Category Archives: 2016

Blaney, Motorcraft/Quick Lane At Their Best In Finishing Fourth At Michigan

2016 NASCAR MichiganRyan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, 40 races into their time together in the Sprint Cup Series, had one of their best efforts yet in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. The rookie Blaney and his team, led by rookie crew chief Jeremy Bullins, overcame an early flat tire and damage to the hood of the No. 21 Ford Fusion to finish fourth, tying their career-best finish from Talladega Superspeedway a year ago.

Bouncing back from a disappointing end to the race at Bristol Motor Speedway the week before, Blaney qualified seventh and raced in or around the top five all afternoon at Michigan.

2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, MichiganThey did so despite an unscheduled pit stop for a flat tire at Lap 42, a flat that left a small hole in the hood of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion. With much of the race running under the green flag, and most pit stops occurring under green, Bullins elected to not spend the time repairing the car.

The call paid off, as Blaney was able to maintain his spot near the front despite the damage.

Then, when a caution flag flew with 13 laps remaining and Blaney running fourth but riding on older tires, Bullins opted to stay on the track and maintain the track position. That was a difficult decision as others running just behind Blaney stopped for fresh rubber.

On the restart and final run to the checkered flag, Blaney held his ground and scored his second top-five finish of the season and his seventh top-10 of the year.

Blaney said the outcome could have been even better if some of his fellow drivers had been able to get up to speed more quickly on the last restart.

“It is unfortunate it didn’t work out the best it could have,” he said. “[Restarts] are always crazy. Everyone is pushing to get the most they can. All you can do is hold on.”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he’s proud of every member of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.

“This was one of our best races since we’ve been together,” Wood said. “Ryan did a great job, especially realizing what the trouble was when he had that flat tire.”

“He got on pit road, and we got it fixed, and it didn’t hurt us a bit.”

“Jeremy made some great calls that I’m glad I didn’t have to make. That one at the end of the race to stay on the track was a tough one, but it was the right decision.”

“And the pit crew was just amazing. Every stop they made was in the 11-second range, and that’s really commendable.”

2016 NASCAR Michigan Wood also said that a good run was made even more special by it coming at the home track of Ford Motor Company and with Edsel Ford II and Henry Ford III on the team’s pit box.

“It’s always an honor to have them on the box with us, but it’s rewarding to have a strong run with them there to share it with us.”

Blaney said a good, solid run is just what the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team needs.

“These are the days this team deserves,” he said. “We always want to win in Ford’s backyard but we will go on to Darlington and try to get it done there.”

For the Southern 500, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion will carry a throwback paint scheme honoring David Pearson and his dominating 1976 season that saw him drive the No. 21 to 10 major victories including the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500.

Blaney Qualifies Seventh For The Pure Michigan 400

2016 NASCAR MichiganComing off a disappointing end to last Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Ryan Blaney and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were looking to rebound at the Michigan International Speedway.

They did just that, posting the fourth-fastest time in opening practice and qualifying seventh for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.

It was his second straight top-seven qualifying effort and the sixth time this season he has qualified seventh or better.

Blaney’s qualifying lap at 201.202 miles per hour was just a tad off the 201.698 mph that his Ford teammate Joey Logano turned in winning the pole.

Blaney, who was 13th fastest in the first round of qualifying and seventh in the next two, said the difference in his and Logano’s qualifying time likely was his speed in turns one and two in the final round.

  “We were kind of tight in the second round and we tried to adjust it to get it better for the third round and didn’t quite get enough,” Blaney said. “I probably could have gone up on the track bar more and helped it. We were tight over in [turn] one and couldn’t roll the speed. I have to look at my comparisons with Joey and see where he beat me. I am sure it is all in one and two.”

“I probably tried to get too much there, but it wouldn’t turn.”

All-in-all it was a strong day for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, and Blaney is optimistic the good performance will continue through the weekend as the team transitions from preparing for qualifying to getting ready for Sunday’s race.

2016 NASCAR Michigan “It is a good start to the weekend, and we will see how we are tomorrow when we get into race trim,” he said. “We did all [qualifying] runs today, so we will have to switch over to race trim tomorrow and see how we are.”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said qualifying well at Michigan, the home track for Ford Motor Company, is always important, and this week it comes as a welcome relief after a strong start to the previous weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway which ended with a crash in the race.

