Wood Brothers Add to Storied Career

Wood Brothers Add to Storied Career

Bayne joins legends Tiny Lund (1963), Cale Yarborough (1968), A.J. Foyt (1972) and David Pearson (1976) as drivers who have given the Wood Brothers a Daytona 500 trophy. (Photo: ISC Archives/Getty Images)

Trevor Bayne's win in the Daytona 500 turned yet another page in the legendary career for the Wood Brothers in NASCAR racing.

NASCAR's oldest team now has 98 Sprint Cup Series wins - all coming with the Ford Motor Company (64 with Mercury brand) - with Bayne becoming the 16th driver to take the team to Victory Lane.

The No. 21 was inducted into Daytona Int'l Speedway on Monday morning."Ford Motor Company stood behind us for 60 years now, 61 to be exact," said co-owner Len Wood. "It's just unbelievable that we could keep the team, our dad and Leonard have won in seven decades now. So proud of that. Like I said, we've been Ford all of our entire racing. To be a part of NASCAR, I mean, like I say, this is the greatest feeling that you can have.

"What's your biggest win? Well, this is the top of the stack right now."

With their long loyalty to Ford, it was only appropriate that the Wood Brothers would end up giving the Blue Oval its 600th Sprint Cup win.

The Wood Brother gave Ford their 600th win."The big thing was we were the guys that won the 600th win," said co-owner Eddie Wood. "I think Richard Petty won the 100th win. I was talking to him about that a little while ago. They were looking for the 600th win. For us to be the guys that gave it to them with, you know, Trevor at the wheel is just a storybook ending for it. I'm just so proud to be a part of their world. They mean the world to us."

Since founder Glen Wood competed in the inaugural Daytona 500 on Feb. 22, 1959, the Wood Brothers have visited the famed Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway 15 times.

Bayne's victory was the fifth for the team in the Daytona 500 and first in the prestigious event since 1976 when David Pearson piloted the famous No. 21 to the checkered flag.

David Pearson's No. 21 Mercury. (Photo: ISC Archives)Ironically, Bayne's triumph came in a retro paint scheme - similar to what Pearson raced back in the day - as the team is honoring Pearson's upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

"David Pearson, he's the man," Bayne said. "It's so cool to be following in his footsteps in this car. Actually one of his friends that was with him, been hanging around and racing with him for a long time, knew my grandfather when he used to race. He raced around South Carolina just kind of locally. So that was really cool to hear that those guys raced with my grandfather. That was really neat."

Prior to winning Sunday's race, Bayne had the chance to get some advice that morning from Pearson, who won 43 races throughout his career with the Wood Brothers driving a Mercury. FEBRUARY 15, 1976: David Pearson driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Mercury celebrates in victory lane after winning the 1976 Winston Cup Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway. Pearson crashed with Richard Petty, but was able to drive across the line on the engine's starter motor. (Photo: ISC Archives)

"The first thing he said is, be careful," Bayne said. "That was the mindset that I had to have at the beginning. I didn't forget that or take it lightly. We had to survive that whole race. All the crashing going on, we had to be there at the end to have a chance at that.

"The next thing he said, I hope you can do what we did in the 21. We did that, too. Hopefully he can give us more advice and we can keep following it up."

Shortly after the start of the 53rd running of the Daytona 500, Pearson left the track to drive home to South Carolina. Pearson had the radio tuned to MRN where he heard Joe Moore call Bayne's run to the checkered flag to give the Wood Brothers their first win since 2001.

"I’m proud of them," Pearson said. "I figured they had a chance after seeing that boy race in the 150s (Gatorade Duel). I told him to stay relaxed. I knew he would because he was relaxed in the qualifier. I’m proud of him. I don’t understand what has taken them so long to return to Victory Lane. The car has always been capable.”

FEBRUARY 24, 1963: Tiny Lund driver of the No. 21 Ford takes the checkered flag during the Daytona 500 on February 24, 1963 at the Daytona International Speedway. (Photo: ISC Archives) Along with Pearson, Bayne joins legends Tiny Lund (1963), Cale Yarborough (1968) and A.J. Foyt (1972) as drivers who have given the Wood Brothers a Daytona 500 trophy.

"It's an incredible list. All the 500 winners, to be added to that list, period, is crazy, especially at our first attempt," Bayne said. "That's just insane. It sets the bar for this team. We don't expect to win them all, but we know we can now, that's for sure."

The Wood Brothers will add Martinsville Speedway to Bayne's now 18-race schedule thanks to the $1,462,563 earnings from winning the Daytona 500.

"We were talking about running the first five," said Len Wood. "I think Martinsville, here we come. That will be the sixth race. On to Texas from there.
           
"Hopefully somebody watching us will start a little interest up and maybe they'll want to join us."

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