Stuart, VA — Glen Wood, a pioneering driver and co-founder of stock-car racing’s longest-running team, died Friday (Jan. 18) at age 93. He had been the oldest living member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame after his induction in 2012.
From humble beginnings in southwest Virginia, Glen Wood and his brother, Leonard, built a legendary racing operation that still competes in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The Wood Brothers Racing organization has 99 victories in more than 1,500 starts in NASCAR’s top division, fielding cars for an illustrious list of legendary drivers. Four of those wins belong to Wood, the team’s primary driver in its earliest years.
Wood scored all four of his triumphs in NASCAR’s top series at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. His success at the tricky quarter-mile track helped to earn him the title of “Master of the Madhouse,” a nickname that also acknowledged his dominance there in the featured Modified Division.
His driving days ended in 1964 as the sport continued to grow away from his favored short tracks to larger speedways. But he remained, with his younger brother, a savvy team owner, employing several drivers — David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Curtis Turner and A.J. Foyt among them — who would become legends in their own right.
The Wood Brothers team also became known for their part in modernizing the art of the pit stop, introducing a well-choreographed process for servicing their cars. The speed of their effort led to Ford Motor Company asking the Woods to staff the pit stops for the Lotus-Ford team and driver Jim Clark at the 1965 Indianapolis 500.
Their innovations reduced the time of the typical IndyCar pit stop at that time nearly in half, becoming a benchmark for how motorsports approached pit-road strategy. Clark won easily, leading 190 of the 200 laps.
Ford honored Wood in 1999 with its Spirit Award, the highest recognition in Ford Performance Motorsports, and was elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2002. He was also named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998, one of 20 drivers on that list to have driven for Wood Brothers Racing.