Wood Brothers reaching for new heights
Blaney could bring team its 1st driver champinship
MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Glen Wood, 92-year-old patriarch of the Wood Brothers Racing team, one of eight left in the race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, hasn’t been actively involved in the sport since he retired in the 1980s.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Wood, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, has lost interest. Quite the opposite.
Wood videotapes — yes, he still uses videotapes — every Cup race, examines each one thoroughly and provides feedback to his sons, Eddie and Len, who now run the team Glen Wood started in 1950.
“He watches every race,” Eddie Wood said Saturday. “He actually still tapes them. I’m not talking about with a DVR; I’m talking about with the VCR. He’s still got a machine, and he’ll go back and analyze it and talk to us about it.
“We ran out of fuel somewhere, and he was like, ‘Did you all think you were at Darlington?’ It’s a mile-and-a-half and you can run longer there, so he keeps up with it just as much as we do.”
Wood Brothers driver Ryan Blaney is one of eight drivers remaining in the playoff field. The first race in the third round is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway, the Woods’ “home” track.
The Wood Brothers won the Cup team championship in 1963 but own no driver titles, in part because they ran partial schedules for many years. Blaney, 23, is in position to bring home a championship for one of NASCAR’s oldest teams. Few would have predicted the No. 21 would make the final eight.
“I think everyone on the team just wanted to go out and do our best and do what we could to our full capability, and whatever happens happens, whether that’s winning a race or however far we go in the rounds,” Blaney said. “We just kind of take it week to week. That’s personally how I look at it. We go do our best, and the rest will work itself out.”
“I don’t really want to chalk it up as a successful or unsuccessful season yet, and we’ll kind of see how we go, but it’s been a lot of fun. It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had racing this whole year, no matter what happens, but hopefully we can keep going the next month or so.”
Although Toyota has dominated the playoffs, Blaney said Ford teams have lifted their game.
“I think the past couple months we’ve gotten our cars better as far as Fords in general,” he said. “I think we’ve all made gains, especially the 4 (Kevin Harvick) car. He’s been really fast, so there are a handful of us that have made really big gains and, hopefully, we’re peaking at the right time to where we can really capitalize on the speed in our cars and try to advance and make it to Homestead.”