In a press conference at Daytona International Speedway, executives of Wood Brothers Racing said the new charter system enacted by NASCAR is “definitely a positive” and if given the chance they wouldn’t do anything different over the last few years in order to receive one of the 36 available charters.
The team also announced it would be resigning from the Race Team Alliance.
“We can’t go back and change anything that we’ve done,” said Jon Wood, the team’s director of business development. “We’re sitting up here to convey that’s there’s no problem and we’re OK with that.”
Team president Eddie Wood said “we’re going to be fine” even though it didn’t receive one of the 36 charters guaranteeing it a starting spot in the 40-car field.
NASCAR announced its new charter system earlier this week that guarantees starting spots to 36 teams that have competed full-time for the last three years. But Wood Brothers Racing, which competed part-time from 2009 to 2015 but has been in NASCAR since 1953, was not among the teams.
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France called the team not getting a charter, “disappointing.”
“It’s more about performance. We’re liking the changes,” Eddie Wood said. “The way the thing is structured, if you do what you’re supposed to do it’ll all work out. We’ve been racing a long, long time. Len (Wood) brought it up. Since we went part-time, we haven’t been part of the plan.”
The Wood Brothers return to full-time racing in 2016 in a partnership with Team Penske and with rookie Ryan Blaney driving the No. 21. Jon Wood said the team was invited to an owner’s meeting the weekend of the 2015 Coke 600 to view the plans for the charter system.
“This whole charter thing is probably going to take a life of its own,” said Eddie Wood. “Things are going to happen that nobody even thought of.”
“You can’t really blame anyone for the way it went,” said Jon Wood. “If you’re here to race, you’re not going to get pushed out.”
The team also addressed the qualifying rules for the teams that do not have charters. The No. 21 failed to qualify for three races in 2015, including the Coke Zero 600 a Daytona, due to rain and its placements in the points standings based on its part-time schedule.
“Qualifying in these races shouldn’t be an issue as long as we perform like we know we can,” Len Wood said. “Now, if the car (doesn’t) crank or he goes out and hits a wall or something, then we have a problem. We have talked about in the past that as long as it is a performance related issue like we can’t run fast enough, that is when we have a problem. It is hard to overcome something like that. If you are fast enough every week that shouldn’t be an issue.”
“I think Ryan Blaney said it best on Twitter,” Len Wood said of the rookie driver. “What are the Wood Brothers going to do now? We’re going to go race. That’s starts with the Daytona 500.”