Jeremy Bullins is one of the good guys.
On Monday, he started a chapter as the crew chief of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford.
But before he returned to the Penske campus, Bullins penned a note to the Wood Brothers—NASCAR’s longest running team—offering his gratitude for taking in a young engineer nearly two decades ago:
“It’s funny how life works and the things that happen that lead you to where you wind up. Growing up in Stokes County, less than 30 minutes away from the Wood Brothers’ shop, it was common for me to see cars in town with 21 stickers on the window, or license plates and such. I always thought how cool it would be to work there and racing was all I ever wanted to do anyhow.
One night 18 years ago
“When I sat down with Eddie and Len Wood at the picnic table in the old “new” shop in Stuart, VA in 1999 I could only dream that one day I’d be the crew chief of the 21. Now there were a lot of stops along the way in between for me to arrive at that point, but it all started with me getting my foot in the door that night.
“So as 2017 draws to a close, it’s not the end of the season I’m thinking about, it’s the beginnings. When those guys offered me a job that night it was the beginning for me. It got me started on a path that led to my ultimate goal of being a crew chief and for that I’m forever grateful. It’s even more ironic that after Mr. Penske gave me the opportunity to be a crew chief at the XFINITY level, that my jump to the Cup series would again involve the Wood family. Again, a beginning for me. It was like I never left. It was the perfect opportunity for me to make the next step in my career in an environment that felt like I’d been there forever.
“To Glen, Bernece, Leonard, Eddie & Carol, Len & Nancy, Kim & Terry, Jon, Jordan and Keven and the rest of the (Wood) family, I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to be such a small part of the legacy of Wood Brothers Racing, not once but twice.
“There is no more humbling feeling than for Leonard Wood to tell you he’s proud of your team after a good run. Eric, Sherm, and Carl – thank you for all the work that goes unnoticed too easily. You made all our lives easier for three years without knowing it. Andretti, Roger and Hall – you guys epitomize a team that becomes family. Thanks for allowing us all in for a little while. Speaking of Hall – thanks Phil for calling Terry for me way back when. To Tim Hussey – the world would be a better place with more people like you in it.
“To every individual who played a role in the 21 car over the last three years, thank you for helping make our time together a success. Ryan and I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to begin our Cup careers in the shadows of such history. Thanks to everyone from Motorcraft, Quick Lane, Ford, and Ford Performance for the faith and support they’ve given to this team for so long and in the future. As we all head for new beginnings, I wish continued success to everyone at Wood Brothers Racing and will always be thankful for the beginnings you all provided for me.”
Certainly, Bullins has a lot to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving. He will continue his journey at Team Penske with Ryan Blaney, one of the sport’s brightest prospects. In his second full season in the Monster Energy Cup Series, Blaney won his first-career race and pole(s) on the tour. Although Blaney had hoped to deliver the Wood Brother’s 100th win, he was still able to advance the No. 21 Ford in the Playoffs for the first time and finished ninth under Bullins’ leadership.