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1964: The Wood Brothers, a road trip and a surprise driver
Noted road-course racer Dan Gurney won the event and Marvin Panch finished second to give Wood Brothers Racing a 1-2 finish in the Motor Trend 500 at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway. The name of the fellow who climbed aboard the car in Greenville, South Carolina, however, has been lost in the mists of time. Say what? The year was 1964 and crew chief Leonard Wood, along with brother Ray, was transporting Panch's No. 21 Ford across the country, returning from Riverside to the team's shop in Stuart, Virginia. After a brief stop for dinner in Greenville, the two resumed their journey, planning one more stop in Charlotte, North Carolina. "People were standing around the car, it was 20 degrees," Leonard Wood told NASCAR.com regarding the brief break for a quick meal just across the South Carolina state line. "Normally you'd stop and talk to them a little bit but it was so cold we just jumped in the truck, pulled away and left." The first sign that the two had picked up an uninvited passenger, Wood said, came about halfway between Greenville and Charlotte when their truck "started making this noise and we couldn't figure out what it was." "Ray said 'You can even feel it in the roof. It's vibrating the roof!' " Leonard Wood recalled. Initially, Wood said he thought the loud vibration was the result of a jet aircraft, "so I'm looking around to see if I could see an airport," he said. Neither crewman realized the vibration was coming from the race car, and the engine being revved wide open. But the noise soon stopped so the pair continued on up the road, unaware that a none-too-sober gentleman had climbed inside the race car back in Greenville during the food stop. When they arrived in Charlotte for one final stop, Wood said the noise and vibration had resumed. And this time he realized it wasn't coming from any aircraft. It was coming from the race car on the back of the open truck. "I looked in the side mirror when we got off the highway and I saw steam coming out the exhausts of the race car," he said. "I knew something was wrong and I told Ray to stop this thing. "I saw what looked like a person in the car behind the wheel and I thought, 'Man, one of the crew members is trying to pull a trick on me.' Of course I bypassed that thought immediately because I thought 'There's no one on the crew that's going to be stupid enough to get in that car as cold as it is.' "I look in there and this guy's got Marvin's helmet on. I said 'What do you think you’re doing in here?' and he said 'Let's go!' " In the meantime, Ray Wood had gotten out of the truck, still unaware of the inebriated passenger. With help from Leonard they attempted to pull the unwanted fellow from behind the wheel. "I said 'We'll let you go in a minute,' grabbed ahold of him and jerked him out," Leonard said. "He got his foot hung and was hollering and squalling. We turned him loose and he just settled back in there and got comfortable again. He had a little bit to keep him warm, liquid wise." As fate would have it, a local law enforcement officer happened by and stopped to see what was going on. After explaining the situation, the officer gave the "would-be racer" another ride -- this one in the back of a patrol car. Panch, who would go on to win three times that season for the Wood Brothers, had told Leonard after finishing second at Riverside that the motor had been about to blow near the end of the race. "When I got home," Wood said, "I said, 'Marvin, that thing was good for another 100 miles!' "But the funniest thing is Glen (Wood, team founder) had passed us in the station wagon and didn't see the man in there. "If he had, he would have had a heart attack."
Blaney balancing on bubble, but not focused on Chase -- yet
RELATED: Chase Grid NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and teams resume the pursuit of a position in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup this weekend as the series heads to Sonoma Raceway and the year's first road-course stop. Ten drivers have all but officially secured berths with one or more victories through the series' first 15 races. If there aren't at least 16 winners following the cutoff race at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 10, the remainder of the field will be determined based on points positions. Last season, there were 11 winners, leaving five positions to be awarded based on points. Ten drivers have found themselves 16th in the standings at some point this year. Five have advanced; four have fallen by the wayside for now and one, Ryan Blaney , heads to Sonoma situated in the 16th position. Blaney, driver of the Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford, is aware of his situation, but says he pays no mind to his past or current points placement. "I don't care about it," he said during a recent organizational test for teams at Kentucky Speedway . "I really don't look at it." Blaney has been as high as 12th in the standings and as low as 21st. With 11 races remaining before the field is set for the 10-race, championship-determining format gets underway, there's little reason to panic. He enters Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR) with an 11-point cushion on Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne and is 19 points ahead of 18th-place Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing ). Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman (15th) is five points ahead of Blaney. Jamie McMurray sits 14th -- the driver of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet is five up on Newman and 10 on Blaney. "I don't like to look at that stuff," Blaney reiterated. "I think if we go on the race track and perform the way I know we should, and run toward the front of the field like we can do week in and week out, that stuff will take care of itself." Sunday's race will be Blaney's first Sprint Cup start on a road course but he is not alone. Fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Chris Buescher , Chase Elliott , Brian Scott and Jeffrey Earnhardt will be making their first Sprint Cup road-course starts as well. Both Blaney and Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports ) have one road-course win apiece in the Camping World Truck Series and both came at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park . Buescher ( Front Row Motorsports ) won at Mid-Ohio in 2014 while competing in the XFINITY Series. The Wood Brothers Racing team is making its first appearance at a road-course since the 2008 season when former driver Marcos Ambrose wheeled the No. 21 from 43rd to a third-place finish at Watkins Glen International . Blaney's father, Dave, also competed in that race. One of roughly a half dozen teams competing without a Charter this season (and thus no guaranteed starting spot in the 40-car fields), Wood Brothers Racing has eight road-course wins to its credit. Marvin Panch scored the first in 1965 at The Glen; Dan Gurney won four times and NASCAR Hall of Fame member David Pearson three at Riverside International Raceway. Blaney and his team, led by crew chief Jeremy Bullins, have one top five and six top-10 finishes this season. Two of the last three starts, however, have resulted in finishes of 20th (at Charlotte) and 17th (at Michigan), sandwiched around a 10th-place run at Pocono. A brush with the wall late in the second half of the Michigan race sent his No. 21 entry to pit road. Although he restarted 29th, Blaney did gain 12 positions in the closing laps of the 400-mile race. "We had a bad day," Blaney said. "It was unfortunate because we had a really good car. We should have run in the top five pretty easily. Just the circumstances we were put in really hurt us." Michigan was the most recent outing for the series. Teams will return to the 2-mile track in August. For now, though, Sonoma is the focus. Two practices are slated for Friday on the 12-turn, 1.99-mile layout. Qualifying for the 40-car field is scheduled for Saturday.
Danica Patrick sits down with Dan Patrick, things get interesting
Danica Patrick sat down on the set of "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday to promote the start of the NASCAR on NBC season (the show is simulcasted on NBCSN), which embarks this Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway with the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:45 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). And boy, did things get interesting. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver touched on a variety of subjects, talking about differentiating how her competitors act on the track versus in real life, who she'd help win a race first: team owner Tony Stewart or boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr . -- hint: she's a good employee -- and whether or not she can beat up Kasey Kahne if the pair had an on-track issue. "Oh, definitely (I could take Kasey Kahne in a fight)," Patrick said. "There's a lot of them I could take, but Kasey's definitely one of them. I should've probably taken care of that at Fontana when he right-reared me at 210 (mph), but I didn't. Instead he was a little scared for a while. I didn't say a lot of hellos. I kind of wanted to keep him right there." MORE: Danica, Kahne wreck at Auto Club Be sure to watch the video below in its entirety; Dan Patrick asks a lot of great questions -- and Danica has a lot of great answers.
Highbrow comingles with down-home at Sebring
Boris Said: 'The infield at Sebring is like a mini-Talladega'
GRAND-AM Road Racing and American Le Mans Series to merge
Check out how sports car racing will change forever in 2014.
Sprint Cup Series GarageCam takes over NHMS
GarageCam host, Matthew Dillner, takes you on an exclusive and interactive tour of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage before teams hit the track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Roush Fenway, Fastenal agree to extend deal
CONCORD, N.C. -- Roush Fenway Racing has entered a multi-year partnership extension with primary partner the Fastenal Company that will continue Fastenal's position as the anchor partner of the No. 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team and driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr . As part of the extension, Fastenal will also increase the number of its primary races in 2017 and beyond. "We are really excited to announce that Fastenal will remain the anchor partner of the No. 17 team for years to come," said driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr . "Fastenal is a first-class organization with values that align completely with myself and this race team. "We've seen a lot of improvement across the board this year," added Stenhouse. "We are very happy that Fastenal will continue to be a part of the momentum at Roush Fenway. There has been a lot of hard work and effort put into this team and our goal and expectation is to reward Fastenal with a trip to victory lane and the Chase in the near future." Fastenal is currently in its fifth season as a primary partner in Roush Fenway's Sprint Cup stable, and its second full season as the anchor partner on Stenhouse's No. 17 Ford Fusion. "To have a company of the caliber of Fastenal recognize the long-term value of a partnership with Roush Fenway, Ricky and the No. 17 team is gratifying for our entire organization," said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. "During our relationship, Fastenal has created and implemented a robust and impactful motorsports marketing program, and we are thrilled to have Fastenal continue to be a key part of the Roush Fenway family now and in the future." Fastenal, which boasts 2,600 stores nationwide, first joined Roush Fenway as a primary partner in 2010 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. "We are truly looking forward to continuing our partnership with Roush Fenway Racing as the anchor sponsor of the No. 17," said Fastenal President and CEO Dan Florness. "Ricky has done an excellent job representing our brand -- both on and off the track -- and we are extremely proud of the relationship we have built with Ricky, Jack Roush and everyone at Roush Fenway Racing ." "Extending our partnership as the anchor sponsor of the No. 17 reflects our belief in Roush Fenway Racing and Ricky Stenhouse," said Florness. "The NASCAR program has helped us grow our business and excite our employees, and we feel a strong connection with the NASCAR community and fan base."