“We had a rough end to the race at Bristol, so it’s good to come back and be fast here at Michigan,” Wood said. “It’s always good to start up front here, and we’re proud of our Ford teammate Joey Logano and our friends at Team Penske for winning the pole.”

The Pure Michigan 400 is set to get the green flag just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Ready For Lower-Downforce Racing At Michigan

Michigan1After a week at Bristol Motor Speedway with their car carrying the logos of Virginia Tech, Ryan Blaney and his Wood Brothers team return to their traditional Motorcraft/Quick Lane colors for this weekend’s Pure Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway.

That’s the home track for Ford Motor Company, and therefore an important race for the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.

For crew chief Jeremy Bullins, Michigan is fresh on his mind, as the team ran there just eight races ago.

“One of the cool things about the summer stretch in my mind is there are a couple of tracks that we race twice in a short span, and one of those is Michigan,” Bullins said. “Last time there, we had a top-five qualifying effort and had speed in our car in the race until sustaining some damage later in the event.”

That performance came with the same lower-downforce aerodynamic package that will be used this weekend.

Among the aerodynamic characteristics for this weekend are a smaller rear spoiler, the elimination of rear-axle offset, a smaller fin on the rear deck lid and smaller sides on the front splitter.

Bullins said that because his team has both raced and tested with the new package, he feels good about his team’s chances heading into Michigan.

Michigan2 “We definitely have some confidence that we have a solid baseline to work from,” he said. “It’s also going to be fun and challenging to work with the lower downforce package again.”

“It seems like Ryan adapts well to that package as we were also very fast at Kentucky. We are looking for a fast fun weekend for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion.”

Bullins also said he’s keeping a positive outlook despite disappointing finishes at Bristol and Indianapolis Motor Speedway that have put Blaney in a longshot position as far as making the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“Obviously some wrecks over the summer have put a damper on our points position, but we have our heads high knowing we are bringing fast cars to the track,” he said. “We will continue to push forward.”

Qualifying for the Pure Michigan 400 is set for Friday at 5:15 p.m. and the race should get the green flag just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

 

Multi-Car Crash Relegates Blaney To 35th at Bristol

2016 NASCAR BristolRyan Blaney and the No. 21 Virginia Tech Ford Fusion got off to a fast start but had a disappointing finish in a rain-delayed Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Blaney was strong in practice on Friday and backed it up by qualifying fourth for the 500-lap race on the ultra-fast, high-banked concrete oval.

But the speeds at Bristol also lead to multi-car crashes, and one of those wiped out a strong performance by Blaney and his Virginia Tech team, and he wound up 35th at the finish.

The race started out with great promise for Blaney and his maroon No. 21 Ford Fusion.

Just after the drop of the green flag on Saturday night, Blaney drove to third place before rains halted the race after 38 laps and pushed the finish back to Sunday afternoon.

Back on the track, Blaney soon grabbed second place and held that until the first pit stop at Lap 85. An unfavorable pit stall, with lead-lap cars in front of him and behind him, contributed to him falling to 11th on the restart. But soon he was back among the top 10 and raced there for nearly 200 laps.

On a pit stop at with a little over 130 laps to go, the Virginia Tech crew tuned Blaney’s car back to the settings he started the race with, and he restarted 14th.

That’s where his good fortune came to an end. When Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch collided at the front of the pack, drivers began crashing in front of Blaney, and he wound up slamming into the car of Matt Kenseth, which was knocked in front of him just as Blaney got to him.

2016 NASCAR BristolWith substantial damage to the Virginia Tech Fusion, the crew patched the car back up and got him back on the track where he salvaged a 35th-place finish.

“We were trying to make ground on the top and before I knew it the 20 [Kenseth] was sitting sideways in front of me, and I hit him pretty hard,” Blaney said. “It’s unfortunate. We had a really good car early and lost some spots on pit road being in bad spots and kind of lost our car a little bit halfway through, but got it back and thought we were just starting to make ground up and got in that wreck.”

Blaney and his Wood Brothers team will run the Virginia Tech colors this fall at Martinsville Speedway, but next week at Michigan International Speedway the No. 21 Ford Fusion will be back in its red-and-while Motorcraft/Quick Lane colors.

“I want to thank Virginia Tech, Ford and Motorcraft/ Quick Lane for what they do,” Blaney said.

“That [finish] definitely hurts, especially when you have a good car, but we’ll just go on to next week.”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that despite the disappointing finish, he was proud of his team’s effort.

