It was 1973 the last time the Wood Brothers Racing Team went to Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway. David Pearson was behind the wheel of the Wood Brothers' Mercury and out dueled Cale Yarborough during the final laps for the victory. It was...
It was 1973 the last time the Wood Brothers Racing Team went to Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway.
David Pearson was behind the wheel of the Wood Brothers' Mercury and out dueled Cale Yarborough during the final laps for the victory. It was the fourth triumph in a five-victory streak that included wins at Rockingham, Atlanta, Darlington, Martinsville and Talladega. There were also races at Bristol and North Wilkesboro during that period but, at that time, the Wood Brothers' only competed at tracks of a mile or more. But, they also always came to Martinsville. Martinsville is only 30 miles away from their home in Stuart, Va. and they raced there to put on a show for hometown fans.
The Wood Brothers also picked up a win in 1968 with Cale Yarborough at the wheel. Team founder Glen Wood was a Martinsville winner as a driver with a 1960 Modified victory, and he and Curtis Turner together won a team sportsman race in 1952. Wood also won five poles in what was then the NASCAR Grand National Series including four in a row in 1959 and 1960.
On Thursday, the Wood Brothers' finished a two-day test session and they, along with driver Elliott Sadler, want and expect to put on a show for their fans in the Goody's Body Pain 500 on Sunday, April 9. "Of all the races we run and everywhere we go, we struggle the most right here," said Eddie Wood. "If it kills me, sometime between now and the time we quit, we are going to beat this place. We are going to keep coming back till we get it right. This place owes us."
The Wood Brothers and Sadler make a good match at Martinsville because he also wants a win for the hometown fans.
"We are trying to get our team just a little bit better because it is right here close to the Wood Brothers home," Sadler said. "I have a little history here myself so we want to try to get it better and better every time we come here." Sadler, who lives in Emporia, Va., raced at Martinsville in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Division before moving on to the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series and then last year with the Wood Brothers. He wants to give his fans something to cheer about too. "I want to give those guys something to cheer about when they come up here," said Sadler. "It's not fun to run around in the back and have the city of Emporia here." Sadler believes they have found just the car to do it. After going through the first full day of testing, the team hauled a new car to the track for Thursday and discovered it was better than the first car. "That car is definitely fast enough to come back here and sit on the pole. It's a good chance we will bring it back," said Sadler. The Wood Brothers worked on race setup for most of the two days and late Thursday afternoon they made a qualifying run and clocked a 20.05 seconds lap. The qualifying record was set a year ago by Tony Stewart at 19.875 seconds.
The car has never been raced but the team tested it last fall at Greenville-Pickens Speedway and it was the fastest of five cars they tested.
"That's a real good race car," said Elliott Sadler. "It's a car we were planning to take to places like Texas and California and we brought it here to test. It doesn't even have any brake ducts or anything that it needs for here, but it is really fast. We tested it once before and it was awesome. It 's one of my favorite cars, but we just haven't had a chance to run it." Sadler said the team has avoided using one of their newest cars in the first half of the season.
"We wanted to go back to tracks for the first time this year with cars we had run in the past to make sure we weren't off in left field and have the new car blues," he said. "I tell you though every time we bring this car out of the chute it's fast. We have two or three more coming that are just like it so when we get them built we are going to be in pretty good shape." The Goody's Body Pain 500/NAPA 250 weekend kicks off on Friday, April 7 with Bud Pole qualifying for the NAPA 250 and Goody's Body Pain 500. Tickets for Bud Pole day are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free with a paying adult. The NAPA 250 Craftsman Truck Series race starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Adult tickets are $30 and children ages 6-12 can attend for $5.
The Goody's Body Pain 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 9. There are still great seats available for the race by calling toll free at 1-877-RACE-TIX. For more information on Martinsville Speedway, go to www.martinsvillespeedway.com.