Ray Lee Wood, one of the original members of Wood Brothers Racing, died this week at the age of 92.
The third son of J. Walter and Ada Wood, Ray Lee joined his brothers, Glen, Clay, Delano and Leonard, in forming NASCAR’s longest running race team in the early 1950s. He was part of the efforts that would win the 1963 Daytona 500, the 1965 Indianapolis 500 and the inaugural American 500 at North Carolina Speedway at Rockingham in 1965.
Wood changed the front tires and helped prep the cars that were driven by Glen and other NASCAR legends.
He took his turn behind the wheel as well. In 1958, on the sands of Daytona Beach, Ray Lee hit 142 miles per hour on the measured mile in a hopped-up street car, topping the speed chart for that day.
“Ray Lee could have been a race driver as well as Glen,” Leonard Wood said in a media release.
When the Wood Brothers won the car owner’s championship in 1963, Ray Lee was the listed car owner of record and the championship trophy bears his name.
Ray Lee felt “the calling of the Lord” in 1965 and he left racing behind at the end of the year, but not before Curtis Turner won in Ray Lee’s final race with the team on Oct. 31 at Rockingham.
“Ray never went back to the track after 1965, but he supported us all the way and always followed our races on the radio or TV,” Leonard Wood said. “He was a great brother and a great all-around person.
“I can’t say enough good words about him.”
RIP Ray Lee Wood! So amazing how talented each and every member of the Wood family is and what a legacy they built together. Thoughts and prayers to the whole family! https://t.co/DfDNn84Eqg
— Matt DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) May 7, 2020