Glen Wood, the courtly and innovative patriarch of the Wood Brothers Racing team who had been the oldest living member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, died Jan. 18 in Stuart, Va. He was 93.
Wood Brothers announced the death of its team founder on social media but did not cite a cause.
Mr. Wood, along with younger brother Leonard, co-founded the Wood Brothers Racing team in 1950 and won four races over an 11-year career behind the wheel. Mr. Wood in 1998 was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers — a list that included 20 drivers who had once raced a Wood Brothers car.
He also was a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and in 2011 was elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“The Wood Brothers race team, by any measure, has been one of the most successful racing operations in the history of NASCAR,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of Ford’s board of directors. “Glen was an innovator who, along with his family, changed the sport itself.”
The Wood Brothers came from humble beginnings and built a racing team ahead of its time that still competes at NASCAR’s top level. The Wood Brothers won 99 races in more than 1,500 starts in NASCAR’s elite division, achieving that record with numerous manufacturers and star drivers. Mr. Wood was the primary driver when the team was launched.
“We started racing in 1950 with a car we bought for $50,” he told the Associated Press as the team readied for its 1,000th start in 2000. “We put No. 50 on the side of the car because it just seemed like the right thing to do. Now here we are 50 years later.”
The car number was eventually changed to 21, which is one of the most revered numbers in NASCAR. Among those who drove for the team were David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Curtis Turner and A.J. Foyt. Pearson waged most of his battles with rival Richard Petty while driving for the Wood Brothers.
Mr. Wood drove in the inaugural 1959 Daytona 500 and won the race five times as team owner. He had attended every Speedweeks in Daytona since 1947 until last season.
The Wood Brothers have won at least one NASCAR race in each of the past six decades. The team won the Daytona 500 in 1963 (Tiny Lund), 1968 (Yarborough), 1972 (Foyt), 1976 (Pearson) and 2011 (Trevor Bayne).
“In addition to their on-track success, Wood Brothers Racing is recognized for revolutionizing the pit stops and dropping the time teams spent on pit road by as much as 50 percent,” said NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley. “Wood Brothers Racing was recently recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest active NASCAR team, now at 69 years and counting.”
Mr. Wood was first hooked on racing when he visited Daytona Beach to watch cars on the beach-road course in 1947. His driving days ended in 1964, but he and Leonard Wood carried on the team. The Wood Brothers entered the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 as the pit crew for Jim Clark. Four Wood brothers — Glen, Leonard, Delano and Ray Lee — serviced Colin Chapman’s famed Lotus, powered by Ford and driven by Clark, the most glamorous Formula One driver of the day. Clark won the race.
— Associated Press