This Week in Ford Racing: August 11, 2009 This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads back to Michigan International Speedway. With over 75 appearances at MIS under their belt, Wood Brothers Racing has more history at the Speedway than any...
This Week in Ford Racing:
August 11, 2009
This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads back to Michigan International Speedway. With over 75 appearances at MIS under their belt, Wood Brothers Racing has more history at the Speedway than any other team in NASCAR history. Eddie Wood talks about racing at Michigan and the history of the No. 21 car.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT WHEN YOU COME TO MICHIGAN? "I think every week that we show up to the race track, we've been fast off the truck, and they seemed to be getting better and better. The car that we're bringing back is the car we ran earlier there in the summer. I think it's going to be really competitive. The biggest problem we've had in the last two races, we can't get off pit road. We've been having problems on pit road and with the pits, and we're working on that everyday. Its something that's really aggravating me because we finally got the car where it's competitive, and Bill's doing a great job, and the thing we're supposed to be the best with we're struggling with. We're working on that, and if we can get in and out of the pits and stay out of trouble, I think we can run top 10 with it."
THE WOOD BROTHERS TEAM AND THE FAMILY TRADITION IS SO WELL DOCUMENTED IN NASCAR LORE, WHAT DOES ALL OF THAT MEAN TO YOU AND THE FAMILY? "Well, it was a family run deal back then, and my Dad and uncles ran it, and now my brother and my sister do it. The basic way we do things is exactly like my Dad did it back in the day, and it works. We've done a little bit of everything around the race car except, the only thing we haven't done is drove them."
YOU'VE HAD SO MANY GREAT DRIVERS IN THE 21 CAR. SOME PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE BUT YOU ORIGINALLY STARTED WITH THE NUMBER 50 ON THE CAR? "Yeah, the first race that our Dad ever ran, I think was a 39 or 40 Ford with the number 50 on it in the year 1950, which is why they did that. The first race they ran, or they went to, they caught the thing on fire and burnt it to the ground. They were almost done before they got started, but they rebounded, and three or four weeks later they won a race with it. From the 50 they went to the number 22 and then 21, so we've had a few numbers in our day."
YOU'RE ON A RESTRICTED SCHEDULE TO GET THE TEAM BACK ON TRACK, AND BILL ELLIOTT HAS SAID IN MANY INTERVIEWS HE FEELS YOU ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. HOW DO YOU FEEL THE TEAM IS DOING? "It's really helped us. We first decided to cut back, which that was due largely to sponsorship, and you start looking for money, you look for money all year long. As August, September, October got closer, we thought, man, we're not going to get enough to run the whole deal, so what are we going to do quit? We went and had a conversation with Edsel Ford and Jim Farley at Ford Racing and thought, why don't we just run, we've got some Motorcraft money, some Ford money, lets just run a few races with that money and do it properly with that money. The amount of work and preparation that goes in every week, it's the same as racing every week, we just don't load the car and go somewhere. We spend a lot of time with the wind tunnel, the shaker rigs and pull-down rigs that Ford Racing provides, and all of that stuff being said, it just works better. The schedule fits what we are good at, what Bill's good at, and so far it's really working."
YOU CAN SEE THE PROGRESS YOU'RE MAKING. IS RUNNING A FULL SCHEDULE SOMEWHERE DOWN THE ROAD OR CONSIDERING THE ECONOMY DOES IT COME DOWN TO SPONSORSHIP? "It's economy driven, and it's hitting every business, every person in the country. Racing is suffering from it as well, at the tracks, with teams. For the time being, that's where we're going in with it. If tomorrow morning we run into a little bit of money, then we'll run some more races this year than we planned. We're not going to get into that situation where you do that start and park stuff like some of those guys are doing, those so called business men that are doing that, that's not racing, that's not us and that's really not what NASCAR was built on. We're just going to do what we can afford to do, and do it properly."
WAS THERE EVER A POINT WHERE WOOD BROTHERS RACING WAS CONSIDERING CLOSING THE DOOR? "No, not really. We weren't going to voluntarily stop. If we got in that position where we couldn't get sponsorship, than yeah, you got to stop. Fortunately with Ford Motor Company, and the Motorcraft brand, it worked out for us. We've raced Fords since the beginning, 1950, and next year we'll be going into our 10th year with Motorcraft, and that's something to be proud of."
-credit: ford racing