The Wood Brothers Get Left Out

It’s a big shock to me. I have been trying to word a column about Wood Brothers Racing which came from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour a couple of weeks ago, and then the news of the Charter system came down and everything said just went away.

The elated Woods were finally embarking on a long awaited full season with Ryan Blaney and a solid relationship with Team Penske, and then they found out that the Charter system, initiated by Rob Kaufffman, formerly the money behind Michael Waltrip Racing, was all in favor of Kauffman and not with the most historic team in the series. It bears watching.

Wood Brothers Racing goes back to the beginning of NASCAR. Financial matters have relegated the team to a part-time team over the last few years. Never forget that the Woods ran an abbreviated schedule for years, but had a full-time team over many seasons. When financing dried up, they did what they had to do—run less races. The Woods are not rich. Despite much success over the years, they aren’t Rick Hendrick or Jack Roush or Roger Penske. They raced to win, but they did it on a budget that allowed them to be successful.

The rules that the group that evolved the charter system looked at were only over the last few years. The criteria did not meet what the Woods had done. Funny, since we’ve discarded all history from the series from abandoning North Wilkesboro to closing Rockingham to taking a second date from Darlington, it should have been accepted. Trouble is that one thing goes unnoticed. Rob Kauffman came out golden. Probably since he was he instigator of the movement, it went his way.

Notice that Kauffman was a principal In Michael Waltrip Racing. It is a defunct team that had already announced that they were closing far before the season ended. They get two charters which they can sell to rumored Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. More money for Kauffman, unlike the Wood Brothers who worked for over 60 seasons and were very successful. The record of MWR is not even close to the Woods. Witness how Jeff Gordon was added to the Chase when that same MWR was found cheating at Richmond. Witness how Kyle Busch was allowed to compete for a championship which he won while missing 12 races. More recent events, like allowing Brian Vickers to compete in the Sprint Unlimited. Those rules were bent, but the Woods didn’t deserve a charter because the “rules were the rules?” Have mercy. I’m sure the Woods will make any race, but can you really wrap your head around how some of the teams deserved charter status?

Maybe that question should be asked of NASCAR and maybe even Rob Kauffman. It’s a sign of the times, unfortunately. The golden rule is now those that have the gold make the rules.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Fleshman
Ron Fleshman
Ron Fleshman has followed NASCAR racing since attending his first race at Martinsville Speedway in 1964. He joined the Motor Sports Forum on the CompuServe network in the 1980s and became a reporter for Racing Information Systems in 1994. In 2002, he was named NASCAR Editor for RIS when it appeared on the World Wide Web as He can now be found at Ron is a member of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. You can find Ron following and reporting on the top three NASCAR divisions each week. As a lifer in his support of racing, he attends and reports on nearly 30 events a year and as a member of the motor sports media, his passion has been racing for 47 years. He lives with his family in rural West Virginia and works in the insurance industry when not on the road to another track.


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