The 65th anniversary season of Wood Brothers Racing will apparently go a bit longer.
This afternoon during the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, team co-owner Eddie Wood confirmed that its planned 2015 Sprint Cup schedule has been pushed to 18 races thanks to the tentative addition of six more events.
“Our normal commitment is with Ford Motor Company and their Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands, and we’re gonna run our 12 races like we’ve been doing for the last few years,” Eddie Wood said. “We’ll run the speedways and the faster mile-and-a-half [tracks].
“But we’re excited to say that we’ve been working really hard through our [technical] alliance with Team Penske, and we’ve tentatively added six races to our schedule. You want to race every week, and it kills you when you’re not there. We’re really thankful that we’re able to do that.”
Eddie’s brother and fellow team co-owner, Len Wood, told reporters that the six new events are Kentucky, the first race at New Hampshire, the Bristol night race, the Southern 500 at Darlington, and the Chase races at Chicagoland and Charlotte.
The decision means more seat time for the team’s new driver, Ryan Blaney, who will also compete for both Penske in the XFINITY Series and in a limited role with Brad Keselowski Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.
Blaney made his first two career Sprint Cup starts in 2014 for Penske, finishing 27th in his spring debut at Kansas and then 22nd in the Chase race at Talladega.
With his Wood Brothers debut at the Daytona 500 drawing closer, Blaney says he has been immersing himself in the team’s rich history by visiting its museum in Stuart, Virginia.
Through those visits, he has discovered just how important the team has been to the sport and also how much common ground he and the team have.
“This family legacy is pretty unique to me,” Blaney said today. “I come from a long family of racing, and that’s the same with the Wood Brothers. It’s kind of neat. It’s really special and something we can share. I think that’s gonna create a really good bond.
“Because that’s all we want to do – myself, the Wood Brothers, and [crew chief] Jeremy Bullins – all we want to do is win and do well. That’s all we care about: Racing.”
Blaney was also excited about the Wood Brothers’ new alliance with Team Penske, saying that it would help them make “the next step to where we need to be.”
As for his crew chief, Bullins, this opportunity is a homecoming for him. He worked on the Wood Brothers’ Pro Cup and Late Model cars in 1999 before moving up to race engineer on their famous No. 21 Sprint Cup team, a role he held from 2000 to mid-2002.
He rejoins after a successful three-year run as crew chief for Penske’s No. 22 NXS program, where he helped them win 21 races and two NXS owner championships. Blaney himself contributed two of those victories.
“It’s special in a lot of ways,” Bullins said. “One, to be able to continue our relationship with Team Penske and having good teammates to work with in the 2 [Keselowski] and 22 [Joey Logano]. But the Wood Brothers is where I started. This is where I got my first opportunity. To come back here as the crew chief and be able to lead the team is a great opportunity.
“Ryan and I have worked together since 2012. There’s a relationship there and we feel like we can build on that history and get ourselves in a position to be successful.”