Over the years, the Wood Brothers have made many a memorable trip to Michigan International Speedway, the home track for Ford Motor Company and the site of Sunday’s Heluva Good 400 Sprint Cup Series race. But this Father’s Day weekend trip is extra special for the Wood family and their race team.
On Tuesday, team founder Glen Wood was selected as one of the five inductees for the 2012 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. And this weekend marks the return to the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion of the Woods’ Daytona 500 winning driver Trevor Bayne, who has been sidelined by illness.
The success of the race team founded by Glen Wood is as evident at Michigan as anywhere. The Woods and fellow Ford team owner Jack Roush are tied for the lead in Michigan victories with 11 apiece.
But Glen Wood and his brothers Leonard, Delano, Clay and Ray Lee were winners nearly everywhere they ran, and the team, now in its 61st year, continues to find success under the everyday management of Glen Wood’s children Eddie, Len and Kim.
Wood, whose team now has 98 Cup victories including five in the Daytona 500, said he was humbled by his selection, which puts him among the first 15 people inducted in the Hall.
“I could hardly believe it when they called out my name,” Wood said. “But I don’t take it lightly. It’s the greatest honor you can get in this sport of NASCAR, and it’s especially nice to have a Daytona 500 victory and this in the same year.”
Wood pointed out that his time in the sport hasn’t always been marked by success. “It hasn’t been an easy thing from the get-go,” he said. “I know the ups and downs, both sides of it.”
He said his selection to the Hall is something to be celebrated by his entire family.
“I’m prouder for my children than I am for myself,” he said.
While Wood, at age 85, is bracing for a year of appearances related to his induction, the team’s rookie driver, age 20, has been preparing himself for his return to the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. He’s already raced once since he recovered from his illness, in his Nationwide Series Mustang at Chicagoland Speedway two weeks ago, where he finished a strong third. But driving the No. 21 Ford Fusion on the Cup circuit is a greater challenge, and one he’s been busy preparing for.
“I’ve just been really working out hard and running and doing all that kind of stuff to try to help myself physically as much as I can because of the issues I had before,” Bayne said. “I don’t think there’s anything I did to induce that, but I definitely want to do all I can to prevent it again now. So I’ve been doing that…
“I just can’t wait to get out there and get practice underway and start working with [crew chief] Donnie Wingo again and get that Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion back at the top of the board again.”
Qualifying for the Heluva Good 400 is set for Saturday at 1:10 p.m., and the race is schedule to start just after 1 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on TNT.