Family reflects on Glenn Wood's induction into NASCAR Hall Eddie and Len Wood of Wood Brothers Racing have had an incredible year going. They won the Daytona 500 with a driver in the seat of their No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion that became immediately beloved by fans.
And on the cusp of getting fresh-faced, enthusiastic Trevor Bayne back in the driver’s seat again at their sponsor’s hometown race, the unexpected happened: For the Woods, 2011 got even better.
Glen Wood, Len and Eddie’s father and founder of the family’s dynasty, wrote down the names of the people he thought would make the 2012 Class in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. His was not among them. But Glen, Eddie and Len went to the ceremony anyway, prepared to be happy for the inductees – all men they see as family.
They weren’t prepared for what actually happened next.
Glen was voted in – to the delight of fans and members of the industry alike. He could throw that paper away. Now fans and family hope that Glen’s brother Leonard, who was also nominated, won’t be far behind. They are the Wood Brothers, plural, of course.
EDDIE WOOD, WOOD BROS. RACING - WERE YOU NERVOUS, WAITING TO SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN? “No, you didn’t really expect it. You didn’t really know who was going to get in, so you don’t really get nervous about it. You go in assuming you’re probably not going to get picked. Our dad, I was sitting beside him and he was actually shocked, surprised, whatever you want to call it, because he had written down before we went over there who he thought was going in and he wasn’t one of them. I don’t think he expected it for another couple of years, so he was really excited. I’m not sure it really sunk in until they said his name. Then it was like wow, I’m in the Hall of Fame! It was a really good thing for him.”
LEN WOOD, WOOD BROS. RACING – “He picked Darrell (Waltrip), Cale (Yarborough), Tim Flock, Buck Baker and Herb Thomas.”
DID YOU SEE THE LOOK ON HIS FACE WHEN HE FOUND OUT? EDDIE WOOD – “He just kind of stared at Brian like, OK, I’ve got to stand up now. He was very relaxed. I think he was so surprised that he didn’t know what to do. So he stood up. But he was very happy.”
HOW LATE DID HE HAVE TO WORK THAT DAY, GOING FROM INTERVIEW TO INTERVIEW AND SHAKING HANDS? LEN WOOD – “We didn’t get there until 3:30 p.m. The actual announcement didn’t take 15-16, no more than 20 minutes. He did interviews until probably 1 ½ hours after that. One station to the next station to the next one.”
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR IT TO SINK IN THAT HE’D GOTTEN VOTED IN? LEN WOOD - “We were probably on the way home (before it sank in).”
EDDIE WOOD – “Or what it meant. It’s a big honor to get inducted into (the Hall of Fame). We were talking about it on the way in here (Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn complex). He (Eddie) and I knew, of the 15 that have gotten in, we knew them. We’re friends with all of them. Every one of them. So it’s really special for us, because we knew everybody that’s been inducted so far anyway. We’re friends with them. We’ve been really good friends with Darrell and Cale. Cale drove our car. (Dale) Inman’s one of our best friends at the race track, since we were kids.”
LEN WOOD – “Richie Evans, we used to give (Inman) oil filters and things, years ago. He would race at Martinsville when we were there.”
SO IT FEELS MORE LIKE YOU’RE SITTING DOWN TO THANKSGIVING DINNER WHEN YOU GO TO A PRESENTATION LIKE THAT? EDDIE WOOD - “Yeah, everybody that’s there are friends of ours.”
LEN WOOD – “From Ned to Bud to Junior to Richard to…”
EDDIE WOOD – “The France’s. France Sr., France Jr. We’re friends with them.”
LEN WOOD – “Earnhardt.”
YOU’VE HAD SUCH AN INCREDIBLE YEAR ALREADY. WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN PEOPLE ASK WHAT’S NEXT? “In racing you don’t think much about it. You just think about the next race. And from that race it’s the next race. You just kind of live from race to race. You don’t really think about (the future). You’ve just done it so long, you know how many things can go wrong, so you just kind of prepare yourself for the worst and whatever happens that’s not bad is great.”