To get everyone up to speed, my name is Jon Wood and I am a 3rd generation Wood and former driver for Wood Brothers Racing. I hung my helmet up at the end of the 2008 season and now I am TRYING to learn the business side of NASCAR racing. My grandpa is Glenn, my dad is Eddie, my uncle and aunt are Len and Kim, and my sister is Jordan. Jordan is the director of marketing for the team and I am the director of business development. That’s a fancy way of saying we are involved in the marketing side of the team and are learning the ropes. Anyway, when this whole blog thing got started, I was hoping to be involved in it more than I have been being, and the blog started as a way to give an inside perspective on the goings-on of our team and our racing world. We live in a society that’s socially driven and Jordan has been an integral part in growing our social media and I would have to say that pretty much everything we have done up to now has been by her suggestion. She wants a blog that is original and raw, and gives readers a glimpse into our lives, so by golly that’s exactly what we are going to deliver. Starting now! I do want to give forewarning that I have a tendency to be opinionated. I think it’s important to stand your ground on your beliefs and if you see something a certain way, stick to it. There is a difference in being rude and pushing your beliefs on people and simply sharing your perspective. This is going to be a place where we share what we think. We aren’t out to offend anybody, and that’s not going to happen. When I add a blog post, it will be from my perspective, and while that may not be in line with what you think, or she thinks, or Bugs Bunny thinks, it’s just a different vantage point. It’s simply my opinion, and we all know that saying about opinions and noses and how everybody has one. So here goes.
THE GOOD: OUR NEW DRIVER/CREW CHIEF
Our Speedweeks was a success. We accomplished what we set out to do. I think Jeremy Bullins said it best when he summarized what his goals are for the 2015 season. He doesn’t have these silly and unrealistic expectations of winning 20 races out of 18, or having –X- number of top 5’s. His goals are very simple, to be competitive. He wants to go to each and every race we enter with one thing in mind, make few mistakes and be competitive. While we are still the same ‘ole team, pretty much everything is new, that being a new driver, spotter, crew chief, crew, and team alliance. That being said, we are batting 1000 on accomplishing Jeremy’s goals so far. We were competitive and made few (if any) mistakes throughout the entire week and as my dad puts it “they know we were there.”
THE BAD: OUR FINISH POSITION
Yes, we didn’t have the finish we wanted and probably deserved. Ryan did a great job in the Duels, finishing 6th and running in the top 8-10 for pretty much the entire race. It was obvious; however, that in the 500 he was a rookie and rookies by nature don’t get a lot of help with drafting. It’s as if the cars behind him see that yellow line on the bumper and say “nah, no thanks. I’ll follow this other car instead” and that’s ok and to be expected. To compensate for this lack of cooperation that a new driver gets, it helps to have teammates. With our new Penske alliance comes drafting help from Brad and Joey, but after the incident with Stewart, that left us playing catch up with a slightly banged up Ford Fusion. When you have to pit for any reason whatsoever besides four tires and fuel at a super speedway, it’s really hard to get your track position back. So in essence, Ryan was on his own for much of the race. Another thing that’s to be expected is to have the occasional part failure. Our day ended with an engine failure, and in those situations there is usually no warning, it just happens. Roush/Yates builds the best Ford engines anybody could ever ask for. They’re reliable, they’re fast, and they win races and championships. I see two parallels between having an engine failure and getting struck by lighting; it’s rare and it hurts.
THE UGLY: GROUP QUALIFYING
It’s no secret that the group qualifying format used for Daytona was flawed. We can sit here all day and bash it for what it did or didn’t do and how bad it was. We (myself included) are quick to jump on the complain-train and talk about how bad something is, but in this case I will leave my personal opinion aside on the matter and instead, try to offer a totally different perspective. NASCAR has done many things right. It’s not just a stroke of luck that it’s one of the most popular sports worldwide. It has gone from a bunch of boys slinging dirt in a cornfield to what it is today because of constant improvement and continual tweaks. At the end of the day, the primary goal isn’t to make such and such team happy, or whatever conspiracy theory you may have read on Facebook, it’s to make you, the viewer, want to view it more. It’s real simple, how do we make Joe and Jan Smith want to turn the channel to NASCAR racing. The group qualifying as a whole has been successful in making it more appealing to the viewer/fan and you can’t deny it has made qualifying more interesting to watch. Does it need some fine-tuning and adjusting? You bet. Does it need to be taken out back like a mangy old dog and shot? The answer is a resounding NO! I was the first to stand up and shout how bad it was during qualifying for the fall Talladega race, and yes, Daytona resulted in some torn-up cars and even more manipulation by teams trying to get the best outcome. But I have confidence in NASCAR that they will get it right and make it better. It’s a very simple formula that requires no math skills. More interesting equals more eyeballs watching. They will get it right. We lose sight of what racing truly is, that being entertainment. Racing isn’t court of law and its sole purpose isn’t to be totally fair and that alone. Do you enjoy watching C-SPAN? That’s a channel that’s dedicated to what’s fair and just. Racing is entertainment, and while I may have felt like Daytona group qualifying wasn’t totally fair or whatever, it was entertaining. We need to continue to voice our opinions, because that’s the only way improvement can come about. If you don’t know a problem exists, you won’t fix it. I am 100% confident that we will see group qualifying that’s entertaining and fair.
As I said at the beginning, I want to make this blog be something that’s unique and interesting. If you have suggestions about topics for us to discuss, by all means let us know. This is just as much about us hearing from you as it is you hearing from us. We want to make you keep coming back! THANKS FOR READING!!!