“We definitely didn’t get the result we wanted for Virginia Tech and for Ford Motor Company, but all-in-all we had a fast car all weekend,” he said. “We’ll have Virginia Tech on the car at Martinsville, and although we’ll be racing at Richmond the night of the Battle of Bristol, we’ll be pulling hard for the Hokies.”

Blaney, Virginia Tech Ford Will Start Fourth At Bristol

2016 NASCAR BristolRyan Blaney and his No. 21 Virginia Tech Ford Fusion led the way for Ford Motor Company in Friday’s Sprint Cup qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Blaney was in the top five in all three rounds of knock-out qualifying and will start fourth in Saturday’s Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. It’s his best qualifying effort of the season, and his best since a third-place start at Talladega Superspeedway in May, 2015.

Overall, Blaney and his team had one of their most successful Fridays of the season. He was seventh fastest in the first practice, with a best lap of 128.451 miles per hour. He stepped it up to fourth in Happy Hour, with a best lap at 129.334 mph.

In qualifying, he was fifth in the opening round with a lap at 130.123 mph, then fourth in Round Two with a speed of 129.842 mph before running a lap at 130.637 mph to secure the fourth starting position.

“I thought we were fast unloading and tweaked on it from there,” Blaney said. “We found some things that worked and found some things that didn’t work, and it was just an overall fairly good day for us.

“It’s nice to get a good qualifying spot. I don’t know how many times I would have killed to start on top, and now I’m going to start on top, so that’s just the way it goes.”
Blaney also said he believes his car will be fast in Saturday night’s race.

2016 NASCAR Bristol “I don’t think our [qualifying] setup is the only good part of our car,” he said. “I think our race runs were pretty good, and it’s just a matter of putting 500 laps together and seeing where it ends up.”

Blaney was among those at the track admiring the maroon Virginia Tech colors on the No. 21 Ford Fusion.

“I think our car actually looks really, really good,” he said.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he was happy that the rains stayed away so qualifying could be held and proud of the way his team represented Virginia Tech, which is sponsoring the No. 21 Fusion at Bristol this weekend and at Martinsville Speedway this fall.

“I’m really proud of Ryan and the team,” Wood said. “And we’re honored to have Virginia Tech on the car and so glad to have a good qualifying effort for them.”

Wood agreed with Blaney that the Virginia Tech paint scheme has been a winner at Bristol.

“There’s been a lot of interest in the car, from little kids to youth to adults. Everybody’s really excited.”

Saturday night’s 500 lapper is set to get the green flag just after 8 p.m. with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Wood Brothers And Virginia Tech Team Up To Take On Bristol

IMG_2596Ryan Blaney and the crew of his No. 21 Virginia Tech Ford Fusion and the Virginia Tech Hokies have plenty in common in the next few weeks, besides the fact that they both will be representing the Commonwealth of Virginia in a high-stakes sports contest at Bristol Motor Speedway.

In Saturday’s Night Race at Bristol for the Sprint Cup Series, Blaney and his Wood Brothers race team will compete in a race that often plays out like a two-minute drill in football, except it lasts for 500 laps.

Eddie Wood, co-owner of the race team that has its roots in Stuart, Va., said the night race at Bristol is both challenging and exciting, largely due to the speeds attained on the high-banked concrete track.

“Under the lights, the cars seem like they’re going so fast,” Wood said. “And they really are, which makes race strategy and track position so important.”

Wood explained that throughout the race, decisions have to be made almost instantly by the team.

When a caution flag flies, the team has to make a snap decision, and the ensuing pit stops happen just as quickly.

“As soon as the caution flag flies, the crew chief has to make the call whether to pit or not, whether to take two tires or four or none,” Wood said. “Then the decision has to be immediately relayed to the driver, who has only a few seconds to get on pit road.”

“It’s really intense.”

The No. 21 Virginia Tech team, like the other 39 in the starting field, will be making strategy decisions all night long, and whether they work out as planned often depends on circumstances out of their control, such as when the next caution flag might be displayed.

“If you make the right decision, you can get a big advantage,” Wood said. “If not, you just have to try something else.”

One big key is maintaining a position near the front of the field, which requires both a fast car and a good pit strategy.

Then, there’s the matter of which lane a driver finds himself or herself in for a restart. In the spring race at Bristol, the lower lane proved to be much slower than the outside groove, and that cost Blaney a great finish. He was running fifth with 10 laps to go, but had to restart on the inside and wound up 11th at the finish.

