Wood Brothers Racing Richmond II Preview
Harrisburg, NC (September 4, 2008)-Richmond has always held a special place in Wood Brothers Racing history. From the first race in 1959 on the original half-mile dirt track, Glen Wood drove the no. 21 Ford and finished second, to Kyle Petty’s first career win in 1986. Wood Brothers Racing will heading back to the three-quarter mile tri-oval with Past Champion and three time pole sitter, Bill Elliott, in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 on Saturday, September 6.
Wood Brothers Racing has two wins at the fast short track. The first came in 1960 with Speedy Thompson in the no. 21 Ford. The team fielded two cars that race, the second was piloted by Joe Weatherly in the no. 16. The weekend began well with the both cars starting second and third. Leonard Wood recalled the day as a complete success. He said, “I remember Speedy was very commanding at that Richmond race, coming off of the win at Charlotte it really fit perfect. He was more of a champion in that race than at Charlotte. He was very much the one to beat all day. Joe Weatherly took the other car, a 1958 year model, he was running well in the no. 16 until the fuel pump went.” Thompson led 173 of 200 laps and won a purse of $800 and Weatherly finished 16th.
In those days the team didn’t have separate pit crews to pit both cars so they shared the pit stall. “We didn’t run two cars very much. We’d run two once in a while. We weren’t set up to run to cars. We pit in the same stall. One would come in, we’d pit that and then the other would come in and we’d do that next”, Wood said.
Years and several top finishes later in 1986, the second win at RIR was when Kyle Petty earned his first career victory in the no. 7 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Thunderbird. The win was a serendipitous moment when on the last lap, Petty was running fifth and the leaders, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Joe Ruttman wrecked coming out of turn three. Geoff Bodine, the fourth place car, spun in their debris then Petty seized the opportunity and wheeled his way through the wreckage to take the checkered flag. Wood Brothers co-owner Len Wood described the win, “It was special to give Kyle his first win and include the Petty’s in it. We’ve always gotten along with them although we were competitors on the race track, but once we came off of the racetrack we were always good friends, still are.”
Wood Brothers Racing is looking forward to a positive run at RIR this weekend with, veteran driver, Bill Elliott behind the wheel. As the team progresses, they look forward to the exciting short track racing that Richmond brings