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Honoring Ray Lee Wood


American Government Stock Car Racing Topics:  Ray Lee Wood

Honoring Ray Lee Wood

Congressman H. Morgan Griffith
Congressional Record: 116th Congress
Extensions of Remarks
4 June 2020


  Mr. GRIFFITH. Madam Speaker, I rise in honor of Ray Lee Wood of 
Stuart, Virginia. Mr. Wood passed away on May 6, 2020, at the age of 
92. As one of the founding members of Wood Brothers Racing, Mr. Wood 
helped launch a storied team and competed in some of its signature 
victories.
  Ray Lee Wood was born in Patrick County on December 14, 1927. He 
served in the Army after World War II. In the early 1950s, he joined 
his brothers Glenn, Clay, Delano and Leonard in forming the team that 
still bears their name. They famously worked on their cars in the shade 
of a beech tree on the family's property, using its limbs to help pull 
engines with a chain hoist. Ray Lee was responsible for maintaining the 
Fords the team raced and changing the front tires, not driving, 
although Leonard recalled a day in 1958 when Ray Lee hit 142 miles per 
hour on the measured mile at Daytona Beach.
  During Mr. Wood's time with the team, it won at the 1963 Daytona 500, 
the 1965 Indianapolis 500, and the 1965 American 500 at North Carolina 
Speedway. At Daytona and Indianapolis, he made the call after checking 
the tires to continue driving rather than changing them, contributing 
to the victories.
  At the 1965 Indianapolis 500, Mr. Wood also decided that the season 
would be his last. After the season ended at Rockingham with the 
victory at the American 500, he went home to Stuart. While still 
following the sport and supporting his brothers who continued racing, 
he never attended another NASCAR race. Instead, he filled his life with 
his church, Pentecostal Holiness, and his garden, where he grew 
flowers, tended to his honeybees, and kept goldfish.
  I offer my condolences to Ray Lee Wood's loved ones on their loss.

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