Double Opportunity for Jon Wood in Talladega Harrisburg, N.C. (October 2, 2008)- JonWood will be making his second attempt in the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford Fusion at Talladega Superspeedway for the running of the Amp Energy 500...
Double Opportunity for Jon Wood in Talladega
Harrisburg, N.C. (October 2, 2008)- JonWood will be making his second attempt in the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford Fusion at Talladega Superspeedway for the running of the Amp Energy 500 on Sunday, October 5th.
Wood started in the 12th spot in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut earlier this season and finished 36th. He is looking forward to the challenge, once again, of being in a Sprint Cup Series race car while also doing double duty in the no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford F-150 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday. Jon has had a best finish of second place at the 2.66 mile tri-oval in the Nascar Nationwide Series in his first run on the superspeedway in 2005. Talladega is also a historical track for the team as this will be the 76th time Wood Brothers Racing will run at the track since 1970. They have recorded five victories, 17 top-five finishes and 28 top-10's.
Jon doesn't view racing in both series as double duty, but rather, "double opportunity" as he talked about his first run at Talladega, his first run in a Sprint Cup Series carat the superspeedwayas he lookstowardthis weekend.
You ran your first race in 2005 at Talladega Superspeedway in a Nationwide Series car. You started 31st and finished 2nd. Can you recall that day?
"That's the beauty of this race track, it is entirely possible to start in the back and work your way throughand with the draft to finish second as long as you stay out of trouble. It just happened that it worked out perfectly for me that day."
"I've always had this strategy of sorts, to take it easy and be far enough away from the lead pack to miss the wrecks but, then close enough within striking distance if the race should seem to go green for a long time.That way you don't lose the draft and go a lap down. It has been quite different than any other experience that I've ever had which was limited to trucks and in those cars it was twice as hard to stay in the lead pack and twice as hard to keep up."
How would you describe transitioning to the Sprint Cup Series level at this track?
"In the Sprint Cup race, it was twice as hard as the Nationwide Series race. I don't believe it was the competition level where that is mostly the case at other race tracks. NASCAR has inadvertently designed the cars/trucks where the people with the least amount of driving experience have the most ability to keep up [in the NCTS]. Then you have the middle of the road guys in the Nationwide Series and those cars are twice as difficult as the trucks to keep up but, twice as easy as the Sprint Cup cars. Then you get in the Sprint Cup car."
b^0x001cIn that first race, I think that I lost the draft by lap five. However, prior to the green flag in the Sprint Cup race, I had zero drafting in a Sprint Cup car. It was like the first hour of practice when we took the green flag. I didn't know what to expect and that's why I lost the draft."
Do you think going into this weekend that you'll have more of an advantage because you've had that experience?
Yes, and I'm optimistic with the improvements that have been demonstrated in the past several weeks with the team. A lot has to carry over. Even though it's a superspeedway race, some of it has to translate over. Hopefully, we will be fast enough to get in without having to have that feeling of defeat on lap five.
What are you looking forward to in the Amp Energy 500?
It is a race track that I've already raced on so, obviously that makes it a little easier. I've been very hands on with the truck but, with the Sprint Cup car, I stay away because there are plenty of brains that I'm confident with and I just do what I'm told there. I like [crew chief, David] Hyder and [chief engineer] Hoyt [Overbagh]a lot, I really think highly of them and everyone there. I think that's why you've seen so many improvements with the team.
How do you feel about the "impound" rule?
It makes it tougher on the "go or go home" guys for the simple fact that they're in qualifying trim from the time that practice starts until the time the race starts. It just makes it that much harder to be able to perform well during the race. That's a bit of a setback for our situation but, I have confidence in the guys and that we can overcome it.
This will be the 76th race at Talladega for Wood Brothers Racing, how do you feel about being a new generation driver for the team and that it's part of your family history?
"The most gratifying aspect for me is to see a race fan that has been following NASCAR since before the big boom in popularity and still has the excitement in seeing this race team have the longevity that it has."