How many of you guys follow NASCAR? Not a whole lot I would imagine. It might not be the hippest thing to say, but I try to tune in whenever I can.
If you happened to watch the 2011 Daytona 500 last Sunday, then you know that it was one hell of a race.
In just his second ever Sprint Cup race, rookie Trevor Bayne drove the #21 Wood Brothers Motorcraft Ford to victory in the sport's biggest race – just a day after his 20th birthday. Not only was it an incredible out of nowhere achievement for young Blayne, it also marked the historic return of the Wood Brothers to Victory Lane at Daytona.
The Wood Brothers Racing Team is legendary in stock car racing. The boys from Virgina have been involved in the sport since its earliest days, and they have always been known for campaigning Ford products. In fact, since 1950 they have raced nothing but Fords -driven by some of NASCAR's most famous names.
In light of their win at Daytona last weekend, we thought it'd be fun to have a look through the vast Ford Racing photo archive and post some shots chronicling the history of the Wood Brothers in NASCAR.
After all, how can you not like vintage stock car racing shots? No matter what your thoughts on modern NASCAR are, the old stuff is positively awesome. We are talking about the days when the name "stock car" still had some meaning to it.
It's incredible to watch the history of this sport unfold. I'm not sure if there's anything else like it in auto racing. That #21 convertible in the bottom left corner is the Wood Brothers car. From then on. the number 21 would belong to them.
In 1963, Wood Brothers driver Marvin Panch was injured in an accident testing a Ford-powered Maserati sports car in Daytona. With Panch unable to drive the in the Daytona 500, his friend "Tiny" Lund was asked to take over driving duties in the #21.
Lund would end up winning the race, coasting to the checkered flag after his car had run out of gas.
There's "Tiny" (see where the nickname comes from?) with Glen and Leonard Wood in Victory Lane at Daytona.
In another contribution to NASCAR and to auto racing general, the Wood Brothers are known for pioneering the "pit stop". The high speed, coordinated act of changing tires and refueling the car that is the world standard. Before this, drivers would get out of the car and "take a breather" while service was done.
There's Panch driving the #21 in 1965 at Riverside.
In select races a second Wood Brothers car would be entered, wearing the number 121. Here we see the 121 being driven by sports car legend Dan Gurney, also at Riverside in '65.
In the late '60s and early '70s the Wood Brothers would be known for their white, red, and gold Purolator sponsored Mercury race cars. Here's AJ Foyt driving the #21 at the 1971 Ontario 500.
David Pearson is another NASCAR legend that spent time behind the wheel of the #21. Here he is at Riverside in 1977.
Another famous driver whose name could be found on the side of the Wood Brothers car – Neil Bonnett, seen here in the early '80s. The Wood family would continue to be involved in NASCAR throughout the '80s, '90s, and 00's.
One of the most historic moments in the history of the team was David Pearson's win at the 1976 Daytona 500. David was battling Richard Petty around the final corner when both cars spun short of the finish line, Petty's car was stuck in the grass while Pearson's battered Mercury limped across the line and into victory lane. Up until Sunday, that was the last time the Wood Brothers had won at Daytona.
But now with Trevor Bayne's Daytona 500 victory last weekend, the Wood Brothers and their famous #21 are back on top.
It seems that the story of NASCAR's oldest race team is far from over.