Economy forces Wood Brothers to reduce 2009 Cup schedule

NEW YORK -- The legendary Wood Brothers organization will run only 12 Sprint Cup races next season.

Eddie Wood, co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing, said tough economic times have forced the organization to enter only the season-opening Daytona 500 and mile-and-a-half tracks with Bill Elliott, the 1985 Cup champion.

The mile-and-a-half tracks were picked because Ford's program is strongest there.

"We could run up to 20 but we decided to do 12 and do it right," Wood said Saturday. "We're going back to doing it the way we did it years ago."

The organization used to pick and choose races in the early years. It ran only 18 races in 1973, with David Pearson, who won 11 of them.

Wood said the organization, which lost Air Force as a sponsor to Gillett Evernham Motorsports, had to let 22 employees go to reduce the team to about 40.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.