Rainy Friday Means Blaney Will Start Seventh At Martinsville

f60e28532b3f731a7c00f5d56a7e1870-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will be among the insiders when the green flag drops on Sunday to start the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

When rains washed out qualifying on Friday, the starting field for Sunday was set based on the current points standings, which means Blaney will start seventh, on the preferred inside lane.

On Martinsville’s tight, half-mile oval, drivers on the inside for starts and restarts have an advantage over those starting on the outside, as the inside groove is the fast way around.

Blaney and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane teammates also believe they have a Ford Fusion fast enough to capitalize on both a preferred starting spot and one of the better pit stalls, as teams at the top of the starting order get the first picks on pit stalls.

124eb051aa7a889231b14273eabef756-1 In Friday’s practice session, Blaney and his crew worked on both qualifying and race trim. His best lap at 94.822 miles per hour was seventh best on the speed chart.

“Ryan and the team practiced really well in both race and qualifying trim,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “We’ll practice again tomorrow and know more about where we are, but it’ll certainly be a big help to be starting on the inside here at Martinsville.”

In an earlier media session at Martinsville, Blaney talked about how important it is to start up front at that track.

“I think the biggest thing here is qualifying up front to make sure you’re up front at the beginning of the race and try and stay there,” he said. “That’s where it’s the cleanest and away from trouble. That’s something that we’ve put a big emphasis on, trying to qualify up front at this place, so you’re not mid-pack; that’s where things go down.

“That’s half the battle here.”

The STP 500 is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. Sunday with TV coverage on FoxSports 1.