A Glance at Wood Brothers Racing History
Harrisburg, NC (August 20, 2008)- Bristol is one of the many tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit that holds significant historical value to Wood Brothers Racing. Of the 63 races that they have started on the half-mile oval, Wood Brothers Racing has earned 10 Top 5’s, 24 Top 10’s and four poles. From Marvin Panch’s winning pole positions in 1964 and 1965 to their first victory in 2001 with driver Elliott Sadler, they could always count on the track for a good run.
Leonard Wood, uncle to co-owners Eddie and Len Wood, was chief mechanic for the early years of the team’s success at Bristol. He recalled the day when driver Marvin Panch won the pole in 1965. “We were practicing and it was pretty warm, but got warmer as the day went on. Our car seemed to get better with the heat. Fred Lorenzen was in Holman’s [Holman-Moody] car and they were running a certain lap time and later on as it got hotter, we ran what they ran. So we thought we were going to be okay. Well, when qualifying came around, Marvin went out and beat Lorenzen and sat on the pole. Lorenzen was mad and thought there was something wrong with the clock, that our time couldn’t have been legitimately faster than theirs. They had the pace car go around the next morning and check the clock. He just knew it was wrong.” As he continued and laughed, “It was a lot of fun, being on the pole. At the start of the race, Lorenzen figured that he would take the lead on the first lap, which he didn’t. Something told Marvin to just open that baby up.” Panch would take the checkered flag in 4th.
While the Wood Brothers have had many great runs at Bristol, it wasn’t until Elliott Sadler got behind the wheel of the 21, did the team win at the high speed short track. Co-Owners Eddie and Len Wood remember the day fondly, Len said, “I believe there were about 50-60 laps to go and we found ourselves leading the race because there were a few cautions and other cars dropped off to pit. When we moved into the lead, we stayed there.” Eddie added, “Elliott [Sadler] was leading and John Andretti was behind us in the 43. There was no real threat to pass- there were about two car lengths in between them when he won. It was a pretty exciting win because it was like the old days with Pearson in the 21 and Petty in the 43.finishing first and second.”
This weekend Bill Elliott will be driving the no. 21 Quick Lane Tire and Auto Center Ford Fusion in the Sharpie 500 on Saturday, August 23rd. Leonard commented on this weekend, “Bill is a veteran driver, if the car is right, he will qualify well. We’ve run well at Bristol a number of times. It seemed like when we didn’t run good at other places, we always ran good there. Maybe it will work that way this weekend.”