Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fast Facts: Glen Wood

Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
Glen Wood, patriarch of Wood Brothers Racing, is one of five 2012 inductees – along with Cup Series champs Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough, championship-winning crew chief Dale Inman and nine-time NASCAR Modified champ Richie Evans – into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. As part of this historic racing team, Wood was both a winning driver and a smart owner, and with his brothers made one of the biggest innovations in motorsports in the mid-1960s. Here are a few fast facts about the man who began the team that went to victory lane in the 2011 Daytona 500 with Trevor Bayne.
  • Glen Wood was one of five brothers (Leonard, Delano, Clay and Ray Lee were the others) from Virginia who formed the team in 1950, with Glen and family friend Chris Williams serving as drivers. Throughout the 1950s, the team was winning races at Martinsville (VA) Speedway and Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina.
  • As the Wood Brothers became more successful, the team became a full-time business, with Glen and Leonard preparing and building cars full-time and Glen taking over driving duties along with a number of other drivers. Glen won four races in his 11-year part-time driving career, adding 34 top 10s to his statistics as well.
  • In 1965, he retired from driving to focus on being a full-time owner, and hired some of the top drivers in NASCAR over the next 45 years: Fireball Roberts, Parnelli Jones, Cale Yarborough, A.J. Foyt, David Pearson, Neil Bonnett and Bill Elliott among them. In more than 60 years of existence, the team has 98 victories as of the end of the 2011 season, and have one at least one race in each of the last six decades.
  • 1965 was a special year for the Wood Brothers for another reason: it was the year that the international racing community began to notice them. The team is credited with being the inventors of the modern-day pit stop, a more efficient method of servicing their race cars and getting back on track in a hurry. When other teams realized the team was winning races due to their quick stops, they began using the Wood Brothers’ techniques. That year, the team was hired to crew the Lotus-Ford of Jim Clark at the Indianapolis 500 – Clark won the race.
  • The Wood Brothers saw their greatest success with Pearson, who won 46 times in 143 races with the team over seven years (1972 to 1979).

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