IMG_2597No matter the outcome, Wood, his family and his race team are proud to be carrying the colors of Virginia Tech, which will also be represented at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 10 when the Hokies square off against The University of Tennessee in the Battle of Bristol, which will be played out on a field constructed in the area that serves as the garage for NASCAR races. That game is expected to set a new all-time single-game attendance record for college football.

The VT logo and maroon colors also will be on the No. 21 Ford Fusion for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 held at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 30.

“It’s a really good-looking car,” Wood said. “I hope all the people, students and players at Virginia Tech, as well as all the Hokie fans will be pleased, and we’re going to do our best to do a good job for them.”

Qualifying is set for Friday at 5:45 p.m. with TV coverage on USA Network.

The race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 8 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

The Sprint Cup Series car driven by Ryan Blaney will feature Virginia Tech colors in upcoming races at Bristol and Martinsville

Virginia Tech Car 1

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech Athletics Department and Wood Brothers Racing announced Monday that the NASCAR Sprint Cup race team will display a Virginia Tech paint scheme on its cars for upcoming races at Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.

The paint scheme is being used to promote both the school’s academic programs and the athletics department as part of the department’s “This is Home” marketing campaign. The Virginia Tech football team will play Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 10 – a game that may break college football’s all-time single-game attendance mark – and the car will be displayed at that game.

The car will feature a primary color of maroon, with orange and white accent stripes. Ryan Blaney, who drives the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will wear a fire suit and a helmet with Virginia Tech colors and the team will be wearing Virginia Tech shirts.

The car was unveiled to the Tech football team following the team’s practice Monday morning. Most of the Wood family was in attendance.

“Virginia Tech has been a big part of the Wood Brothers for a long, long time,” said Leonard Wood, who helped his brother, Glen, found the race team in 1950. “We’ve been friends with Coach [Bud] Foster and just met the new coach [Justin Fuente]. I never dreamed when my daughter was going to Virginia Tech that we’d have a race car on the practice field here at Virginia Tech. It’s just awesome.

“That ‘VT’ on the hood just jumps out at you and I love the color combination. It’s one of my favorites.”

The Virginia Tech-themed car will be run at the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race held at Bristol Motor Speedway this Saturday and at the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 held at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 30.

Clark Ruhland, a graduate of Virginia Tech who now works as a communications specialist for the City of Salem, Virginia, created the design scheme for the car, fire suit, helmet and crew uniforms. In addition to having ties to Virginia Tech, Ruhland also works on the broadcast production staff for NASCAR on NBC.

Virginia Tech and Wood Brothers Racing, started by NASCAR Hall of Fame members Glen (Class of 2012) and Leonard Wood (Class of 2013) and continued by Glen’s children Eddie, Len, and Kim, have a long history going back to 1950. In 2000, Elliott Sadler drove a Wood Brothers car with a Virginia Tech paint scheme during a NASCAR race in Richmond.

Though now racing out of Harrisburg, North Carolina, the Wood Brothers Racing Team is still a Virginia company that originally began in Stuart, Virginia – roughly an hour from Virginia Tech’s campus. Several members of the Wood family have graduated from Virginia Tech and one currently is enrolled at the university.

“We’ve got a long of family ties with this and we felt like the deal with our race at Bristol and then the Battle at Bristol coming up that it was kind of important to do this,” Len Wood said. “We teamed up and here we are.

“You’ve got colleges and you’ve got football teams, but Virginia Tech is our hometown college team. We pull for them all the time. Hopefully they’ll win. We’ll be racing in Richmond on the night of Sept. 10, the night that they’re playing in the Battle at Bristol, so we won’t be watching the game, but we’ll be paying attention. We’ll be watching Twitter.”

The arrangement also continues Virginia Tech’s ties with NASCAR. Several Tech graduates work in the racing industry, including former football player Caleb Hurd, who works on the pit crew for driver Denny Hamlin; David Wilson, who works as the president for Toyota Racing Development; Darian Grubb, a vehicle production director for Hendrick Motorsports; Kevin Kidd and Michael Tam, whom both work for Roush Fenway Racing, and many others.

 

Blaney Finishes 19th In Long Day At The Glen

2016 NASCAR Watkins GlenRyan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, like a lot of others in Sunday’s Cheez-It 335 at Watkins Glen International, had their share of miscues and off-road excursions.

But in the end, Blaney brought the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion home in 19th place and remains 18th in the driver standings heading into a rare off-weekend for the Sprint Cup Series.

