Rich In Hertiage, The Woods Press On

Wood Brothers Racing will continue its long NASCAR odyssey in 2011 when it begins its 58th year of competition.

Over so many years it remains what it has always been – a family operation. Oh, it’s changed over the years but it remains true to itself. There have been no partners, no private investors or investment firms.

As it has for the past few seasons, in an effort to get the most out of performance and sponsorship, it will race on a limited schedule out of its shops in Harrisburg, N.C., with veteran driver and 1988 champion Bill Elliott wheeling its Fords.

The Wood Brothers team is one of the last vestiges of the way NASCAR used to be. In the distant past, most teams were family-owned. Racing was the only business. Income was almost entirely acquired through competition and not, say, selling cars.

When Glen and Leonard Wood began competing in 1953 with two races in which Glen drove, it’s unlikely they had any idea their fledgling team would remain intact for nearly six decades.

Through the years it has gained more than its share of glory.
In the 1960s and ‘70s, the Woods had one of the most successful stock car racing teams in history.
With drivers such as Marvin Panch, Cale Yarborough, Donnie Allison, A.J. Foyt and David Pearson, the Woods became synonymous with victory and innovation.

The team never bothered to compete for a championship. Instead it ran only the superspeedways – which paid the biggest purses – with a few exceptions.

It was acknowledged as the best on the big tracks. For example, Pearson won 11 of 18 races in 1973, seven of 19 in 1974 and 10 of 22 in 1976.
Even with the onslaught of multicar organizations that eventually became the new NASCAR powerhouses, the Woods chose to field a single car out of their shops in the hamlet of Stuart, Va.

The Woods ran the full schedule for the first time in 1985. From that year through 2007, the last season in which they competed in all the races, they earned only five victories and didn’t get a whiff at the championship.

The Woods, now under the guidance of Glen’s sons Eddie and Len, made changes – perhaps not so much to excel rather to survive.
The team relocated to Harrisburg and has a technical relationship with the Roush Yates engine enterprise. As said, it will continue to compete on a limited schedule comprised mainly of superspeedways.

Eddie Wood has explained that competing on a limited schedule has it advantages. The team has the ability to make the most of the revenue it has. It has more time to test and prepare for races, which gives it a better opportunity to put the best possible product on the track.

It’s been said that the team remains only a shadow of what it had once been.
That may be, for now, but here’s another way to look at Wood Brothers Racing.
It remains a family-owned, one-car entity. It has never been part of a merger that put others in positions of authority, a sale to another party, an auction or bankruptcy.

It is a pillar of NASCAR’s past; of what it meant to be successful in an era where it was simply team against team and not multicar corporation against multicar corporation.

Today there’s not another organization in NASCAR that can match all of that.
The Woods stand alone.

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  1. Clayton says:

    So does this mean Bill Elliott is driving for the Wood Brothers next year and not Trevor Bayne?

  2. J Lane says:

    I was kind of hoping Bill would find a better ride and one where he won’t get crapped on by putting a kid in to drive at one of his favorite tracks. He should’ve told the Wood Bros to shove it.

    • Mike says:

      I love Bill and respect him for all he has done for Ford over the years (except when he crapped on Ford fans and drove the Dodge). But he wasn’t crapped on and Bayne did one heckuva job in the car that weekend. If it weren’t for the snail pit crew, he would have had a top ten finish. Bill has had several of the same experiences over the last year or two.

  3. J Lane says:

    I’m a believer in appreciating the people that help me and not kicking them in the teeth. That’s how I feel like Bill Elliott has been done by the Woods. Bill has been very gracious to these folks and not tore up their junk cars they’ve provided him to drive. Crying is over, sorry.

  4. Rocky Lore says:

    Bill is still driving on a limited schedule, but may add more races for Bayne.

  5. J Lane says:

    Hey Steve, great web page! Is there anyway you can dig into the status of what Bill Elliott is going to do for next season? Len Wood said on sirius that Trevor Bayne is running 16 races and if sponsorship is found maybe the full season. I hate wasting money to go to Daytona if Bill Elliott is not racing and was wanting to start planning on the trip soon if he is going to be there.

  6. Mr. Tony Geinzer says:

    Hey, Bill Elliott should have hung his helmet up years ago and I would have pumped up Bayne or any young buck stuck in Supercars a shot, man.

    • Jeff says:

      Hey Tony Geinzer you dont know what your talking about and you should do yourself a favor and hang up your commenting.

