Sunday, February 20, 2011
Are you kidding me?! Trevor Bayne puts the legendary Wood Brothers Ford in victory lane at the 2011 Daytona 500. Wood Brothers history photos, race results, and victory lane video
At 20-years-old, Trevor Bayne became the youngest driver to win the biggest race in all of NASCAR. He became the first driver to win the 500 in his first attempt since Lee Petty took the very first one in 1959. And he was driving for one of the oldest, most respected teams in the sport, the Wood Brothers, complete with a throwback paint scheme.
First, a little about Bayne, since no one knows where he came from. He just turned 20 the day before he won the Daytona 500, so his resume isn't going to be too long. He won a bunch of go-cart championships as a younger kid. He went on to race in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, then the NASCAR Camping World East Series in a Dale Earnhardt, Inc., car. He was good enough that he was eventually picked up by Michael Waltrip racing to run their Nationwide Series car. Sponsorship ran out on that deal, and he ran a couple of Nationwide Series shows for Jack Roush's team. And finally, he was hired to share the #21 Ford with Bill Elliott for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season.
Early in the 500, Gordon again tried to use Bayne as a drafting partner, but Gordon was caught up in a huge wreck early on, and Bayne had to keep himself in contention by drafting with other drivers for the rest of the race. At the end, Bayne nudged out a charging Carl Edwards with a little drafting help from Bobby Labonte to win the crash-filled event.
Making the win even more special was the car that Bayne was driving. Most race fans are familiar with the red, white, and gold-numbered #21 Ford, which has been showing up at races virtually since the inception of the sport of NASCAR. Brother Glen Wood drove a few races early on, but their legacy was written as that of successful car owners.
The list of talent that has piloted the #21 machine over the years is like a who's-who of NASCAR greatness. Curtis Turner, Tiny Lund, Dan Gurney, Donnie Allison, A.J. Foyt, Junior Johnson, Jim Clark, Fireball Roberts, Fred Lorenzen, Cale Yarborough, Kyle Petty, Neil Bonnett, Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett, Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader, and Bill Elliott have all taken turns behind the wheel.
The Wood Brothers were able to beat out Richard Petty for one last record. When, through a number of mergers, Petty Enterprises ceased to exist in its original form, The Wood Brothers racing team became the oldest team in NASCAR. And for the entire time, since 1950, they have always run Ford products.
Normally, you'd see pictures from today's race, but since we're more into automotive history here, I'm including a slideshow of Wood Brothers stock cars from over the years. You can see how Trevor Bayne's car was painted like David Pearson's car from the 1970s, and you'll get an idea just how much history this team actually has in this sport. Most of them are either from NASCAR Media or Ford Media. Enjoy!