Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 SKF Ford team were faster than 35 other teams in Sprint Cup Series practice on Friday at Chicagoland Speedway. While they had impressive speed they couldn’t outrun the rain, and with qualifying for the myAfibRisk.com 400 cancelled because of a downpour, Blaney and the SKF Ford team will miss Sunday’s race.
Because the Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford team does not run a full schedule, it is not eligible for a starting spot in the event rain washes out qualifying, as those spots are allotted to the car owners highest in the standings and to those who have attempted the most races. Then the starting line-up is set by practice speeds.
It’s the third time this season that the No. 21 Ford Fusion has missed a race due to weather issues on qualifying day, but it’s the first time this year that it’s happened with SKF as the primary sponsor.
For much of the day on Friday at Chicagoland, the outlook was bright for the SKF team, performance-wise, although weather issues were on everyone’s mind throughout the day.
That was before heavy rains forced NASCAR to call off qualifying.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said Blaney, crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the rest of the SKF team have nothing to hang their heads about.
“Finishing the practice session in position ninth-quick speaks for itself,” Wood said. “We had a fast Ford Fusion. It just wasn’t meant to be for us to race this weekend.
I hate it for SKF and for Ford Motor Company. We always want to be able to represent them well on race day, but we can’t control the weather.”
Blaney and the Wood Brothers will return to the Sprint Cup Series on Oct. 10 for the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with PPG as primary sponsor.
SKF, the Knowledge Engineering Company, manufactures bearings, seals, mechatronics, and lubrication systems. The company also offers a broad scope of services that include technical support; maintenance and reliability services; engineering consulting; and training. Other SKF Group Brands include Lincoln Industrial, specializing in centralized lubrication systems, Kaydon and Cooper specialty bearings, and ACE motion control products. Today the SKF Group has +50 production facilities in North America and is present in more than 130 countries, with 15,000 distributor locations worldwide. Annual sales in 2014 were $8.5 billion and the number of employees was 48,593. For more information about SKF and its complete range of products and services, visit www.skf.com.