CHARLOTTE, N.C., August 2, 2016 – Wood Brothers Racing and Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing unveiled their throw-back paint scheme for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The design is a tribute to the 1976 Mercury Montego that David Pearson drove to the unofficial NASCAR triple crown that Bicentennial year four decades ago.
With Hall of Fame crew chief Leonard Wood calling the shots from the pit area, Pearson grabbed the triple crown by winning the Daytona 500, the World 600 at Charlotte and the Southern 500, and added seven other victories that season.
“We are so excited that we were able to work with Motorcraft, Quick Lane and Ford Performance to make this paint scheme happen,” said Eddie Wood, co-owner of the Wood Brothers Racing Team. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been 40 years since all that happened.”
The scheme includes Pearson’s name on the door honoring the winningest driver in the Wood Brothers’ storied 66-year history.
“David Pearson is such an important part of our history, getting 43 of our 98 wins over seven years, that we’re proud to put his name on this race car,” said team co-owner Len Wood, who along with his brother oversaw the execution of the design down to the smallest detail. “We had to incorporate our current sponsor Motorcraft/Quick Lane into this design yet stay true to the original, right down to the blue stripes across the hood and down the side panels and the silver wheels.”
The iconic No. 21’s Darlington paint scheme includes an image of a Motorcraft oil filter on the C pillar just as there was for Purolator in 1976.
The Wood Brothers ran just two cars, the same two cars, between 1976 and 1980. One was set up for speedways and the other for short tracks. The original speedway model is in the Speedway Motors Museum of Speed in Lincoln, Neb. The short-track variation is on display in America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Wash.
In 1976, in addition to the triple crown, the cars won 10 of the 22 races they started, led 1,227 laps, captured eight poles and posted 16 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes. The non-triple crown victories came at Riverside (2), Atlanta, Darlington, Michigan (2) and Ontario (Calif.).
The cars ran as Montegos again in 1977 when they won at Riverside and Darlington and grabbed five pole positions, again with Pearson behind the wheel, Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum duct taped to the dash as was his custom.
In 1978, 1979 and 1980, the cars ran as Cougars and an opera window replaced the oil filter on the C pillar. As Cougars, they combined for five poles and six wins including triumphs at Dover, Daytona, Charlotte, Darlington, Pocono and Talladega.
Pearson shared driving duties with Neil Bonnett in 1979 and Bonnett became the team’s sole wheel man in 1980.
If anyone thinks the “throwback” paint schemes at Darlington are solely for older NASCAR fans, they are mistaken. A year ago, a 14-year-old fan from Tennessee named Skyler Fox sent his idea for a throwback paint scheme to Wood Brothers Racing. It also was based on the 1976 paint scheme.
“I really enjoy old racing,” Fox said. “The throwback race brings back lots of things I never was able to see. This scheme always stood out to me because it was one of the Daytona 500-winning schemes. It also is one of the cleanest, fastest-looking schemes ever.”
Also at Darlington this year, driver Ryan Blaney will wear a fire suit patterned after the suit Pearson wore in 1976.
“When I first started driving for the Wood Brothers last season, I knew it was going to be a special experience,” Blaney said. “But being able to drive the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion with a paint scheme that really highlights the team’s great history is truly an honor.”
In addition, Wood Brothers crew members will be wearing uniforms – complete with white pants with a blue stripe down each leg – that match those worn by their predecessors 40 years ago.
The Bojangles’ Southern 500 takes place Sunday, Sept. 4, at 6 p.m. at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C.