Unbuckled: Getting to Know Brett Wood


Hometown: Georgia, VT

Division: Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers

Car: Manpower Services, LLC #29 Chevy Monte Carlo

2018 Season: 14th in Flying Tiger points; 1 top-5 and 2 top-10 finishes


What are your favorite hobbies outside of racing?

Outside of racing, I’d say my number one is deer hunting, by far. It’s even a close first between deer hunting and racing, to be honest with you.

How’d this past season go for you?

Outstanding. We went to three states – New York, Ohio, and Vermont, and it was just fabulous. Me and my son traveled around a bit and had a great year. I’ve hunted Vermont my whole life, but Ohio’s become one of my stops. I have some friends down there, and we make a trip down for bow season and gun season. We probably spend about a month in Ohio between both seasons. It’s become a 5-year home for me.

What do you do for work?

I own and operate Manpower Services, LLC with my wife. We’re commercial contractors. We do pretty much every part of commercial construction – we go from the demolition, to the rebuild, to the finish. And we’ll assist larger companies with big projects they have going on all over the state along with some in New Hampshire. We’re constantly looking for new workers because we have so many projects going on. It’s a luxury problem, that’s for sure.

What are your racing plans for 2019? Do you have any goals?

We’ll be racing the full season at Thunder Road in the Tigers again. We only missed one race this past year. It was our first year at the track, and we had a catastrophic rear-end problem in the last practice before the first race. So we ended up missing that, but we finished every race all season long aside from that one. So we’ll be back again this year for our second year. It’s the same car – a new body, obviously, because we beat the old one up pretty good, along with some other new parts. My goals would be just to improve. I think we finished 14th in points last year, and top-10 is my goal this year. Mainly, we just want to make improvements and learn. We learned a ton this year. It was my first year in a Tiger car. We went right from a 4-cylinder to a Renegade into a Tiger, so it was a big learning curve.

What was the highlight of the 2018 season for you?

It’s hard to pick one, because every week up there for me being part of Thunder Road was just outstanding. I’ve raced at a lot of tracks, but at Thunder Road, every Thursday night I just couldn’t look forward to enough. I’ve never looked forward to racing as much as I did last year at Thunder Road. As far as anything that stuck out, it’s tough. The Milk Bowl weekend was outstanding – we were awful, but we had a lot of fun. I think just being around the racing community every week is what I looked forward to. I can’t separate one from another because I loved every week.

It’s great to hear when people are having fun at the track regardless how they do.

This was the first year it was that for me. We’ve always been pretty successful in racing, and this was our first year at Thunder Road, and we struggled. We had a tough time. But with the crew I had, which was my son and a couple other good friends, it just turned into a good time regardless of what we did. We always found the good in everything – even a bad night.

What was it like coming to a new track and learning it compared to where you had been racing before?

It was half the size, for starters. I came from Devil’s Bowl, which was half a mile. On top of that, there were twice as many cars – even close to three times as many cars on some nights. I don’t know if I was going as fast, but I think just the total tightness of the racing is the toughest part. It’s a smaller track, and it just seemed like everything happened a lot quicker. I was a little shell-shocked the first couple races at how fast the track actually is. I think the amount of cars, the people you’re racing with, was definitely the toughest part for me going into it. I watched Thunder Road racing, and I’d raced a few Enduros there also, but to be out there racing with that Flying Tiger division was awesome for sure – and tough.

How did you get started in racing?

I’ve been racing for probably 12 years – mostly Enduros. I started with Enduro cars. I’ve won championships in full divisions of Enduros. That’s pretty much where it got started – just me and my kids puttering around in junk cars and putting them together. We’d just pop into them whenever we could. We’d go to as many Enduros as possible. It was around four years ago that we actually started racing regularly. But we’ve raced every year for at least 12 or 13 years.

You see a lot of people racing weekly now at age 13 or 14, whereas you came into racing at…we’ll call it a more “experienced” age. What has it been like for you getting into it later than most people do?

That’s definitely the funny part. The last two years at Devil’s Bowl, I won Rookie of the Year as a 44- and a 45-year-old. I was racing with a bunch of kids. Being older and coming into it, it’s one of those things where these guys are quick young. And they’ve been doing it on that track longer than I have, for sure. So coming as a older guy and being somewhat of a rookie to it, it keeps you humble.

