Times have changed. Teams have come and gone. And NASCAR has turned from Southern curiosity to a sport embraced in many corners of the country.
But through it all, Wood Brothers Racing has endured.
Now, as they prepare to embark on their 65th season of racing, they’ve been officially recognized as NASCAR’s longest active team by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Getting recognition from the world’s foremost authority on achievements both big and small was, as the team tells it, a personal mission of Jon Wood – former NASCAR driver and grandson of team co-founder Glen Wood.
The story goes like this: Jon recently uncovered a copy of the book’s 50th anniversary edition while going through piles of junk at his home. As he’d been working on a logo to celebrate the Wood Brothers’ 65th anniversary, he was reminded of his childhood belief that one day, he’d do something worthy enough of being in the book’s pages.
Knowing that his family team had been generally considered as NASCAR’s longest active team – but not officially recognized as such – Jon promptly sent off an application for a record claim to the Guinness website.
A sports records coordinator from Guinness got back to him and expressed interest in helping. Jon then enlisted the help of Buz McKim, the historian at NASCAR’s Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, to help him verify his claim.
Soon enough, Guinness made things official.
“I realize that when it comes to the Book, the first thought in some people’s minds are some of the wacky, crazy records, like one for the most sneezes in one minute or something,” Jon said in a team release. “But on the flip side to that, whether it’s a record of a silly nature, or serious ones like land-speed records, there is only one global authority, and that is the Guinness Book of World Records.
“My goal was to both validate the claim that Wood Brothers Racing is the longest active team in NASCAR and also honor my grandfather and his brother, Leonard, for what I believe to be an astounding accomplishment.”
As you’d expect, Glen Wood was appreciative of his grandson’s efforts.
“This is pretty big for us,” he said. “It’s a big deal to us and I’m sure a big deal to Ford. Without their support from day one, there is no way we would be where we are today.
“We’ve come a long way since the days under a beech tree. We’ve had ups and we’ve had downs, so when we get recognition like this, it just makes it all the more meaningful.”
The Wood Brothers will run a part-time schedule in 2015 with Sprint Cup newcomer Ryan Blaney.