, Mich., August  13, 2010 – Ford Motor Company has teamed up with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company to give back to the women and men in the U.S. Armed Forces through the Support Our Troops® Sweepstakes.

The Support Our Troops Sweepstakes is part of a National campaign, launched by Goodyear, giving fans a chance to show their gratitude and recognize the service of the women and men in the U.S. Armed Forces by raising funds to benefit the troops and their families through Support Our Troops, a nonprofit nationwide organization which bolsters the morale and well-being of America’s troops and their families.
Ford Motor Company will provide the Grand Prize of a 2011 Ford Taurus SEL valued at $30,000.  Now through September 13th, Fans have the opportunity to enter once a day at www.goodyearsupportourtroops.com for their chance to win.

The 2011 Ford Taurus combines class-leading technologies with confident, engaging driving dynamics and unsurpassed fuel economy. Since its launch, the all-new Taurus has been a huge sales success; May 2010 saw Taurus sales nearly double over the same period a year earlier. Recently J.D. Power gave Ford the highest initial quality among all non-luxury brands with the Taurus ranked the highest within its respective segment.

“We are proud to be involved in Goodyear’s Support Our Troops program,” said Tim Duerr, Ford Motor Company North America Motorsports Marketing Manager. “This program is a great way to honor the women and men who have given so much for our country. We are delighted to give fans that support this program a chance to win a brand-new 2011 Ford Taurus.”

Goodyear has a longstanding history with the U.S. Armed Forces, with over 100 years of commitment to building innovative and reliable equipment to support and protect our troops. The Support Our Troops program is the newest initiative they have created to give back.
 
 “The Support Our Troops program has been a great way for Goodyear to show their gratitude and respect for all of the uniformed women and men who protect us and our families each and every day,” said Kris Kienzl, Goodyear’s NASCAR marketing manager. “We are thankful that Ford has joined us in showing support.”

Along with the sweepstakes, the Goodyear Support Our Troops web site provides consumers a variety of ways to show their support for the troops including a charitable donation link and giving fans a chance to share videos featuring NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers thanking members of the U.S. Armed Forces for their service.
Fans must be 18 years or older and a resident of the continental United States. Visit www.goodyearsupportourtroops.com today for your chance to win.