DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Glen Wood is sitting out the Daytona 500.
Wood has done most everything at “The Great American Race,” driving in the inaugural edition in 1959 and winning five Daytona 500s as team owner. He not only had a seat somewhere at every Daytona 500, the 92-year-old Hall of Famer had attended every Speedweeks since 1947.
Wood will have a different view for Sunday’s race: from his home.
Although healthy, Wood decided to not make his annual trip from Stuart, Virginia, because of his age and the potential to catch the deadly flu virus sweeping the country. So he’ll watch from afar as Paul Menard drives the Wood Brothers Racing entry in the Daytona 500.
“With the flu and everything that’s going on everywhere, we just didn’t think the risk was there,” son Eddie Wood said. “He made up his own mind, we didn’t ask him anything. We were just like, if he wants to go, he’ll say so, and he just made the decision himself that he just didn’t want to risk getting sick.
Glen Wood always rode by car to Daytona Beach, driving a 1940 two-door Ford on his first trip in 1947. Wood took every ride through eight decades in a Ford.
“I keep thinking every day he’s going to call and say, `Send somebody up here to get me,” Eddie Wood said.
Glen Wood won races in various series on the beach and finished 34th in his first — and only — Daytona 500 in a Ford, of course.
Leonard Wood, Glen’s brother and team co-owner, also was at Daytona.
The Wood Brothers have won at least one NASCAR race in each of the past six decades, including their 99th last season with Ryan Blaney at Pocono Raceway. The Wood Brothers Racing Team was formed in 1950 and won the Daytona 500 in 1963 (Tiny Lund), 1968 (Cale Yarborough), 1972 (A.J. Foyt), 1976 (David Pearson) and 2011 (Trevor Bayne).
Eddie Wood told his dad there was no reason to push himself to attend the race.
“Nobody will ever break your record,” Eddie Wood said he told him. “I’m at 45. I’m not going to get there.”
Eddie Wood, a co-owner in the race team, was back at the track after a heart procedure in December. From his own experience in recovery, Eddie Wood said he’s sure his dad would be getting antsy at home missing the race.
“That `Price is Right’ and `Let’s Make a Deal,’ man, you don’t want to sit there doing that,” he said. “I just couldn’t wait to get out.”
— Associated Press —