Blaney started 19th and had moved up several positions when he was nabbed for speeding on pit road during his first stop. After serving his penalty he was scored in 37th  place but managed to stay ahead of the race leaders and maintain his spot on the lead lap.

Then, just before the halfway point, Blaney ran off the track, accumulating grass on the grille of his Fusion. But he was able to pit and have the front of his car cleaned, eliminating the threat of overheating.

He began to move forward, and by the time the caution flag flew with 35 of 90 laps remaining, he was running 16th.

Over the closing, caution-filled laps, Blaney maintained a position inside the top 20 and wound up 19th at the finish.

Team co-owner Len Wood said that while the race had the feeling of a long day at the office, it could have been much worse.

“When we had the speeding penalty early, it changed all the strategy options as far as what we could do to overcome the penalty,” Wood said. “It was a bit of a struggle.”

When Blaney made his final stop, with 41 laps remaining, crew chief Jeremy Bullins opted for just two tires and one can of fuel so as to get Blaney back on the track as quickly as possible.

2016 NASCAR Watkins GlenHowever, with the way the race played out, with numerous caution flag in the closing laps, that strategy move was somewhat negated.

Still, Wood said, the overall performance of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team left plenty to be proud of.

“The pit crew had another outstanding race,” he said. “And Ryan did a good job of avoiding the big wrecks.

“We could have easily been involved in one or more of them.”

Wood went on to say that Blaney, with just two road course races in his Cup career, will be much better going forward.

“It’s a learning experience,” Wood said.

Now, after a week off, Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team return to one his best tracks, Bristol Motor Speedway, where he finished 11th in April.

“He was running fifth with 17 laps to go and wound up in the slower lane on a restart,” Wood said. “It’ll be good to get back to Bristol.”

Panch, Wood Brothers Ruled Watkins Glen, Northern Tour in ‘65

NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. always had a great vision for the sport of stock car racing, and a big part of that master plan was to take the sport from its Southern roots and spread it across America.

One of his tools was the old “Northern Tour.”

From the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, when the series now known as Sprint Cup left Daytona International Speedway after the Firecracker 400 on the Fourth of July, a caravan of racers headed north.

WGN1The “Tour” usually made a stop at a short track in Virginia then continued on to several of the popular short tracks around the New York/New Jersey area. The Tour also featured a race at one of the major tracks in the area, typically either Trenton Speedway in New Jersey or Watkins Glen in New York.

The 1965 Northern Tour saw the Wood Brothers, who now field the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion for Ryan Blaney, and their driver Marvin Panch dominate the races on the tour.

Panch, who passed away last New Year’s Eve, started on the pole on July 9th at Old Bridge Stadium in Old Bridge, N.J., and dominated the 200-lap race for the first 141 laps before surrendering the lead to eventual winner Junior Johnson, who recorded his 10th win of that season and the 47th of his career.

On July 14, the tour moved to Islip Speedway in Islip, N.Y., a relatively tiny .2-mile paved oval. Panch again started from the pole, but this time he led all 250 laps and was a lap ahead of second-place Dick Hutcherson when the checkered flag fell. It was Panch’s third win of the season, the first two coming via a sweep of the races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

From there the tour moved to Watkins Glen. With qualifying cancelled, Panch started third, but took the lead on Lap 14 and led the remainder of the 66-lap run over a 2.3-mile course. Only runner-up Ned Jarrett was on the same lap with Panch at the finish.

It was the fourth and final win that season for Panch and the eighth and final one of his career aboard the Wood Brothers’ Ford.

WGN3After 1965, Watkins Glen dropped off the Cup schedule and did not return until 1986. Panch was invited back to serve as Honorary Starter for that race, and afterward, the green flag, with the signatures of all the drivers in the starting field, was given to Panch, whose daughter, Marvette in turn presented the flag to the Wood Brothers.

Overall, the Wood Brothers have competed in 24 Sprint Cup races at the Glen, with a runner-up finish by Morgan Shepherd in 1992 and a third-place by Marcos Ambrose in the team’s most recent Glen race, in 2008. Ambrose drove his way to a podium finish after starting 43rd.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that even though Blaney has never driven in a race at Watkins Glen, he’s optimistic based on his young driver’s skill at road racing and the fact that the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team tested there a week ago.

2016 NASCAR Kentucky “I think we will be OK,” Wood said. “There’s always a lot of strategy played there, and if we can work it right and get track position at the end, we’ve got as good a chance as anyone to get a win.”

