Leonard Wood was a master innovator who shifted with the changes in NASCAR over the years. A cutting edge mechanic with an ingenious approach to pit stops, he not only altered aspects of NASCAR, but continues to play a role in it. Here are five reasons he could be a Hall of Famer.
Still at it
Leonard Wood remains active in NASCAR today. He has helped Wood Brothers Racing become the longest surviving independent in the garage area and one still capable of challenging the top contenders. He works in the shop as a mechanic, continuing to bring new ideas to the sport he has called home for 60 years — and visiting Victory Lane once more this year as the group won the Daytona 500 with rookie Trevor Bayne.
Wood’s pit-stop prowess grew acclaim nationally and took NASCAR to new heights. Wood (seen here with David Pearson) brought the sport to a new audience, but didn't limit his success to NASCAR. In 1965, his group was hired to pit Jim Clark’s entry in the Indianapolis 500, a race they went on to win.
Changed the game
Wood is credited with crafting the modern pit stop. He started trying to find ways for teams to cut down the time on pit stops, inventing parts and orchestrating the fastest pit stops. They set the tone for the modern, fast-paced, organized pit stop before others even thought about shaving time in that area.
Making things happen
Wood was always in the background — he admits he drove once to test a car change out at Martinsville, but that was about it — but he became a crew chief/chief mechanic for his brother as they won races in the 1950s.
Wood was an innovator from the start, helping brother Glen develop into a competitive racer, keeping the Wood Brothers Racing team as one to watch over the years.