Wood Brothers to honor Daytona 500 winning team
When the NASCAR circuit returns to Martinsville, Va. next week for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500, Eddie, Len and Kim will host an event at their racing museum in Stuart that brings together the best of both Wood Brothers Racing worlds.
On Friday night, April 1, from 7 to 9 p.m., fans and friends of the Wood Brothers will get a chance to meet both the original Wood Brothers and the team’s latest Daytona 500 winners, driver Trevor Bayne and crew chief Donnie Wingo.
Representing the Original Wood Brothers that began racing 61 years ago are team founder and driver Glen Wood, crew chief Leonard Wood, tire changer Ray Lee Wood and jackman Delano Wood.
For Wood family friends and race fans in the area, to see Bayne drive the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion at nearby Martinsville Speedway, it’s a rare opportunity to see the Original Wood Brothers. Ray Lee retired in 1965 and Delano in 1983 and neither has been to a NASCAR race since.
“This is probably the first time the four of them have been together in a racing setting since 1965,” Eddie Wood said.
Trevor, Donnie and The Wood Brothers will all be on hand to greet friends and family and to sign autographs.
Eddie Wood said the event is his generation’s way of recognizing the family members, as well as the friends and fans, who have stood by them through the good times in the past as well as the lean times in between victories.
“We just want to thank the people that have supported us through the years,” he said.
Of the original Wood Brothers crew, only Glen and Leonard were full-time racers. Ray Lee Wood, who changed tires in the early years of the team, ran a grading business during the week and raced on weekends. He was there when the crew propelled Jim Clark to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500 and changed his last tires for his long-time friend and fellow Virginian Curtis Turner when Turner scored his comeback win at Rockingham in the inaugural American 500. It would be the last NASCAR victory for both Turner and Ray Lee Wood, who has spent the Sundays since 1965 working in his church.
Delano Wood jacked the famed No. 21 for 77 Sprint Cup victories, which is believed to be the elite circuit’s all-time record. He also retired from racing to focus on church.
Another brother, the late Clay Wood, carried tires on pit stops from 1966 through the late 1970s.
Glen and Leonard Wood have been there from the start. They were there for the team’s first major NASCAR victory, which came in a Convertible division race on March 10, 1957, at Champion Speedway, Fayetteville, N.C. The duo got the team’s first victory in the series now known as Sprint Cup with Glen driving at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., on April 18, 1960, and they were running the show later that year when Speedy Thompson delivered the team’s second Sprint Cup victory in the National 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. They also were there last month when Bayne drove the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion to its 98th overall Cup win and its fifth in the Daytona 500.
The Wood Brothers Racing Museum at 21 Performance Drive in Stuart, Va. will be open Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. As always, admission is free.