As Eddie Wood heads to Daytona International Speedway for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400, the co-owner of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion driven by Ryan Blaney figures there’s no better time to be campaigning a Ford Fusion.
Ford drivers have won seven of the 16 Monster Energy Cup races so far this season including two of the past three, one of them being Blaney’s win at Pocono three weeks ago and the other Kevin Harvick’s triumph at Sonoma on Sunday.
And when it comes to racing on a restrictor-plate track like Daytona, the Blue Oval contingent has been especially strong of late.
At Daytona, Ford drivers have won two straight races and four of the past six. They’ve been even more successful at Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway, with four-straight victories and wins in five of the past six races there.
The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion also has had some impressive runs on restrictor-plate races in recent years. Trevor Bayne drove the No. 21 Fusion to victory in the 2011 Daytona 500, and Blaney was runner-up to fellow Ford driver Kurt Busch in the most recent 500.
In February, Blaney started the sport’s showcase race from 40th position in a back-up car after his primary was damaged in his Can-Am Duel qualifying race.
But after just 26 laps he was in the top five. Involvement in two multi-car crashes challenged the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crewmembers as they had to deal with the newly instituted five-minute repair clock, which gives teams just five minutes to get a damaged car up to speed or the car is retired from the event.
The repairs were both quick and successful as Blaney worked his way into contention in the closing laps. He saved his best work for the last lap as he charged forward from outside the top five, using drafting help from fellow Ford driver Joey Logano to take the runner-up spot.
“We had a really good race in February, and we’re hoping to do as well this weekend,” Wood said, adding that his team has been fortunate to win eight July races at Daytona with drivers David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett and Buddy Baker.
Qualifying for the Coke Zero 400 is set for Friday at 4:10 p.m., and the race is schedule to start just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on NBC.