Daytona Victory Lane Nice Comeback For History-Laden Wood Brothers

Big Bend, WI (February 20, 2011) – Trevor Bayne winning today’s Daytona 500 in the famed Wood Brothers Ford is easily the best “feel-good” story of the young racing season.

Twenty-year-old youngster Bayne held off a charging Carl Edwards for a astonishing win in the Daytona 500, becoming the youngest winner ever of what is popularly known as the Great American Race. Bayne driving for NASCAR’s oldest team seemed at home driving the modern NASCAR Ford adorned with the magnificent throwback red-and-white paint scheme.

One of the cornerstones of NASCAR the Wood Brothers team is one of two racing teams that date back to the 1950’s (the other Richard Petty Motorsports).

“We’re so tickled to be here,” said Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Len Wood. “Ford Motor Company has stood behind us for 61 years now to be exact. We’ve been Ford all of our entire racing and to be a part of NASCAR, like I say; this is the greatest feeling you can have. You think, ‘Well, what’s your biggest win?’ Well, this is the top of the stack right now.”

Sponsor of the No. 21 car, Motorcraft is now in its eleventh season as a sponsor of Wood Brothers racing, and Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers is now in its second season with the iconic NASCAR team.

The Wood Brothers team was scheduled to contest 17 races this year in the Cup Series including the first five. The Martinsville round scheduled for April 3rd was the first race not included on their schedule. However on Sunday night, Eddie Wood stated that the team will run Martinsville, plus it’s only 20 miles away from the Wood Brothers home town. Providing the funding is found, Bayne and the team would run the complete series.

The iconic team has run a partial schedule the last few years and has been a little more than a footnote in the Cup Series of late. Eighty-five year old Glen Wood was one of the founders along with his late brother Len. After the race Glen stated on the comeback of the team after the win today. “It was very hard to deal with,” said Wood, who has turned over the day-to-day operations to his sons Eddie and Len in the late-1980’s.”There have been some depressing times. I wouldn’t deny that. But they’ve kept their heads above water and somehow managed to do with what we had. To come out and win this is just unbelievable.”

The victory (98th in the Cup Series) was the first for the Wood Brothers since 2001 when Elliott Sadler was driving for the team. The famed No. 21 won its first Daytona 500 in 1963 when popular Dwayne “Tiny” Lund drove the dark red and white Ford Galaxie 500 to victory lane. The win had a Hollywood feel as Lund was subbing for Marvin Panch who was injured in a sports car race when the car he was driving flipped upside down and caught fire. Who was one of the rescuers that helped flip the car over and save Panch? Yes, Tiny Lund, who was later, handpicked by Panch to drive the No. 21 Ford.

In 1972, SuperTex A.J. Foyt drove the famed No. 21 1971 Mercury to victory adding the Daytona 500 to his impressive racing resume.
1976 saw David Pearson and Richard Petty battling for the lead only to tangle and crash coming out of turn four at Daytona. Pearson was able to restart his critically injured Mercury Montego and coax it over the finish line.

The Wood Brothers running a part-time schedule isn’t a usual practice for the team. One of reasons Hall of Fame driver David Pearson came over to the No. 21 car after Foyt’s win in 1972 was their schedule. Pearson didn’t like running all the races and the Wood Brothers didn’t either. Thus, you saw the No. 21 at Daytona, Atlanta, Darlington and Talladega, not so often at North Wilkesboro or Richmond. However when Phillip Morris started to ramp up their lucrative Winston Cup points system in the late-1980’s, the Wood Brothers started to run a full-time schedule.

Considered the creators of the modern pit stop, did you know that the speedy Leonard Wood led pit crew was brought in to pit the great Jim Clark and his Lotus-Ford at Indianapolis in 1965? Clark and Wood Brothers had a flawless race and ended up in victory lane.

Who else has taken the famed Wood Brothers No. 21 to victory lane? Pearson (43 wins), Panch (8), Foyt (4), Glen Wood (4), Speedy Thompson, (2) Joe Weatherly (1), Dan Gurney (4), Curtis Turner (1), Cale Yarborough (13), Donnie Allison (1), Buddy Baker (1), Neil Bonnett (9), Kyle Petty (2), Dale Jarrett (1), Morgan Shepherd (1) Sadler and Bayne one win each.

An interesting side note. With the new points system in NASCAR, the driver can only contest one series for driver’s points. In the Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Cup Series, all races at Daytona this week were won by drivers not contesting points in the each particular series.

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