The race belonged to Brad Keselowski, but the day belonged the Glenn Wood and the entire Wood family. Prior to driver introductions, Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell stepped to the microphone, welcomed the fans and then brought up the Wood family up on stage for a special presentation.
Fans knew something was up because Glenn Wood's old-fashioned No. 16 “Backseater” modified was camped out in Turn 1 in front of the grandstands, but nobody knew, even the Wood family, what was about to happen next.
After introducing the entire Wood Family and saying a few kind words about the late Wood Brothers Racing team founder, Campbell announced that the grandstand in Turn 1 would from-here-on-out be the “Glenn Wood Tower."
Glenn Wood became just the fourth person to have his name on a tower on the Martinsville Speedway grandstands. The others are H. Clay Earles, the founder of Martinsville Speedway, Richard Petty and Bill France.
Leonard Wood followed the presentation by driving Glenn Wood’s car to lead the pace laps.
“This is a really cool deal,” the team’s Twitter posted. “Such a unique and awesome thing they’ve done.”
The honor was the capper to a memorable week in memory of Glenn Wood. The team museum in Stuart hosted a tribute for the team founder, with hundreds of people in attendance. This tribute had many more fans and succeeded in paying tribute to one of the most respected men and families in NASCAR.
When the race began, it was back to business for the No. 21 team, as Paul Menard began Sunday’s STP 500 in 14th position. Menard and the Wood Brothers Racing team ran a clean race, avoiding any major damage throughout the night and walked away in 15th position.
“Nothing really bad happened, we had ok speed at times, just didn’t have the speed on the last run,” the team posted to Twitter following the race. “Paul ran a clean race… just didn’t have the speed at the end.”
Sunday was Menard’s third time racing the team’s home track in Martinsville since joining the Stuart-based racing team. Menard placed 13th in the STP 500 last year, and then 22nd in the First Data 500 in the fall.
Menard fell to 18th relatively quickly, which is where he finished Stage 1 and began Stage 2. Menard had great speed off of the restart and moved up the as high as 11th before falling back to where he essentially lived the whole race.
Eleventh was the best position Menard held all race, but he never fell in danger of being lapped by the leaders.
The No. 21 car ended Stage 2 in 17th and began Stage 3 in 18th. Menard moved back up towards the top 10 after a late restart, but could only get as high as 13th before eventually settling for 15th in the end.