This Week in Ford Racing July 8, 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Jon Wood's first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series couldn't have come at a better time. Unsponsored since the May race at Charlotte, Wood and his Roush Racing team were faced with...
This Week in Ford Racing
July 8, 2003
NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Jon Wood's first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series couldn't have come at a better time. Unsponsored since the May race at Charlotte, Wood and his Roush Racing team were faced with the reality that racing operations could shut down by mid-summer without funding. Wood, a third-generation racer from the famed Wood Brothers Racing family, showcased his talents last week by piloting the Bob Graham for President Ford to Victory Lane in his 48th start in the series. Now as the series heads to Kentucky for this weekend's Built Ford Tough 225, Wood finds himself in the midst of the points race, 98 behind leader Travis Kvapil.
JON WOOD -50-Bob Graham for President Ford F-150
THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT CEASING OPERATIONS OF THIS TEAM IF A SPONSOR WASN'T FOUND. HOW CLOSE WAS THAT FROM HAPPENING?
"It was pretty close, but I don't think we're in the clear yet. Last week's win did a lot to prove our critics wrong, but we still need to get sponsorship for the remainder of the season. Bob Graham's campaign couldn't have come at better time, and they're on the truck again this week, but we still have 14 races left after this weekend where we need to have sponsorship. Hopefully the win goes a long way for Bob Graham and we can make this a long-term deal. Last week proved that this is a race-winning team and anyone who wants to sponsor a team wants someone that can win and we proved that, so hopefully we can get a deal for the remainder of the season. What we accomplished last week in Kansas was beneficial for both Roush Racing and me because it let the rest of the world see that I could drive. That helped me out and it helped Roush out because it proved to everyone that we were a championship team and we were capable of winning. It proved to everyone that something has changed over the course of the past year and it made it where we can compete with these guys week-in and week-out."
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF DRIVING FOR WOODS BROTHERS RACING DOWN THE ROAD?
"If the opportunity was right I may end up doing that. But for now, I don't think it is. I drive for Jack Roush and Jack was the one that made people aware of who I was and what I can do. For that, I owe a debt of gratitude to him. We've come a long way since I started driving in Memphis in 2001. The Wood Brothers name gives you credibility before you even get into a car, but there's also a little added pressure because you're expected to do good. I want to make sure that my next move is the right move, and I'm still learning in the truck series. My focus right now is on winning some more races and getting the Bob Graham for President Ford into Victory Lane this weekend. We not only want to win this week for our sponsor, but we want to keep the Built Ford Tough trophy in the hands of a Ford team."
TALK ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOURSELF AND YOUR TEAMMATE CARL EDWARDS.
"Carl is a fantastic guy. Kyle (Busch) was my teammate earlier, but I don't think that was such a benefit as having Carl because we're so much alike. We're close in age and we seem to like similar things. On and off the race track we're pretty inseparable. That's the best person to see on your bumper and the worst person to see on your bumper. The thing that motivates me the most is how competitive my teammate is. He's up front every week, and I think that accelerates both of us. You can push yourself so far and then you kind of get comfortable, but not when your teammate is in front of you; you just drive that much harder and harder. I owe a lot to him. We work very well together. I think the two of us have the same feel for a truck and it makes it to where we can go to a race track and kinda have opposite setups and one of us will hit and one of us will miss, and we combine and figure out what to do."
HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR DRIVING TACTICS THE PAST FEW WEEKS?
"A lot of people are speculating that I'm driving different or whatever the case may be. The fact of the matter is, we've got a better team. If you take a look at David Starr, for example, or Brian Vickers or Jimmie Johnson, any of those drivers that didn't run up to par until they got with a good team. That's more or less what I did. I've got the same owner as I had last year, but I don't have the same trucks. We regrouped and re-established everything - crew chief, crew, trucks, and engine program. The shop is even in a different place. I still get up the same every morning and comb my hair the same, but my trucks just aren't the same and that's the biggest difference."
YOU SHOWED A LOT OF PATIENCE IN THE TRUCK LAST WEEK, WORKING YOUR WAY UP THROUGH THE FIELD THREE SEPARATE TIMES. TALK ABOUT WORKING YOUR WAY UP THROUGH THE SLOWER TRAFFIC.
"There were a lot of opportunities that I had to crash. I think I was almost in the grass on the frontstretch no telling how many times. I knew I had the truck to do it, I just didn't know if I was capable of it. The truck that they gave me this weekend was far superior to any one we've had all year. We're just going to keep doing the things we've been doing every week. We've been successful so far, and I'm sure we will be in the future."
YOU AND CARL EDWARDS HAVE BEEN RACING EACH OTHER HARD THE PAST COUPLE OF RACES. IS THERE A FRIENDLY RIVALRY DEVELOPING?
"We share the same office in our shop in Mooresville, and any way you put our names on the door, someone is going to be in front. Whoever finishes in front of the other each week gets their name at the top. That's the big motivation behind all this."