Legendary NASCAR team Wood Brothers back full-time in 2016

Legendary NASCAR team Wood Brothers will contest its first full Sprint Cup campaign since 2008 with Penske protege Ryan Blaney next year

Legendary NASCAR team Wood Brothers back full-time in 2016

The squad is the oldest active NASCAR team, having been racing in the category - always with Ford machinery - since 1950.

It is one of the most successful teams in NASCAR history, with its heyday coming with David Pearson in the 1970s.

The Wood Brothers team was also hired by Lotus to run Jim Clark's Indianapolis 500 effort in 1965, a partnership that resulted in victory, and the squad dominated NASCAR's early road course races with Dan Gurney as its driver.

Although it has only been a minor player in the 21st century, Wood Brothers took a shock fifth Daytona 500 win with rookie Trevor Bayne in 2011, 35 years after Pearson claimed its previous success in NASCAR's premier race.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood announced the full-time 2016 programme on Friday ahead of this weekend's season finale at Homestead.

"We are beyond excited to make this announcement about going back to full time competition," he said.

"It has been something we've worked toward since 2009 when we started running limited schedules.

"I have to thank Ford's Dave Pericak and Raj Nair, Edsel Ford, our technical alliance partners Team Penske and Roush Yates Engines, as well as everyone at [sponsor] Motorcraft, for working with us to make this day possible.

"It'll be fun to see just how good Ryan Blaney, [crew chief] Jeremy Bullins and our team can be over a full season."

Blaney has two top 10 finishes, headlined by a fourth at Talladega, from his half-season with Wood Brothers as a Cup rookie this year.

Ford Motor Company board member Edsel B Ford II said the Woods' return to full-time competition was a momentous occasion for his firm's NASCAR programme.

"This is a day everyone has looked forward to," he said.

"The Wood Brothers represent everything that is great about this sport - tradition, family, loyalty, competition.

"When we asked them to regroup and consider going part-time in 2009, it was always with an eye on getting back to this day. And we are thrilled it is finally here."

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