Wood Brothers, Menard Set For 2018 season

Matthew T. Thacker/NKPPhoto

by Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer.

With the announcement that Ford Motorcraft and Quick Lane would return for 14 races to the famed No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing (WBR) Ford  in 2018, things are in place for the organization to focus on the remainder of 2017 with Ryan Blaney and the future with Paul Menard.

When Team Penske and WBR set forth for a technical alliance in 2014, the Wood family knew that Blaney was going in-house at Penske in 2017. However, that step took an additional year than planned. Eddie and Len Wood, co-owners of the organization, are sad to see Blaney leave, but are excited for the future and potential the organization has with Menard.

“We are going to miss Ryan. If you go back to 2014, it was really Blaney could only be our driver for two years. There was a plan for him in 2017 for a third car. It wound up taking an extra year to get to that point. He was never really our driver for this year,” said L. Wood. “Now, switching to an older driver, Paul is 37. We will deal with him a little different way. Blaney is still a kid. I think Paul and the Penske cars are top-notch, engines from Doug Yates top-notch. I think you put all that with Paul, I think he will do fine.”

“It all worked out for us. Now, he is going to be in a third Penske car. That is the way it was supposed to unfold, and it did. Everybody wins,” said E. Wood, echoing the sentiments of L. Wood.

Now that things are in place with driver and sponsorship, the next step is securing and owning a charter. Currently, WBR is leasing a charter from Go FAS Racing for this season. Due to the nature of being able to lease a charter for one year only, the organization is looking at the options to secure a charter.

“We are working on that. It’s kinda an ongoing process. We leased one this past year. We are working in the direction of acquiring another one. It’s all in motion,” said E. Wood.

The Wood family will be able to “sleep at night” now that they are fully funded by Menards and Motorcraft/Quick Lane. There is still some minor minutiae to be set like scheduling, hauler and pit box design, etc.

For Menard, the remainder of the season is “business as usual” at Richard Childress Racing (RCR). The goal for this announcement was to get it done early so Menard could focus on 2017.

“We are all set. We got this done fairly early in the season too. There is still some pending announcements with other teams. We tried to get this done early, and get it out there,” Menard stated. ”We can focus on what we need to do on the No. 27 car this season and try to get a step ahead for next year.”

When asked if the dynamic at RCR has changed since the announcement, Menard was quick to state that the No. 27 team is committed to each other through the remainder of the season.

“We are all professionals, we know where we are at, how to proceed. None of us are giving up on each other by any stretch. We are working just as hard as we did back in March. We have to perform,” said Menard.

As 2018 approaches and the technical alliance remaining unchanged with Penske, the expectation for Menard is to make the playoffs just as WBR did this season.

“He told us he would race his butt off for us. That’s all we ask. I want to believe him,” said E. Wood.

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