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The 600 Is Milestone For Iconic Wood Brothers

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 26 2013

The Wood Brothers back in the day were Leonard (left), Glenn (in car), Ray Lee and Jimmy Puckett (kneeling). Photo courtesy of the Wood Brothers Racing team)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – Glen Wood first competed in a NASCAR race on May 17, 1953 and ever since the Stuart, Va., family has produced memorable, history-making moments in the sport. Another one of those will occur Sunday when Trevor Bayne gives the famed Wood Brothers their 1,400th NASCAR Cup start in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Coca-Cola 600.

“That’s an awful big number for a single-car team that has run multiple cars several times, but not a lot,” team co-owner Len Wood said. “I’m proud to still be here.”

Len’s older brother, Eddie, said the 1,400 Cup starts were “more than a number.”

“The two things I’m most proud about is the fact that we’ve raced Ford Motor Co. products throughout our entire career, and just being able to stay here that long has been the hard part,” Eddie said. “It’s hard to stay here year after year now, much less through the ups-and-downs of the last 63 years.”

The Wood Brothers have raced Ford products the entire time and Eddie Wood doesn’t hesitate to admit that without Ford Motor Co. the family-owned operation wouldn’t still be involved in the sport. Len Wood even commented that the family bleeds Ford blue.

“It’s kind of bred in us,” Len continued. “We’ve run Fords, Mercurys and a Lincoln or two. I don’t see any stopping unless something changes financially.”

Eddie and Len both began working at the race shop with their father and Uncle Leonard when they were teenagers.

“I’ve never really known anything else,” Eddie said. “I started working at the shop on race cars when I was just starting high school. I’d go there after school and work at night. I don’t really know what life is doing something else.”

Glen and Leonard Wood have already been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and so have several of the team’s drivers, including Cale Yarborough and David Pearson. Dale Jarrett will be inducted in January 2014.

“That’s the final tally as far as where you stand and how you measure up,” Len said. “I remember in 1998 when NASCAR was celebrating its 50th anniversary and they had a list of what they called the ’50 Greatest Drivers’ and 20 of those drivers had been in our car. So you look back at guys like David Pearson and Cale Yarborough and A.J. Foyt and Dan Gurney, Marvin Panch, Neil Bonnett – all of those guys were superstars.”

Len said when his father and uncle were inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame it “kind of authenticated what our family has done.”

“Daddy will come to Daytona and sometimes Charlotte,” Len continued. “He doesn’t travel that much, but Leonard is here pretty much every week, so it’s pretty amazing.”

– Deb Williams can  be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 26 2013
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