Full schedule for Dover
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series all will head to Dover International Speedway this week. Check out the full weekend schedule below. Note: All times are ET SUNDAY, MAY 15: PRE-RACE SCHEDULE — 11 a.m.: NSCS Driver/Crew Chief Meeting (NCWTS Garage Area Tent) — 12:20 p.m.: NSCS Driver Introductions with NASCAR Special Awards presented backstage — 1:00:00 p.m.: Intro Presentation of Colors by: Dover Air Force Base Color Guard — 1:00:20 p.m.: Invocation by: Dan Schafer, Pastor of Calvary Assembly of God in Heightstown, New Jersey — 1:01:00 p.m.: National Anthem by: Tom Dixon, Nashville recording artist — 1:02:00 p.m.: Aerial Adventures (3) Parachutists Land on track (frontstretch, turn 1 and turn 4) — 1:02:40 p.m.: Flyover TOT by: (2) US Navy F/A – 18C Hornets Strike Fighter Squadron from Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia (Turn 3 > Turn 2) — 1:07:30 p.m.: "Drivers, Start Your Engines" by: Jason Jones, Star of the TBS comedy, "The Detour" — 1:15:00 p.m.: Green Flag: AAA 400 Drive For Autism (400 Laps / 400 Miles) ON TRACK -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism (400 laps, 400 miles), FS1 ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 4:30 p.m.: (approx.) NSCS post-race DAILY ROUNDUP -- Kenseth holds off Larson, wins at chaotic "Monster Mile" -- Larson, Elliott hunt down Kenseth in final laps -- Monster-size wreck claims 18 cars at Dover -- Edwards knocked out of contention with 40 laps remaining THURSDAY, MAY 12: ON TRACK -- 2:00-2:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice ( Results ) -- 4:00-4:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice ( Results ) DAILY ROUNDUP -- Byron, Custer quickest at Thursday's practices -- Recalling Stewart's last win at Dover -- and looking to his next -- JGR confirms No. 18 pit crew replacement -- Fantasy Fastlane: Dover FRIDAY, MAY 13: ON TRACK -- 10-10:55 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 12:30-1:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- Ended early due to rain -- 2:15 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) -- Canceled due to rain -- 3:45 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) -- Canceled due to rain -- 5:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series JACOB Companies 200 (200 laps, 200 miles), FS1 ( Results ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 10:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 8:45 a.m.: Brendan Gaughan -- 9 a.m.: Joey Logano -- 9:15 a.m.: Ty Dillon -- 9:30 a.m.: Martin Truex Jr . -- 12:45 p.m.: Ricky Stenhouse Jr . -- 1:15 p.m.: Jimmie Johnson -- 5 p.m.: (approx.) NSCS post-qualifying -- 7:30 p.m.: (approx.) NCWTS post-race DAILY ROUNDUP -- Crafton conquers Dover for Truck win -- Harvick to start up front after qualifying rained out -- Stewart, Danica involved in early practice wreck -- RCR teammates discuss A. Dillon's strong start to '16 SATURDAY, MAY 14: ON TRACK -- 9:30-10:25 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series second practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 10:45 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) -- 12:30-1:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS2 ( Results ) -- 2 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Ollie's Bargain Outlet 200 Heat #1 (40 laps, 40 miles), FOX ( Results ) -- 2:50 p.m. (approx): NASCAR XFINITY Series Ollie's Bargain Outlet 200 Heat #2 (40 laps, 40 miles), FOX ( Results ) -- 3:30 p.m. (approx): NASCAR XFINITY Series Ollie's Bargain Outlet 200 main race (120 laps, 120 miles), FOX ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 4:30 p.m.: (approx.) NXS post-race DAILY ROUNDUP -- Key story lines to watch for Sunday's race -- Jones wins at Dover, takes Dash 4 Cash prize -- Johnson: A monster talent at Dover -- Bubba makes history, strides with Dover runner-up
Hamlin's in need of some sleep, and he can't find it
MORE: Hamlin picks up first 500 crown " Joins list of winners Denny Hamlin has something no one else has -- the 2016 Daytona 500 trophy. What's one thing Hamlin doesn't have, as the "Great American Race" winner, though? That all-important five-letter-word ... sleep. Calling in on the " Dan Patrick Show" the newly crowned winner told the host (surprisingly, without a yawn), "I haven't gone to sleep yet." Sleep isn't in the immediate future, either, with a tight itinerary for his celebratory media tour in New York. "(I've) got a bunch of shows," Hamlin said. "I haven't even looked at my itinerary. Probably goes to 5 or 6 today." Maybe nap time should be stop number one.
Larson: ‘We parked it for him’
Kyle Larson celebrates in Victory Lane after dedicating his emotion first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win to his friend Bryan Clauson.