Wood said a good finish at the Glen is important, especially with only five races remaining in the 26-race regular season and Blaney still in the hunt for one of the 16 berths in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“I’m hoping for a good run to keep our Chase hopes alive,” he said.

Blaney enters this weekend’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen tied for 17th in the driver standings.

Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday at 12:15 p.m. and the race is set to start just after 2:30 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Pays Tribute to David Pearson, 1976 Triple Crown-Winning Mercury Montego at Darlington Raceway

 

  • Wood Brothers Racing and Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing unviled their throw-back paint scheme for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The design is a tribute to the 1976 Mercury Montego that David Pearson drove to the unofficial NASCAR triple crown that Bicentennial year four decades ago.

Pearson-throwback-RM-v2

CHARLOTTE, N.C., August 2, 2016 – Wood Brothers Racing and Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing unviled their throw-back paint scheme for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The design is a tribute to the 1976 Mercury Montego that David Pearson drove to the unofficial NASCAR triple crown that Bicentennial year four decades ago.

With Hall of Fame crew chief Leonard Wood calling the shots from the pit area, Pearson grabbed the triple crown by winning the Daytona 500, the World 600 at Charlotte and the Southern 500, and added seven other victories that season.

“We are so excited that we were able to work with Motorcraft, Quick Lane and Ford Performance to make this paint scheme happen,” said Eddie Wood, co-owner of the Wood Brothers Racing Team. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been 40 years since all that happened.”

The scheme includes Pearson’s name on the door honoring the winningest driver in the Wood Brothers’ storied 66-year history.

“David Pearson is such an important part of our history, getting 43 of our 98 wins over seven years, that we’re proud to put his name on this race car,” said team co-owner Len Wood, who along with his brother oversaw the execution of the design down to the smallest detail. “We had to incorporate our current sponsor Motorcraft/Quick Lane into this design yet stay true to the original, right down to the blue stripes across the hood and down the side panels and the silver wheels.”

The iconic No. 21’s Darlington paint scheme includes an image of a Motorcraft oil filter on the C pillar just as there was for Purolator in 1976.

The Wood Brothers ran just two cars, the same two cars, between 1976 and 1980. One was set up for speedways and the other for short tracks. The original speedway model is in the Speedway Motors Museum of Speed in Lincoln, Neb. The short-track variation is on display in America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Wash.

In 1976, in addition to the triple crown, the cars won 10 of the 22 races they started, led 1,227 laps, captured eight poles and posted 16 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes. The non-triple crown victories came at Riverside (2), Atlanta, Darlington, Michigan (2) and Ontario (Calif.).

The cars ran as Montegos again in 1977 when they won at Riverside and Darlington and grabbed five pole positions, again with Pearson behind the wheel, Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum duct taped to the dash as was his custom.

In 1978, 1979 and 1980, the cars ran as Cougars and an opera window replaced the oil filter on the C pillar. As Cougars, they combined for five poles and six wins including triumphs at Dover, Daytona, Charlotte, Darlington, Pocono and Talladega.

Pearson shared driving duties with Neil Bonnett in 1979 and Bonnett became the team’s sole wheel man in 1980.

If anyone thinks the “throwback” paint schemes at Darlington are solely for older NASCAR fans, they are mistaken. A year ago, a 14-year-old fan from Tennessee named Skyler Fox sent his idea for a throwback paint scheme to Wood Brothers Racing. It also was based on the 1976 paint scheme.

“I really enjoy old racing,” Fox said. “The throwback race brings back lots of things I never was able to see. This scheme always stood out to me because it was one of the Daytona 500-winning schemes. It also is one of the cleanest, fastest-looking schemes ever.”

Also at Darlington this year, driver Ryan Blaney will wear a fire suit patterned after the suit Pearson wore in 1976.

“When I first started driving for the Wood Brothers last season, I knew it was going to be a special experience,” Blaney said. “But being able to drive the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion with a paint scheme that really highlights the team’s great history is truly an honor.”

In addition, Wood Brothers crew members will be wearing uniforms – complete with white pants with a blue stripe down each leg – that match those worn by their predecessors 40 years ago.

The Bojangles’ Southern 500 takes place Sunday, Sept. 4, at 6 p.m. at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C.  To order tickets to the Bojangles’ Southern 500® please call 866.459.7223 or can go to www.darlingtonraceway.com

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