Brothers Glen and Leonard Wood built their first race car back in 1950, working underneath a beech tree on the family homestead in Buffalo Ridge, Va.
They ran their first race in 1950, with Glen driving and Leonard the mechanic, at Morris Speedway near Martinsville.
Glen was involved in a wreck in that first race, and the car burned up on the way home, but the brothers were undeterred. Today, the Wood Brothers brand is a household name among race fans, as is the case in their hometown of Stuart.
To date, the Wood Brothers team has won 99 races on the NASCAR series now known as Monster Energy Cup, and those wins include five victories in the sport’s biggest race, the Daytona 500.
The Woods also crewed the Lotus that the late Jim Clark drove to Victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500.
The brothers, now mostly retired from the racing business, have been inducted into numerous racing halls of fame including the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala., and the Stock Car Hall of Fame in Darlington, S.C.
On Tuesday morning, Glen and Leonard Wood will be honored by their home folks in Patrick County.
The Patrick County Student Government Association has selected Glen and Leonard Wood as the 2018 recipients of the Distinguished Patrick Countian Award, now in its 43rd year.
The Woods’ iconic No. 21 Ford, now driven by Paul Menard, continues to be a front-running car on NASCAR’s elite circuit, and the team has been recognized with a Guinness World Record for the longest active NASCAR racing team.
In the early years, Glen and Leonard enlisted the help of their brothers Ray Lee, Delano and the late Clay Wood.
Today, the team is now co-owned by Glen and his children, Eddie, Len and Kim Wood Hall, and Glen’s grandchildren Jon, Jordan and Keven.
Glen, Leonard and Glen’s wife Bernece often can be found at the Wood Brothers Museum in Stuart.
Glen Wood said he was surprised to be chosen for the award.
“It’s a great honor to be selected by the students,” Wood said. “I can’t believe the students are the ones who did all this.”
Wood said that while he and his brother have been honored by numerous other organizations, this one is special.
“It has a different meaning that the other awards we have gotten,” he said. “This is from the people of our county, and we’re honored that they did it.”
Leonard Wood said he too is proud to be recognized by his neighbors in Patrick County.
“It’s quite an honor,” he said. “To get it from the hometown people is pretty special.”
Leonard Wood also said he’s honored that his great-nephew Jon Wood will be doing the introductions at Tuesday’s ceremony.
“I’m highly honored that he will be doing the speech,” Wood said. “Jon is on top of his game. He’s quite a talented young man.” Jon’s high school Spanish teacher gets the credit for their nomination. “Mrs., or Sra. Knight I should say, asked me a while back what my thoughts were on her nominating them. I told her to have at it, not really thinking anything else of it, because I just didn’t think it would pan out for whatever reason. Clearly it did, so she deserves some credit for thinking of them as deserving recepients.”
They will be receiving their award at 10:00am Tuesday at the Patrick County High School.