Woods Ready for ‘Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300’

Woods Ready for ‘Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300’

by September 30, 2013 0 comments

PINEY FLATS, Tenn. — Hayden Woods is excited following last week’s open practice at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for the upcoming Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300, scheduled Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5-6.

Around 100 of the top Late Model Stock drivers and teams will assemble for the event, which is the biggest, richest, most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock car race in the country. The winner takes home $25,000, a grandfather clock and probably most importantly, bragging rights for a year.

“Hey, we had a really good practice up at Martinsville Speedway last week,” said Woods from his race shop this afternoon, while the team was preparing the No. 87 Chevrolet SS. “Our car was good right out of the trailer. On used tires with many laps on them, we were able to lay down some good laps soon as we hit the track. We were running some good lap times on the used tires, and we decided to bolt on a new set of stickers (tires) to see just how quick a lap we could run. We ran several laps on the new tires and the car felt really good.

“My crew chief, David Roope, he tried some different things on the car throughout the day and we really got the car dialed-in. Some cars struggle a little at Martinsville with concrete in the corners and the transition to asphalt on the straightaway. But our car, we really had good forward bite coming up off the corners. That’s crucial, too, because you really want to be able and pick the throttle up in center of the corner and have good drive to launch you down the long straightaway.”

Woods began racing ATV 4-wheelers when he was just 6 years old before switching to racing motocross bikes for a few years. From the age of 9 until 14, he raced go-karts with much success in winning a track title at Beechnut Raceway in Blountville, with one World Karting Association national victory and a Tennessee State WKA championship.

Getting behind the wheel of a Legends car in 2010, Woods recorded one victory. During the ’10 season and also in 2011, he competed in both the Summer Shootout Series and Winter Shootout Series events at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

The ’11 racing campaign could be described in one word – “phenomenal” – for Woods, as he captured 26 Legends feature race wins and track championships at both Kingsport Speedway and Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Va. He also visited victory lane at Newport (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and captured the Tennessee State Young Lions Division Legends championship, while also finishing ninth nationally in Young Lions points.

The 2013 racing season marked just the second campaign behind the wheel of a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock for the 18-year-old Woods, a senior at Providence Academy in Johnson City.

The Hayden Woods Racing team elected to not chase points at any track this season, and instead their racing scheduled included events in the Volunteer State at Kingsport Speedway, and in Virginia at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, and Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn.

In 15 starts at Kingsport Speedway, Woods captured three pole awards and recorded five top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. He had six starts at Motor Mile Speedway and consistently ran inside the top 10, but due to circumstances beyond his control was only able to record one top-10 finish. Woods ended the season ranked 91st nationally in the final NASCAR Whelen All-American Series top 500 driver standings.

Woods recorded one feature win and four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in seven starts at Lonesome Pine Raceway, where he also had three pole awards. He captured his first career Late Model Stock victory back in June on a night which featured twin Late Model Stock races. Besides capturing the victory, Woods also had two second-place finishes to his credit this season at LPR.

“Yeah, I guess you could say overall we’ve had a pretty good season,” said Woods. “But one thing I’m disappointed about is we weren’t able to get a win at Kingsport Speedway, because I really believe we should’ve won two or three races. We led races and put ourselves in contention to win.

“But a couple of times running in the top five we cut a tire down and that ended any chance of winning, and a few times we got collected in wrecks not of our own doing. Just crazy deals and nothing you could do about it. Our time’s a coming, though, and I believe once we finally get our first win at ‘The Concrete Jungle’ we’ll get us several more victories. It’s just a matter of finally getting that first notch on your belt.”

Woods will be making his first-ever start at the famed Martinsville Speedway, which has hosted NASCAR racing for over 60 years. The Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300 is the Super Bowl for Late Model Stock car racing in the United States.

“Oh, without a doubt I’m looking forward to running the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300,” said Woods. “It’s hard to put into words the feeling I had when first pulling out of the pits onto the racing surface at Martinsville Speedway, just knowing the history of the place with all the legends in NASCAR having raced there. Having run at short-tracks like Kingsport Speedway, Motor Mile Speedway and Lonesome Pine Raceway, when you first get on the track at Martinsville with those long straightaways, you’re like ‘Wow.’

“I feel like I quickly adapted to the layout, and actually I fell in love with the place. After our good test session, I really like our chances to run well when we go back for the race. With such a large field of cars expected, it will be important to lay down a fast practice lap in qualifying on Saturday afternoon to earn a good starting position in a heat race on Sunday. Four 20-lap heats and taking the top eight finishers to advance to the main event, that’s going to be some really exciting racing action for the fans. We’re going over our car this week and not overlooking anything, from front-to-back. You’ve got to be well-prepared when you arrive at the track later this week. We’re going to give it our best effort, and that’s all you can do.”

The grandstand gates will open at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6 for the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300. At 10 a.m. an autograph session will take place on the front straightaway to allow fans the opportunity to meet the competitors. The first of four 20-lap qualifying heat races will get the green flag at 12 p.m., to determine starting positions 1-32 with top eight in each heat race advancing, followed by a 20-lap last-chance race with top 10 advancing to feature

Tommy Woods heads up Hayden Woods Racing, with David Roope serving as crew chief and Phil Tuell filling the role as driving coach and spotter. Crew members include Mark Torbett, Cody Johnson, Blake Thompson, Eddies Sykes, Aaron Alvis, Gray Gray and Tam Tompkins.

Hayden Woods chauffeurs the Murphy Inc. Millwright & Rigging of Johnson City, Roadrunner Markets, Champion Chevrolet-Cadillac of Johnson City, Rustic Ridge Landscaping of Johnson City, Stay and Play at Home, Turbo Blue Racing Gasoline, Lone Star Super Gas Inc., In Memory of Josh Adcock, Hedgecock (Race Cars) Racing Enterprises, Kowalsky Racing Engines, No. 87 Chevrolet SS.

Press Release
Press Release, source information and photo credits are located at the bottom of the article.

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