Woodland, from Templeton, built his first race car, a jalopy, in 1958 at age 15. In 1963, driver Mark Ward drove his supermodified to the top 20 in NASCAR national points. In 1964, Woodland turned 21 and raced for the first time, with a best feature finish in NASCAR competition at Fresno, California’s Kearney Bowl.
After military service, Woodland drove a California Racing Association sprint car at Ascot Park in Gardena, but with a growing family, turned owner and hired Frank Secrist and Jim Eiland. (Secrist was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year and Richard gave the speech recognizing his efforts.)
Later, Woodland teamed with Billy Wilkerson. Their drivers included P.J. Jones, Rip Williams and Ron Shuman, who won the initial SCRA championship for the team. Woodland entered the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. in 1991 and continued with his son, Rich Jr. In 55 races, they won once (at Phoenix in 1998) and finished fifth in the 1995 standings. They also entered several NASCAR premier series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series events.
Anyone familiar with Richard Woodland knows what a proud and humble man he is. In learning he had been nominated to the Hall of Fame, he said, “I have mixed emotions that run from being somewhat embarrassed to being extremely honored to be named along with some on the list. Whether I am voted in or not, I am deeply honored to be considered for the distinction. The following is a partial list of others nominated: George Follmer; Tommy Kendall; Boris Said; Tom Gloy; JD Gibbs; and Marshall Sargent. If you follow sports car and stock car racing at all, these are all major players.”
Five inductees will be named Sunday, March 11, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 21 at the Meritage Resort in Napa, California.
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