Fontana: Eddie, Len Wood - Friday Ford interview

Rain and wet weather cancelled Friday's qualifying session, so the lineup for Sunday's Auto Club 500 was set by the rule book -- and that means that Wood Brothers Racing, with past champion Bill Elliott as its driver, will be in the starting field...

Rain and wet weather cancelled Friday's qualifying session, so the lineup for Sunday's Auto Club 500 was set by the rule book -- and that means that Wood Brothers Racing, with past champion Bill Elliott as its driver, will be in the starting field after not qualifying for the season-opening Daytona 500. Len and Eddie Wood talked about the importance of making Sunday's race.

LEN WOOD -- Co-owner, No. 21 Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion

"The good news is we're in the race."

AFTER NOT QUALIFYING LAST WEEK, COULD YOU EVEN ALLOW YOURSELF TO THINK ABOUT WHAT WOULD'VE HAPPENED HAD THE TEAM MISSED A SECOND STRAIGHT RACE TO START THE SEASON? "I came out of Daytona pretty down, but we found a couple of issues concerning qualifying and the 150-miler about why we didn't make it, so that made me feel better about coming here. I had more confidence about getting in. If we had missed two in a row, like Eddie [Wood] said, you can't quit and you can't panic, but you certainly would've been questioning yourself."

HOW WAS THE TEAM'S TEST AT CALIFORNIA EARLIER THIS YEAR? "As far as the test went, we've got 500 miles of testing on Sunday. The test went okay. We added an engineer from Ford since the test. Hopefully, that will improve out performance, and we'll try and get a good run here and then go on to Vegas and do well there. We went to Kentucky the Monday after qualifying at Daytona, basically testing for Vegas because we felt like we didn't get what we needed during the earlier test at Vegas. When we came here, we were quite a bit about better."

FOR A DAY THAT PROBABLY STARTED WITH SOME ANXIETY, HAS IT ENDED WELL? "Yes. Like I said, I felt like we would be okay here, but it's easier now that it's behind us."

***

EDDIE WOOD -- Co-owner, No. 21 Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion

AT DAYTONA, AFTER YOU MISSED THE RACE, YOU SAID IT WAS IMPORTANT NOT TO PANIC. HAD YOU MISSED THIS RACE, HOW CLOSE TO PANICKING DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD'VE BEEN? "Oh-for-two would've been about time to panic. You still can't panic, but it would've been close to panicking. I think we would've been fine with qualifying because we did a lot of work since we were out here testing, with Gene [Nead, crew chief] and Bill [Elliott] and everybody going to Kentucky that Monday that everybody was off at Daytona, and tested. I think it was one degree when they landed that day, but they toughed it out and got a lot of stuff done. By raining today, that made it a lot easier. For us it was good, for some it wasn't. That kind of helps. We're one race behind. For us to miss two in a row, we would've been in double trouble."

AFTER THIS WEEKEND, THERE WILL BE ONLY THREE MORE RACES UNTIL THE 2007 POINTS WON'T BE A FACTOR. SO, BY MAKING THIS RACE, YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO MAKE UP SOME POINTS AS OPPOSED TO LOSING EVEN MORE. "I'm just enjoying being in the race right now. I haven't gotten that far, yet, but you're exactly right. People who were unfortunate enough not to make it because of the rain, you've got a chance to put some distance on those guys. People who had trouble at Daytona and finished in the lower part of the field, if you can run well on Sunday then you can make up some ground on them."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott
Teams Wood Brothers Racing