By Ben White
For nearly 70 years, Wood Brothers Racing has built the iconic No. 21 into one of the most successful car numbers in NASCAR history.
Late into the 1965 season, team owner Glen Wood fielded the team’s customary maroon and white paint scheme on a second entry out of his Stuart, Va. shop. His choice of driver was fellow Virginia native Curtis Turner, a longtime popular star that had been banned from NASCAR since 1961 due to a dispute with its founder, Bill France Sr., over driver unionization.
As a way to boost attendance, France finally agreed to reinstate Turner at Darlington’s Southern 500 on Sept. 6, 1965. Turner returned there in Sam Fletcher’s Plymouth, followed by two more starts with team owner Junior Johnson at Hickory and Richmond before joining Wood Brothers Racing at Martinsville, North Wilkesboro, Charlotte and Rockingham.
“When Curtis came back to NASCAR in 1965, we used the No. 41 on his car because he used it during his early modified days,” said NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief Leonard Wood. “We just decided that would be a good number for him. It was his number back when he ran his own modifieds years earlier. We were able to win with Curtis at Rockingham that year.
“We also had Swede Savage and A.J. Foyt drive the No. 41 in a few races for us.”