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Bayne, Danica to the rear; Woods milestone

May 26, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com

Bayne, Danica to the rear; Woods milestone
Engine changes force Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick to start at back of Coca-Cola 600

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CONCORD, N.C. -- Wood Brothers Racing will reach a milestone today when driver Trevor Bayne takes the green flag in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"It’s hard to top the Daytona 500 in 2011 with Trevor Bayne, but looking at the NASCAR Hall of Fame ... I think 19 of the 25 people who have been inducted were drivers and seven of those have been in our car."

--Len Wood, Wood Brothers co-owner

It will mark the 1,400th start for the legendary team that has raced for nearly as long as NASCAR has been around.

“The two things I’m most proud about is the fact that we’ve raced Ford Motor Company products throughout our entire career and just being able to stay here that long,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said May 24.

“It’s hard to stay here year after year now, much less through the ups and downs of the last 63 years.”

While the team, which was founded by Eddie and Len Wood’s father, Glen, ran the full schedule of Cup races for 21 years from 1985-06, there were more years when the organization chose to run a limited schedule.

That didn’t stop the team from being successful, however. Wood Brothers Racing drivers have won 98 times at the Cup level, and some of the sport’s biggest stars have driven for the team. The team was winning races in 1960 and still collecting checkered flags as recently as 2011.

“It’s hard to top the Daytona 500 in 2011 with Trevor Bayne,” Len Wood said, “but looking at the NASCAR Hall of Fame ... I think 19 of the 25 people who have been inducted were drivers and seven of those have been in our car.  

“That’s the final tally as far as where you stand and how you measure up.”

When NASCAR named its 50 Greatest Drivers as part of a 50th anniversary celebration in 1998, 20 of those named had driven at one time or another for the Woods.

“So you look back at guys like David Pearson and Cale Yarborough and A.J. Foyt and Dan Gurney, Marvin Panch, Neil Bonnett -- all of those guys were superstars,” Len Wood said.

Glen Wood made the team’s first official start in the series at Martinsville Speedway on May 15, 1953. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012. Leonard Wood, Glen’s brother and crew chief for many years, was inducted into the hall earlier this year.

•Bayne and the team will have to bounce back from a Saturday setback if they hope to contend in the 600. A problem under the hood forced the team to change engines, meaning Bayne will have to drop to the rear prior to the start of the race. He had qualified 29th in the 43-car field.

•Another driver also dropping to the back for an engine change will be Danica Patrick. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver, qualified 24th.

Patrick, competing for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, will be making just her second Cup start at CMS. She finished 30th in last year’s race and is currently 28th in points.

Paul Menard’s recent contract extension with Richard Childress is for three years, according to Menard.

“And hopefully after three years, we’ll do another three,” the driver of the No. 27 Menard’s-sponsored entry said May 25 at CMS.

“We’re happy here, and this is a good place to be.”

Menard, 32, is 11th in points heading into the Coca-Cola 600. He joined RCR in 2011 and won that year’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is his lone win in Cup to date.

The contract extension was announced earlier this week.

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