Nancy Wilds Wood, wife of NASCAR team owner, brought her “huge heart” to the race
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Nancy Wilds Wood was not born into the oldest NASCAR Cup Series team, but she was essential to upholding the family values of Wood Brothers Racing.
She spent 40 years married to Len Wood and was a constant presence on the racetrack traveling with the family farm. Although Wilds Wood did not hold an official team title, at least one member of the motorsport industry, Winston Kelley, referred to her as a member of NASCAR’s “unofficial host committee” because of her career. real kindness.
“She was one of those people who welcomed anyone into the industry,” said Kelley, who met Wilds Wood when he was a reporter for PRN. Kelley then worked closely with Wilds Wood and the family in his role as executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the upscale neighborhoods of Charlotte.
“If you can’t get along with Nancy Wood then you have to look at yourself in the mirror,” he said.
This is probably why, when Wilds Wood, 64, died on December 11 in Huntersville after a 2.5-year battle with a rare form of colon cancer, titans of the NASCAR world, such as Edsel Ford II, Jim France, Mike Helton and Lesa France Kennedy, sent their condolences to the family or showed up in person for his memorial service.
“It was pretty amazing how many people reached out,” said Len Wood. “Nancy tried to help people and never asked for anything in return.”
Wilds Wood’s son Keven Wood also highlighted this generous trait from his mother.
“She just had this character about her where she was lighting up a room,” he said. “She had such a huge heart. She would do whatever she could to help anyone she could.
Len and Keven pointed out other facts about Wilds Wood that demonstrated his gentle nature. For example, she graduated from Averett University in Danville, Va. With a degree in social work, and helped children involved in domestic disputes before mastering her role as a full-time mother when their family lived in Stuart. , Virginia.
While Len was on the track on weekends leading the NASCAR team his father, Glen, started in 1950, Wilds Wood was the ultimate “racing mom” to raise Keven, Len said. She also volunteered at a hospice and, like most of the family, always lent a hand unwrapping T-shirts and die-casts to be signed by the famous pilots who raced for the Canadian team. Wood Brothers. She also led tours to the Wood Brothers Racing Museum in Stuart, her hometown.
“I like to say that she was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside,” Len said.
Wilds Wood and family split their time between Stuart and the Charlotte area after the team moved their store after the 2003 season. Wilds Wood loved to travel, according to family members, and Daytona Beach, Fla., Was one of his favorite places.
“She loved Daytona,” Keven said. “She loved shopping. She liked to go out to eat. She loved her time at the beach. But more importantly, she loved being with her family.
The only thing she put above family, according to Keven, was God. Wilds Wood was a devout Christian who was comforted by her faith in her dying minutes. Keven recalled the conversation with his mother in intensive care after doctors told him that nothing more could be done to save her.
“She looked at me and said, ‘OK, I’m ready. I am delighted to see paradise, ”said Keven. “No fear at all … My mother was facing death and she was not afraid because she knew exactly where she was going.”
This conversation inspired Keven, who has helped care for her since her diagnosis in April 2019.
“I was like, ‘If she can do it without fear, you can also get out of this and you’ll be fine,” he said. “It’s my mother who lives inside of me.”
Len Wood said what particularly marked her later years was that even through hundreds of doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy treatments and a seizure of septic shock that left her hospitalized for more. 40 days, “she put that aside and insisted on making sure everyone was okay,” he said.
“She was one of a kind.”
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