    • JTKrezman says:

      Tony, I’m not really sure Bill Elliott will drive for The Woods or not.
      I don’t believe that you put a guy with no experience in a car that may or may not have money to back it. Thats why they have the Nationwide series.
      Elliott was asked to help and could have kept his ride in the 9 car because he is still able to compete with the kids at age 55, and beyond. The fact that he wants to help out some old friends should be applauded .The Woods are on ropes, and have to do what they feel necessary to get a paycheck too.
      There are a few guys that stayed at the dance too long. Bill Elliott is not in that catagory.
      There are also a bunch of younger guys that are driving cars for very high profile teams that get paid big bucks and haven’t won a race or maybe a few races and should step down, and give another “Young buck stuck in supercars a shot”
      Sorry pal. The numbers don’t lie. Elliott is Mageyver of Nascar. He gets it done …

      • Ol' Slick says:

        AWESOME BILL ELLIOTT is the best to have ever set behind the wheel of a car. All the darn critics shut their mouths in 2001-2003

        The last full time season Ellliott ran in top equipment….He ran from 43rd starting spot to finish 1st at the ROCK. Out running Jimmy Johnson to the finsih. Nearly had the doube the following weekend at Homestead before blowing a tire on the last lap.

        #9 EMS team were title contenders in 2004 if he had stayed.

        Bill retired from full time racing in 2004. He has only run a limted schedule of races he chooses. He was asked by the Woods to help get their program back on track.

        BILL Elliotts team in 90’s had to deal with tremendous losses.

        – Lost his mother
        – Lost his father
        – Lost Casey Elliott ( Ernie’s Son)
        – Mike Rich was killed in 90

        Dont ever say Bill should have quit years ago unless you know the whole freaking story. If you need more explaining. Hit me up.

    • Barry D says:

      Mr. Tony, I believe you are wrong, sir. As noted above Bill did outrace Mark Martin for many laps with a damaged-not-top-of-the-line-car. And you know Marky-Mark was driving Hendrick equipment. Only 1 small example. I wish some how Bill could get in a top notch car. Hard to compare apples to oranges. Hendrick has about 50 engineers compared with 2 or 3 for the Woods. Money is speed. Woods don’t have any (compared to any full time team). And if you will look at qualifying and race speeds (available on you will see Bill is usually about a half second off on qualifying and under race conditions. Half a second. Blink your eyes. Less than the time it took you to do that. Money. Money. And Money.

  7. tony says:

    mr geinzer are you out of your mind you give bill a good car he will run with the best of them look at homestead the same car the punk kid had but the front end tore up by some other punk kid who cant drive ran to 15th and raced mark martin to the checkered give the man a car not junk.

  8. Rick W. - fan since'82 says:

    I believe Bill in anyone’s car, from JJ to JR to Mark Martin, and all the rest, same car, Bill will put better lap times, especially on the long run. He has also proven he can help any team, good or low buck, to meet their goals. He has always given back to the sport, helped teams and young drivers to get and stay in sport. Is there a better man in Nascar?…I think not.
    He left the dodge # 9 a year too soon, I believe the final part of his final year full time, only 1 other driver put up more points, never has got the credit he deserves.

  9. Shannon Sanford says:

    Bill Elliott is one of the greatest drivers to ever drive a stock car. He gives each race 110% of driver effort. Give Bill a good car and he’ll bring home the checkered flag. He’s not called “Awesome Bill From Dawsonville” for nothing. Nascar needs to wake up and show great praise for all the Elliott’s have accomplished. I would have never got interested in Nascar if not for Bill Elliott. 100% class act and he never forgot where he came from. 16 time most popular driver and would have won more if he hadn’t removed his name from the ballots. I hope he races til’ the good Lord calls him home! And watch out his son Chase is following right alone in his daddy’s footsteps.

    • David Stevens says:

      Bill Elliott can still drive with anyone on the NASCAR circuit, better that most; the Wood Brothers and Ford are dishonest and the word loyalty should not be in their vocabulary, they used Bill to make races and to drive car that were in no way competitive. Bill was given no chance to ever be competitive in a WBR car but stuck it out with this disloyal bunch, only to be crapped on by WBR, Ford and Roush.

  10. Herb Shatz says:

    Lots of interesting comments, but I do disagree with those that feel that Bill Elliott should, or could find a better ride than he has with the Wood Brothers. The door is just about slammed shut for over age 50 drivers, when it comes to serious full time rides and sponsorship in the Sprint Cup division. Case in point is Mark Martin. A guy who has proven that at 50 plus, he can still go toe to toe with the young guns, and win. In spite of that distinction, let’s face it, even he is being eased out in favor of the likes of a younger, more popular Kasey Kane. A daunting signal for Bill Elliott, who has not had the opportunity to prove that he can still run up front, for several years now.

    Like it or not, the NASCAR sponsorship dollars flow to the most marketable, bankable faces, and there is a constant search for the next phenom to invest in. Bill Elliott, as great a racer, as great a champion as he was has limited star power to the contemporary NASCAR fan demographic. The peak of his career is long in the past.

    I like Bill Elliott. I had a chance to meet and chat with him, one on one in 1985. He could not have been nicer. The vision of that beautiful #9 COORS Thunderbid, coupled with the sound of those screaming Ernie Elliott motors are iconic memories for me, but that was then, and this is now. Having a ride, and a sponsor like MOTORCRAFT, is a pretty good place for Awesome Bill to be for 2011.

  11. jim soucy says:

    I read all the comments about Bill Elliott and hopefull he has a ride in 2011. If with the 21 team or the 09 team ,he is in a class by himself in Nascar.

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