Wood Brothers Racing topped owner's points in 1963, but didn't win the driving championship. This year, it is possible that the NASCAR Winston Cup team owner with the most points at the end of the season will not own the 2002 Winston ...
Wood Brothers Racing topped owner's points in 1963, but didn't win the driving championship.
This year, it is possible that the NASCAR Winston Cup team owner with the most points at the end of the season will not own the 2002 Winston Cup Champion's car. That has happened twice before, most recently in 1963 when the Wood Brothers won the owner's championship while Joe Weatherly won the driver's championship. Five drivers - Glen Wood, Marvin Panch, Tiny Lund, Fred Lorenzen and Dave MacDonald - combined for three victories and five poles in 24 starts for the Wood Brothers that year. The season began with a dramatic win in the Daytona 500 by Lund, who was filling in for Panch, who was injured in the Speed Week sports car race at Daytona. Glen Wood and his son Eddie remember that championship year and comment on this year's championship.
\GLEN WOOD - co-owner-#21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus
YOU WON THE OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP WITH MARVIN PANCH, TINY LUND, YOU - GLEN WOOD - FREDDY LORENZEN AND DAVE MACDONALD. IN 1963 AND JOE WEATHERLY WON THE DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP. SHOULD THINGS BE DIFFERENT NOW? "Well, I guess if it was that way then I don't guess it should now, should it? Weatherly drove a number of different cars himself. He didn't have a fulltime ride." (Joe Weatherly drove primarily for Bud Moore in 1963, but ran 18 races that season for other owners.)
WITH SO MANY DRIVERS SUFFERING INJURIES THIS YEAR DO YOU THINK A DRIVER SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HAVE A COUPLE OF RACES OFF IF THEY ARE INJURED AND IT NOT IMPACT THE POINTS? "The thinking on that would be that if such a thing, let's say if it happened just before a road race and he got hurt just a little bit, but it wasn't serious, but he could say that it was and he could sit out and let a better road racer get in the car for that particular race; now that would be things they (NASCAR) would be thinking about if they changed it to that. And don't think that some wouldn't do it. A driver certainly wouldn't get out of it to let somebody else get in it if he knew in his mind that he could do as well. For instance, though, if I was driving and it came down to I knew we could win the championship at Riverside (at the time the last race of the season) if we put Dan Gurney in it, I might suddenly hit the wall and bang my leg up a little bit or something. And it could be that you wouldn't have to be really hurt for somebody to get in the car. It (the rule) would have to be worded real carefully. And I know NASCAR has always felt if things were going smooth, then don't mess with it. But now there have been so many wrecks that it has come up and I can understand that. Naturally, a team would hate to lose a championship because the driver got hurt and they could have allowed somebody to substitute, and maybe that should be, but it'd have to be good wording put into it and do it before it happened, too."
WERE WINS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE PAST? "No, I don't guess it was. The championship thing would last forever, and there's not many of them - only one championship a year. And back in the old days there were so many races - 40 or 50 of them - some little and some big. A championship has always been a big thing. In the earlier days we didn't run for it. We didn't have enough money to do it. At least we thought we didn't."
WHEN YOU HAD DAVID PEARSON IN YOUR CAR DID YOU THINK ABOUT RUNNING FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "No, not really because back then Purolator was only paying us enough to run the big races. They didn't seem to care about the championship. I don't know why. Back then our sponsorship was only $50,000-$75,000. A couple of years we won 10 races with David and another year we won six with David and three or four with Foyt. But we figured with what we had we could better prepare our cars by not running a little race in between and stretching it. It was mostly me and Leonard doing it. Len and Eddie had started into it, but we didn't have very much help back then. And we seemed to be doing all right that way, so we just did it that way. I guess when Kyle (Petty) came on board, his sponsor had always run for championships so then we did it that way."
EDDIE WOOD, co-owner-#21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus
"What I remember about the year, the car-owner thing I do not remember. I do remember, as a kid, knocking stuff over in my dad's trophy room and that trophy being in there. It was one that didn't get broken. It was for the Grand National Championship, but it was in my uncle's name, Ray Lee Wood. And my dad would've been the driver at that time, and Leonard Wood would've been the crew chief, which I don't think they had crew-chief titles then, it would've been chief mechanic, so everybody had a deal. I don't know how that all happened. I didn't know they ran that many races to do that that year, but I guess they did. I remember the Daytona 500 that year when Marvin Panch was supposed to drive the car. Tiny Lund drove from the Daytona race to whenever the 600 was, which I'm sure would've been in May, it's always been that way. And later on that year, I remember my dad driving that car at Bowman Gray (in Winston-Salem, N.C.) on a Monday, and I think he may have won that race. It was the Monday after Easter. I remember the paint scheme had a red bottom and had these arrows coming back on the white hood that I always thought was pretty cool. I remember the trophy. I don't remember the championship happening. I don't remember anybody going to something, having a big hullabaloo over it at all. I don't remember that. I think the NASCAR banquet was actually in Daytona Beach during Speed Weeks the next year. I remember them going to the Plaza. I never went. And, somewhere in the middle of '63 is when the candy-apple red stuff started."
OF THE PEOPLE WORKING IN THIS GARAGE, OR ON YOUR OWN TEAM, HOW MANY KNOW THAT THE WOOD BROTHERS HAVE WON A CHAMPIONSHIP? "I bet nobody. We didn't know it. I remember the trophy, and Len and I had talked about it a couple of years ago when this TV thing came up about owner's programs and stuff when you got extra credit for being a champion. We knew that, but we didn't know if it had to be current, or since 1971 when Winston came on board, the modern era. We thought we were prehistoric there so it didn't count, but maybe it did."
BACK THEN, WAS THERE MORE OR LESS OF AN EMPHASIS ON WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP? "It had to be less because we never ran all the races. There were a lot of people that only ran the superspeedways or 20 races, or 15 - a lot of people did that. I remember as early as the '70s, one of those years with David Pearson, the early years, that I think if we would've entered one or two more races we could've won the championship, but it just wasn't a big deal. It really wasn't a big deal until Reynolds got involved. Then it was a big deal."