Wood wins Driver of the Year honors, earns three track titles and national crown
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January 6, 2007  |  by Tony Paris

OTTUMWA, Iowa -- When Nathan Wood entered the 2006 season he never thought it would turn out as good as it did. The Keswick, Iowa, resident was planning to run his USRA Hobby Stock, sell it and focus on the USRA Stock Car division. But when things started falling into place with wins in the Hobby Stock, and nobody interested in buying the car, Wood’s team decided to run it until it was sold. The wins started coming and the chase for the USRA Casey’s General Store Weekly Racing Series National Championship was going to be something attainable. So the chase was on with support from his parents, Deke and Susie Wood, and fiancé Kimi Jo Sheetz, along with his sister Amanda and several friends.

In addition to scoring 31 wins in 68 nights of racing, the hard work showed with only four DNFs in all of 2006.

Wood’s season kicked off at the always-tough Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa, with Wood doing double duty in both the USRA Hobby Stock and USRA Stock Car divisions. On April 8, the season kicked off with Wood taking his first win in the Hobby Stock and 10th in the Stock Car main event. His consistency continued through 26 events run at the Mahaska County Half-Mile Monster with 13 wins, 15 second-place finishes and 22 top-fives. His effort was good enough to take the 2006 track championship in the USRA Hobby Stock division. Wood also finished seventh in the final USRA Stock Car standings at the track.

The second night of racing each week for Wood was a venture to the Mountain Dew Bloomfield (Iowa) Speedway to compete in the Kirkland Auto USRA Hobby Stock division. Wood remained locked in a tight points battle all season with defending track champion Ben Jones. Wood found victory lane five times in 2006, with seven second-place finishes, 14 top-five finishes and 17 top-ten finishes during 20 nights of racing action. On Season Championship night, Wood’s second-place finish behind Bill Gibson was good enough to put the 2006 track championship in the bag.

Each week, the No. 52 team made the long trip to the Pepsi Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Mo., and the team made it pay off with 11 victory lane visits in 19 nights of racing in the USRA Hobby Stock division. Wood finished in the bridesmaid spot one time, alogn with 17 top-five finishes and all 19 nights among the top-ten. This was Wood’s first full season at the Pepsi Scotland County Speedway, yet it was his best win percentage out of the three tracks he competed at, and was good enough to take his third track championship.

After three nights of racing, Wood and his team saw their labors pay off with the USRA Casey’s General Stores Weekly Racing Series National Championship in the Hobby Stock division.

On Friday night, Jan. 5, RL Promotions honored the drivers from all three tracks at the Hotel Ottumwa (Iowa) with a large crowd on hand for the awards celebration. Family, friends and sponsors were on hand to see Wood take home a truckload of hardware. A special award from promoter Todd Staley and RL Promotions presented Wood with the first-ever Driver of the Year Award, honoring him as the most heralded competitor among the trio of RL Promotions facilities. Wood thanked his family, Bear from the Roost Tavern of Keota, his sister Amanda for putting up with him through the years, her boyfriend Steven Seely and his future bride for her patience. Wood also thanked his parents supporting his racing efforts.

Sponsors that help make the 2006 season a success for Wood includes Roost Tavern in Keota, Hammes Bulldozing, B & H Excavating, B & L Welding, Engine Works, Schroeder Frame and Alignment, Pro-Line Buildings, Long John Silvers, Sigourney Fast Stop, Seeley Photography, Sigourney Body Shop, Van Dee Bins, Heinold, Brubaker Trucking, Axmear Fabricating, Ogden Oil Co., Sigourney Tractor, Larry's Alignment, Keoco Auction, Country and More, Mi Ranchito, Herr Farms, Benny's Feed, Mark & Trudy, Grandpa John, The Edmundsons, John & Shirley Linder, Beckie and Shane, Grandma & Grandpa Homan, Grandma & Grandpa Axmear, Julie & Matt, Aunt Virginia, Mom & Dad and the Sheetz Family.

The 2007 season will be quite different for Wood with the championship winning car being sold and it’s new home is in Western Iowa -- a relief for several drivers in the Southeastern Iowa region. Wood’s focus will be behind the wheel of a new USRA Stock Car for 2007.



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