Pocono: A Trifecta in Popularity!
Ryan Blaney’s dramatic win in yesterday’s Axalta Presents the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway produced a resounding vote of fan approval, for more than one reason. First, everyone loves to see a first-time winner, and Blaney’s win joined first-time checkered flags earned by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Dillon so far this year. That makes it three first-timers out of 14 races this year, with several others looming in the shadows (like Chase Elliott and Erik Jones, for example).
Second, when it’s a well-earned win by a driver recognized as a rising star in the sport holding off past champions and two of racing’s true superstars, it seems even sweeter. In the closing 10 laps, Blaney first out-dueled Kyle Busch and then fought off a late charge by Kevin Harvick to win by less than two tenths of a second.
But the third aspect of this immensely popular win has to do more with the team than the driver.
Wood Brothers Racing Back on Top
Sunday’s Pocono win was the 99th Cup-level win for the storied Wood Brothers Racing,created by original owner Glen Wood (a.k.a. “The Woodchopper”) of Stuart, Virginia and his brother Leonard. As a part of NASCAR since 1950, the Woods are universally recognized as true pioneers of stock car racing in America. And their mark on the sport–and on a legendary assortment of NASCAR’s premier drivers–is wide and deep.
Through the years, 44 different drivers have taken the wheel for Wood Brothers Racing, and their accomplishments have been beyond impressive. Eighteen of these drivers have visited the winner’s circle with the famed No. 21, with NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson (Class of 2011) logging 43 of his 105 career wins with Wood Brothers Racing. Cale Yarborough, also a Hall of Fame inductee (Class of 2012), accounted for 13 of the 99 wins, with seven other drivers logging multiple wins. In addition to Pearson and Yarborough, four other Wood Brothers drivers have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame through the class of 2018: Glen Wood (Class of 2012), Fred Lorenzen (2015), Curtis Turner (2016), and Dale Jarrett (2014).
Here’s a complete list of who has taken Wood Brothers Racing to the winner’s circle:
- David Pearson (43 wins)
- Cale Yarborough (13)
- Neil Bonnet (9)
- Marvin Panch (8)
- A.J. Foyt (5)
- Glen Wood (4)
- Dan Gurney (4)
- Kyle Petty (2)
- Speedy Thompson (2)
- Banjo Matthews (1)
- Buddy Baker (1)
- Curtis Turner (1)
- Dale Jarrett (1)
- Donnie Allison (1)
- Elliott Sadler (1)
- Morgan Shepherd (1)
- Trevor Bayne (1)
- Ryan Blaney (1)
Historically, Wood Brothers Racing has entered 1,488 points-paying races through yesterday at Pocono, amassing 344 top 5 finishes and 538 top 10s to go along with their 99 wins and 117 poles. They’ve completed 395,891 laps in competition, logging 503,962 on-track miles en route to over $53 million in winnings.
To say that Wood Brothers Racing has been successful would be a substantial understatement. And the best is yet to come, with 23-year old Blaney now having had an opportunity to savor the taste of Victory Lane in a Cup-level event.