How do you think it might have been different for you if you’d gotten into racing at a younger age?

I’d probably be better than I am. (Laughs)

Can you tell me about your family?

I’ve been with my wife since she was 15 and I was 16. I have two sons. My oldest boy is Corey – he’s 25. And Zach is 23. Zach’s a big part of racing. He’s with me every week at Thunder Road. Corey took the fast car route – he like street cars. We have a place down in North Carolina that my wife loves. She hates the winters in Vermont and spends a lot of time down there, and I get down there when I can in between racing and working. My whole family is a big part of racing every Thursday night.

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment to be?

I’d say it’s my business. We started Manpower Services when we were young – I was 25 years old when I got done with the job I was at and decided to start my own business. So I think it’s where I came from there, with a single truck and being by myself working, up to now where we’ve had as many as 50 employees working. My business would probably be mine and my wife’s biggest accomplishment.

Do you have anyone that you consider a role model or that you look up to?

Probably my uncle. I didn’t have a father around, so my uncle was kind of the guy that I looked to for advice and to keep me on the right track most of the time.

What’s the most memorable trip or vacation you ever went on?

It was probably the first time I went to Florida with my family when the kids were young. We went to Disney World.

Who enjoyed it more – you or the kids?

I think it was a full boat. We all did, for sure. Just being there with my family was pretty cool – just for us all to see something we’d never seen, where we didn’t realize how big the world was until then.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Geez, I don’t really know. That’s actually the toughest question I’d had. (Laughs) I honestly can’t think of one that I’d even like to have. My life is just good as it is. I guess it would be not to age and stay young.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Dishonesty. I don’t like dishonesty. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves – I don’t like when people tell me something and then not follow through on it. I’m a man of my word, and I tend to stick other people on that level. I usually get very disappointed when it turns out they’re not.

What are the top three items on your bucket list?

Right now, I think one of them is get a trophy at Thunder Road. That’s definitely one of them. I came close last year when I finished fourth at the Mid-Season Championships. I ran third most of the race, and I think with three laps left, there was a late caution. Then Mike Martin passed me and I ended up fourth. So one would be a Thunder Road trophy. I guess another is just to continue to be successful in business. And good health would be the third.

I remember that Mid-Season Championship event. You were running third and Robert Gordon was second, and was cool to see two guys up there that hadn’t been all season.

Yeah, we had kind of checked out, and life was good. Then I think somebody parked it in the infield and brought out a caution, and it was just enough for Mike to get by me. It was devastating and very awesome at the same time. I was not disappointed by any means, but it was really close to that third place we’ve been working our tail off to get. So it’s on my list.

Finish this sentence: on a Friday night, you’ll typically find me….

In the race shop. I’m just about religiously in the race shop on Friday nights all year. Me and Zach are there. He races also, so between his car, my car, and all other projects, our shop is often a 5-night or 6-night a week deal – we almost live there. But Friday nights are definitely where it’s at.

Who is your biggest fan at the track?

My son Zach. He wants to succeed as much as I do, and I think racing is just in both of us so much, that at the end of the day, he’s probably the guy pulling the hardest for me. A close second would be my niece Neviah. She’s a huge fan, too.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on your racing career?

I’ll go to my son Zach on that one, too. We both got wrapped up in it years ago, and he’s always been with me on racing, and it got in his blood. I see so many young guys out there going different directions, and this kid never has. He just lives and breathes racing as much as I do. It’s just been a big part of both of us.

If you could pass along one piece of advice or a life lesson to your younger self, what would it be?

It would be to take in the good things a little bit more and not let them pass. I think of all the little moments in life. Racing is huge for us, obviously, and you just need to live in all those moments. As you get older, they go by a little faster. Life happens quick. It doesn’t seem like it, but all of a sudden you’re in your mid-40’s wondering where the time went.

Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?

Racing. Racing and healthy – that’s where I’d like to see myself.

What would you do with your life if you never had to worry about money again?

That’s another tough one. I would probably still work. I hate to slow down too much, I like to be moving, and I enjoy what we do. I’d absolutely be racing, too. And I’m not sure I would go anywhere else to race. This Flying Tiger division is just awesome. I’ve thought about Late Models, and it’s never really appealed to me. I’m not saying it won’t someday, but with the Tigers, it seems like I’ve found a car and a division that I really like to be in. I enjoy it, and that’s the only reason I do it.