Monday, February 21, 2011

The rewards of perseverance

I grew up in the small town of Stuart, Virginia, population about 900, the county seat of a rural county with about 17,000 people. There was not a whole lot going on in Patrick County and not much to celebrate. Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart was born there--the name of the town was changed in his honor after THE war. I always shared a sense of connection with Jeb because of our home place and because we share the same birthday.

The one other thing some people in the South might know about Stuart, and the BIG thing for many of us who grew up there, was that Stuart was the hometown and headquarters of one of NASCAR's most revered racing teams, the Wood Brothers. Now I've never really been a big race fan, but I do like to tell people I used to go head to head on the race track against the Wood Brothers. Later I might tell them this was model car racing. Does anyone else remember slot cars?

For most of 1960's and 70's, the Wood Brothers were regular contenders on the NASCAR circuit, with legendary drivers such as Marvin Panch, Cale Yarborough, and David Pearson. But its been a long dry spell for the Wood Brothers; maybe 10 years since they won a race--until yesterday. A 20-year-old driver, Trevor Bayne, put the #21 Ford back in the winner's circle--the first time the Woods have won at Daytona since 1976.

Congratulations to Eddie, Len, and all the family and team!

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