MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 22, 2001) -- Jon Wood hopes to make his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at Martinsville Speedway in a couple of weeks. Because of that, he spent most of Thursday wheeling a Winston West Series around the...
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 22, 2001) -- Jon Wood hopes to make his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at Martinsville Speedway in a couple of weeks. Because of that, he spent most of Thursday wheeling a Winston West Series around the tight .526-mile oval. Sound confusing? Probably, but for the 19-year-old Wood it was a stroke of genius that could pay huge dividends. Teams are not allowed to test their trucks at tracks where Craftsman Truck Series races are held. So instead of bringing the Billy Ballew-owned Ford truck that Wood will drive in the Advance Auto Parts 250, he showed up with the Winston West car he will run in selected events on the West coast this season. The Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is set for April 7, the day before the Virginia 500 Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. It was like a day-long learning session Thursday for Wood, in his third season of driving stock cars fulltime. His father Eddie Wood, co-owner of the famous Wood Brothers Racing Team, was helping turn wrenches in the pits. Elliott Sadler, who drives the Wood Brothers Motorcraft Ford on the Winston Cup circuit, kept a watchful eye on Wood. "They really aren't giving me help," Wood said of his father and Sadler. "They're taking the approach of me finding out stuff on my own, learning for myself, making my own mistakes and going on from there." Wood has raced at Martinsville in the Allison Legacy Series and the Late Model Stock Car series, but all of that experience was thrown out the window Thursday as he tested in a car very similar to a Winston Cup car. "The Late Model car has got about 360 horsepower and this one has got double that," said Wood, who logged about 100 laps on the day. "The tires are different, too. You get a better feel for the track to an extent (in the Winston West car) but once those tires start spinning, it's all you can do to hold on. The car is a lot heavier. Braking comes into play sooner. In a Late Model you can drive down into the corner. You can't in these." Wood said he spent the early part of Thursday's session "getting familiar with the track." Once that was accomplished, the team worked on other problems. "Now we're just trying to tighten the car up enough in both corners to get down the straightaway as fast as we need to," Wood said during a mid-afternoon break. "That's the main problem, getting enough forward bite off the turns to get down the straight-aways." And while Thursday was probably Wood's one and only day of Winston West racing at Martinsville, he believes it will pay off. "I think these are a lot like the trucks. A truck and a Cup car are a lot alike in the motor, the tires are the same and the weight is about the same, so I don't see where there should be a big difference between this car and a truck," said Wood.
The Virginia 500/Advance Auto Parts 250 weekend kicks off with Bud Pole qualifying for the Craftsman Truck Series at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6 followed by time trials for the Winston Cup Series at 3 p.m. Tickets for qualifying are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 250 Craftsman Truck race are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved. There still are great seats available for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race for $40-$65 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or go online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.