Glen Wood: David Pearson and other memories. GLEN WOOD, founder of the legendary Wood Brothers Racing team will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 18, 2002. Prior to this ...
Glen Wood: David Pearson and other memories.
GLEN WOOD, founder of the legendary Wood Brothers Racing team will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 18, 2002. Prior to this prestigious event, Motorcraft Racing Media Relations will release the transcripts of conversations with Glen and other members of his family describing the history of his team.
The third of these releases deals with driver David Pearson and Glen's favorite racing memories. Pearson, who was honored as "Driver of the Century" by Sports Illustrated in 1999, drove for Wood Brothers Racing for eight seasons (1972-1979) and won 43 races.
GLEN WOOD bio information Birthdate: July 18, 1925 Place of birth: Buffalo Ridge, Virginia Residence: Stuart, Virginia Wife: Bernece Children: Eddie, 4/8/52 Len, 4/17/56 Kim Wood Hall, 3/29/61 Occupation: Team Owner Years with team: 52 Years in racing: 52
WOULD YOU SAY DAVID PEARSON WAS THE BEST DRIVER THE WOOD BROTHERS EVER HAD? "You'd just have to say that. The record speaks for itself."
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT DAVID THAT MADE HIM SUCH A GOOD DRIVER? "He was good to start with, but he could drive his own race. If somebody was up front and outrunning him, he would settle back and run behind them for a little while. Sometimes he could run behind a car and keep up fairly well compared with the effort you have to put into it if he was ahead. He understood he wasn't getting away. He'd just let him run up there. He could see him. Then, of course, cautions would fall. He rarely ever got lapped running his own race. Later in the race when the chips were down, he could run with anybody."
WHAT HAPPENED THAT THE WOOD BROTHERS AND DAVID PEARSON WENT THEIR SEPARATE WAYS? "I don't know. We had a little problem down at Darlington. There had been a little friction maybe that shouldn't have been. There shouldn't have been, but there was. They had a little problem and left the wheels loose, and he left the pits before they got them tight, and I guess all of that put together was why. But it was a bad decision to split then. We shouldn't have ever done that but that's hindsight."
WHAT IS YOUR BEST RACE MEMORY? "It would be hard to say it wasn't when Richard [Petty] and David collided on the last lap at Daytona, and Richard spun almost down to the checkered flag and let his car die. David looped his around there and managed to keep it running. He hollered to Eddie [Wood] on the radio and asked 'Did he go across the line?' and Eddie told him he didn't. And, he said, well, he was coming, and he did with the front end all smashed up, and he went on and got the checkered flag. There are two or three that stand out, though.
"Tiny Lund won the race in '63 at Daytona. That's two special races at Daytona. Marvin Panch was driving our car and got hurt in a sports car prior to the 500. Then, you were down there for three weeks and there was all kinds of racing in between. He was in a Maserati or something and was burned real bad. Tiny was one of the ones that help turn the car back over and got him out of the car. We decided to put Tiny in the car, and he won the race.
"And, of course, that one at Michigan with Dale Jarrett and Davey Allison. We hadn't won a race in quite a while, but we'd been running fairly well up there at the last. Near the end of that race we got a good set of tires on it and got the car adjusted right and they had a caution with about 10 or 12 laps to go. Everybody shoots down pit road. Dale wanted to know if he was supposed to come in, and Eddie said 'Well, you're running better now than you have on any set of tires we've had all day,' and so they just sort of talked about it on the radio and they decided to just stay out. So he stayed out. Ned [Jarrett, Dale's father] was up there in the booth and he said he thought they might have made a mistake. The race restarted, and he took off pretty well and got on out there. In about two laps Ned said, 'Maybe they are alright, maybe they know something,' or whatever. And it kept on going and got down to two laps and Davey got right up to him. Maybe the lap before he might have been in front. I don't know if he was or not, but they were very close on the white flag lap. So they are going down the backstretch and we didn't know what was happening back there. We couldn't see it and we didn't have a TV in the pits. The crowd was on their feet and everything, and he wasn't saying anything. He had his hands full, I know. Ned kept saying his thing up there -- 'He's still got a chance, he's got a chance.' Davey was the one that had the new tires on but it made him push for a little while until he got going. When they come off turn four they were side by side and they touched a little bit, and Jarrett got him by maybe a foot. It was so close he didn't know for sure, but he thought he won. We didn't know, but he said he won it. Ned like to have had a fit then. It was tough on Ned to sit there to watch his son [try] to win his first Cup race."
IT WAS KIND OF IRONIC THAT YOU DIDN'T LIKE RACING ON THE BIGGER TRACKS, BUT THE WOOD BROTHERS HAVE THE WIN RECORD ON SUPER SPEEDWAYS. "One of the reasons we did that was because at one time we didn't run anything but the big tracks. The reason we did that was because we were sponsored by Purolator, from the early '70's for about 10 years, and they didn't pay us enough to run all the races, so we run just the big tracks. The only little one we run was Martinsville. And we won there. But that made us get a little rusty on them. And that goes for today, I guess. Any time you don't keep up, you'll be behind because it is so much different from what they run on the big tracks."
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TRACK? "I guess we won about as much as anybody at Daytona. You'd have to say that was one of our favorites. We won there with Cale [Yarborough], Buddy Baker, Neil Bonnett, [A.J.] Foyt, Pearson -- several different people. I guess Cale was the first one that won three in a row. We won two in '68 and come back in '69 and won again. And we may have won the most at Michigan and Atlanta of anybody."
IF YOU COULD DO THINGS OVER IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE? "I guess you would, but I don't know what."