NASCAR Hall of Fame profile: Leonard Wood

Stock Car Spin wraps up its look at the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees by shining the spotlight on Leonard Wood. Wood is one of the five men selected to be official inducted into the Hall of Fame in Charlotte on Feb. 8, 2013, joining Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Herb Thomas and Rusty Wallace.

When inducted, Wood will join his brother, Glen Wood, in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Glen Wood was a member of the class inducted in January of this year.

Glen and Leonard Wood, along with their brother, Delano Wood, formed what is now the oldest NASCAR team still in operation. While Glen Wood drove the team’s famed No. 21 in the early days, Leonard Wood was the chief mechanic/crew chief.

Wood was a pit stop innovator in the early days of the sport. Wood’s pit stop choreography work got him noticed elsewhere in the racing world, not just in NASCAR. As a matter-of-fact, Wood Brothers Racing was hired to pit a car in the 1965 Indianapolis 500, thanks in part to Wood’s pit stop innovations. By the way, Jim Clark, driver of the car Wood Brothers Racing pitted at Indy, won the race.

Pit stop innovations Wood is credited with is the use of a light-weight jack, as opposed to the heavy floor jacks teams previously used on pit road, and an internal device that improved fuel flow for faster fueling that was used in that 1965 Indy 500.

Wood didn’t just excel on pit road, either. He also headed up the organization’s engine shop that powered the No. 21 Hall of Famer David Pearson drove to 43 of his 105 NASCAR wins.

Wood is still active within Wood Brothers Racing and the inconic No. 21 team. The No. 21, now competing on a part-time basis with Trevor Bayne behind the wheel, most recently visited victory lane in 2011 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway after Bayne’s win in the Daytona 500.


Photo courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images

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