By admin | August 9, 2008
By Richard Allen
Sundayâ€™s race in Watkins Glen could provide the last chance for famed Wood Brothers Racing to win a race.
The Wood Brothers began fielding NASCAR race cars from their Stuart, Virginia shop in 1953. Since then they have collected 97 checkered flags including wins in the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500 and just about every big stock car race ever contested.
Some of the biggest stars to drive in NASCAR have driven for this team. David Pearson, Cale Yarborough and A.J. Foyt just to name a few.
Unfortunately, times have changed and the Wood Brothers find themselves missing almost as many races than they make. Their cars have only qualified for 13 of the 21 races run this year.
The last time the famous #21 car pulled into victory lane was at the Bristol Motor Speedway in 2001 with Elliott Sadler driving. Not only has it been a long time since that last win but it has been a long time since they have really even been a factor in the closing laps of any race.
Enter the unlikely driver who could once again put this great team in the winnerâ€™s circle, Marcos Ambrose. The Australian is a road course ace. He drove car #21 at the Infineon Raceway earlier this year and ran near the front until mechanical issues sidelined the effort.
Ambrose has shown in the Nationwide Series that he is capable of running up front on road courses and it is on these type tracks in which the driver can make the greatest difference. He clearly deomonstrated that ability by winning the Nationwide race at Watkins Glen on Saturday.
The rain out of Sprint Cup qualifying has relegated Ambrose to the 43rd starting position which will make the task of winning difficult.
Wood Brothers Racing has fallen far from the pedestal they once sat upon. With the expense of racing being what it is and the uncertainty of sponsorship for struggling teams, this may be the last chance this storied team will ever have to win a race.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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