USAR: Jon Wood Living Up To Expectations

Martinsville, VA---Jon Wood is living up to expectations on and off the race track. But then again, he doesn't have much choice about the off track expectations. The 18-year-old Wood is the son of Eddie Wood and the grandson of the...

Martinsville, VA---Jon Wood is living up to expectations on and off the race track. But then again, he doesn't have much choice about the off track expectations. The 18-year-old Wood is the son of Eddie Wood and the grandson of the Wood Brothers Racing Team founder Glen Wood. Wood brought his Hooters ProCup car to Martinsville Speedway on Thursday to run a few laps during Elliott Sadler 's test session of the Wood Brothers' CITGO Taurus in preparation for the Goody's Body Pain 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race on April 9. Wood drives the Taurus in the Hooters ProCup Series, but in order for him to go racing he made a deal with his dad several years ago. "If the education stops, the racing stops. That is the deal we made," Eddie Wood said. Jon is fulfilling his end of the bargain by finishing his requirements for a high school diploma one semester early and is currently enrolled in Patrick Henry Community College, taking night courses. "I told him if the racing thing doesn't work out he at least needs an education so he doesn't have to struggle with life in general," Wood said. "If you have an education you can get a good job. It may take a while because he is going to be busy racing, but we have plenty of time." Jon also is having success on the track. He began racing at the age of 12 and has been very successful in go-karts, the Allison Legacy Series, NASCAR Late Model Stocks and in his first race in the Hooters ProCup Series. He has won go-kart national titles on dirt and asphalt, was rookie of the year in the Allison Legacy Series, collecting two wins, and he won a Late Model event at New River Valley Speedway last year. This year, he finished second in his only race so far in the Hooters ProCup Series. But Wood keeps his success in perspective. Finishing second in the first race after moving to a new circuit isn't easy, and he knows there will be good and bad days. "I'm really ecstatic about it, but at the same time cautious. I know we had a really good run, and I don't want everybody to get the expectation that we should do that every week. It is not going to happen," he said. Wood came to Martinsville with his father's Winston Cup team to "shake the car down" and to get an idea of what radial tires feel like on a race car. In every division Wood has raced they still use bias ply tires. "We put on a set of radials to compare them to the bias ply tires that we run in Hooters ProCup," he said. "That was a learning experience. The Goodyear radials picked us up a ton. Whew, they were fast." So far in Wood's racing career he has shown a flare for being a patient charger like a Wood Brothers' driving great, of the past, David Pearson. Wood has taken driving classes from Pearson and talked with him about driving. He has shown patience and experience beyond his years, according to Dad. "He drives like an older driver. He thinks on the race track," Wood said. But, he also charges to the front when he believes he can. An example was his first Hooters ProCup race in Lakeland, Fl. Wood flew to Lakeland right before happy hour of the Winston Cup race at Rockingham several weeks ago to see his son race. "They handed me a radio and told me to go spot. I enjoyed spotting for him, but I wore him out. I ran my battery down. With about 10 laps to go I couldn 't talk because I had no power," Wood said, adding his son drove more aggressively than he wanted. "We made one pit stop and got new tires and he was catching people and passing them, catching and passing," Wood said of his son. "I said 'man ease up'. He said 'nope, I'm going to use these tires up while I've got them.' Which was right, that's what he should do. To me it looked like he was a little too aggressive. But at the end of the day, he was right." For the past several years, Wood has moved on to new competition each year. "Every year when we make the jump to the next level, we are kind of worried about it, but it all seems to work out for him," said his father. It is a two-year deal in Hooters ProCup, but Wood said they would like to run a few NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races next year. "We are trying to take it one step at the time and be successful with it," he said. The Wood Brothers' CITGO Taurus will return to Martinsville Speedway for the Goody's Body Pain 500/NAPA 250 weekend. The racing action gets underway with Craftsman Truck Series time trials at 1:40 p.m. on Friday, April 7 followed by Bud Pole qualifying for the Winston Cup Series at 3 p.m. The NAPA 250 Craftsman Truck race starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 and tickets are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. The Goody's Body Pain 500 begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 9 and great seats are still available for the race in the Clay Earles, Bill France and Old Dominion Towers. For tickets call toll-free at 1-877-RACE-TIX. Tickets for Martinsville Speedway's family section for parents with children ages 6-12 go on sale race morning at 7:30. Adult tickets in the family section are $40 and children ages 6-12 get in for $5. For more information on the Goody's Body Pain 500 go to Steve Sheppard Senior Director of Corporate Communications Martinsville Speedway

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Jon Wood , Elliott Sadler , Patrick Henry
Teams Wood Brothers Racing