It doesn’t take much to get the Wood Brothers excited about racing at Michigan International Speedway. The two-mile oval is home territory for the team’s long-time backer, Ford Motor Company, and the Woods are tied with fellow Ford owner Jack Roush for all-time Sprint Cup victories there with 11 apiece.
The Woods won the first-ever Cup race at Michigan in a thriller in which NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Cale Yarborough prevailed in a last-lap fender-banging duel with Lee Roy Yarbrough.
Eddie Wood, co-owner of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion driven by Trevor Bayne, said this weekend’s Quicken Loans 400 reminds him of that inaugural run back in 1969 because of the track’s all-new racing surface.
“I’m really looking forward to the test day and to the race,” he said. “I wasn’t there for the first race in ’69, but this one feels like that.”
Wood also is anxious to see how high the speeds will climb on the new surface. “Of course I’m not a driver, but I like the speed,” he said.
Donnie Wingo, crew chief of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion, also is ready to get to work at Michigan. For Sunday’s 400-miler, he’s chosen the same Ford Fusion that Bayne raced at Las Vegas and Texas Motor Speedway.
The car finished ninth at Vegas and was fast at Texas before a brush with the wall left the team with a disappointing finish.
“It’s all back like brand new,” Wingo said of the Michigan entry.
The veteran crew chief said the extra test day, because of the new pavement, is a big plus because it will allow the team to spend more practice time on a race set-up than they normally take.
On many weekends, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, which is not guaranteed a starting spot because of its part-time status, has to spend most of the practice sessions making sure the car is fast enough to qualify on speed.
Wingo said the extra test time on Thursday plus the regular practices on Friday will allow the team to devote some laps to a set-up for Sunday.
“We should get to try some things that we don’t get to try on a regular weekend.” he said.