Author Archives: Jordan Wood

Blaney Going For Not-So-Rare Pocono Sweep

7a743200980c271c263621f4cca9b429-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team head back to Pocono Raceway this weekend hoping for a repeat of their performance there on June 11 when Blaney scored his first career Cup win and the Wood Brothers’ 99th.

A sweep of the season’s races at Pocono isn’t all that uncommon. Bobby Allison did it in 1982, Bill Elliott followed in 1985, the late Tim Richmond did it in 1986, as did Bobby Labonte in 1999, Jimmie Johnson in 2004, Denny Hamlin in 2006 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2014.

“If we were to pull it off on Sunday that would put us in a pretty nice group to be in,” said Eddie Wood, co-owner of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion.

Wood pointed out that also in Blaney’s favor is his strong run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday as Indianapolis and Pocono have similar characteristics including long straightaways and low banking in the turns.

“We had a really fast car at Indy,” Wood said. “We didn’t get the finish we thought we could have there, so we’d like to have a good run and get some points at Pocono.”
With the two Pocono races being just a few weeks apart, the notes from June should apply this time around as well, which gives crew chief Jeremy Bullins a chance to apply what he learned in June as well as what worked well at Indianapolis on Sunday.

Wood cautioned that there are few sure things in the sport, and there’s no guarantee that the No. 21 Fusion will be as fast as it was last month.

“For whatever reason, the second Pocono race is usually different from the first,” he said.

One major difference is in the weekend schedule.

The opening practice session is Saturday at 9 a.m., and the second and final “Happy Hour” practice is at 11:30 on Saturday. Then on Sunday morning, qualifying begins at 11:30 a.m., and the race is scheduled to begin just after 3 p.m. with TV coverage for both qualifying and the race on NBCSN.

Wood Brothers Racing and Paul Menard Team Up Beginning in 2018

Wood Brothers Racing Logo

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STUART, VA (July 26, 2017) – Wood Brothers Racing, the oldest active NASCAR team and one of the winningest teams in series history, and veteran driver Paul Menard, will join forces for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENSC) season, the two parties announced today. The new partnership will see the team continue to compete full time for the coming seasons with Menard driving the legendary No. 21 Ford Fusion.

Menards, the industry-leading home improvement store company, will sponsor the No. 21 Ford for 22 MENCS races.  Additional sponsorship, including plans for long-time partner Motorcraft/Quick Lane, will be announced at a later date.

“It’s fantastic to have the ability to continue to race in the highest level of motorsports full-time and something we look forward to doing with Paul for years to come,” said Eddie Wood. “I know this will allow us to continue to perform as an organization and will give Paul a great opportunity to go out there and compete for wins. Paul is not only a great driver with a lot of experience in the Cup Series, but he’s great with partners, which is a big part of what we do these days. We are looking forward to finishing out this season with Ryan (Blaney), going for more wins and maybe even a championship, and continuing that with Paul in 2018.”

Over the course of its history, the Wood Brothers Racing team has amassed 99 MENCS victories, the most recent coming this season with current driver Ryan Blaney at Pocono Raceway. Legendary drivers such as AJ Foyt, David Pearson, Curtis Turner, Tiny Lund, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett, Buddy Baker and Dale Jarrett have all earned victories for the team. Both Glen and Leonard Wood have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The team’s relationship with Roush-Yates Engines and the technical partnership with fellow Ford Performance organization, Team Penske, will also continue in 2018.

Menard has competed full-time in MENCS since the 2007 season. He won the 2011 Brickyard 400 at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway and qualified for NASCAR’s Playoffs in 2015. In addition to his Cup Series victory at Indianapolis, Menard has also earned three NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) wins over the course of his career.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in NASCAR and as a Cup Series driver, but to get the chance to drive the iconic No. 21 for the Wood Brothers is the coolest thing I’ve ever got a chance to do,” said Menard. “I’m looking forward to working with the team, working with Roush Yates, Ford Performance and Team Penske to see what we can do. Ryan (Blaney) has done a fantastic job and is a constant threat to run up front. Hopefully, we can do the same thing and keep the momentum going into 2018 and beyond.”

In addition, Menard will run a handful of NXS races for Team Penske beginning in 2018.

The 2018 MENCS season will begin Feb. 18 with the 60th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

 

 

Wood Brothers Racing

Wood Brothers Racing was formed in 1950 in Stuart, Va., by Hall of Famer Glen Wood. Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active team and one of the winningest teams in NASCAR history. Since its founding, the team won 99 races (including at least one race in every decade for the last seven decades) and 117 poles in NASCAR’s top-tier series. Fielding only Ford products for its entire history, the Wood Brothers own the longest association of any motorsports team with a single manufacturer. Glen’s brother, Leonard, is known for inventing the modern pit stop. The team currently runs the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion driven by Ryan Blaney in the famous No. 21 racecar.

About Menards
With 306 stores in 14 Midwestern states, Menards has the tools, materials and supplies for all your home improvement needs whether just needing a light bulb or can of paint to building a deck or new home. Menards is known throughout the home improvement industry as the low price leader; it’s no wonder their famous slogan – “SAVE BIG MONEY” – is so widely known and easy to remember. Menards does things right – the company’s strength and success can be seen in the well-stocked and maintained stores, the lowest prices in town and the way guests are always treated like family in a hometown hardware store atmosphere. For more information, visit www.menards.com.

 

Late Wrecks Ends Impressive Brickyard Performance For Blaney, Quick Lane Team

IMG_3902 For Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Quick Lane team, the 16 championship points earned via third-place finishes in the first two Stages of Sunday’s Brickyard 400 lessened the pain of a disappointing 23rd-place finish.

When the points were tallied after the race, Blaney had earned 30, the equivalent of a seventh-place finish, despite having his race end prematurely due to his involvement in the mayhem that marked the second half of the race. There were a record 14 caution periods that consumed 55 laps and saw 17 drivers, including Blaney, eliminated with crashed race cars.

But for two-thirds of the race, Blaney and his No. 21 Quick Lane Fusion raced among the top five.

He started 10th and drove his way to fifth place after just five laps. He finished the first 50-lap Stage in third place, earning eight points. A strategy call by crew chief Jeremy Bullins to pit earlier than the rest of the leaders midway through Stage Two eventually led to Blaney leading six laps and scoring another third-place Stage finish and collecting another eight points.

Blaney continued to race among the top five until a series of multi-car crashes changed the complexion of the race and saw Blaney involved in two incidents, the second of which took him out of the race with five laps remaining in a race that was extended by seven laps due to crashes.

“We were good, running top five all day long, and the strategy worked great and I thought we were on the right side of things,” Blaney said in his post-race comments. “Then the yellows came out and gave the guys who stayed out some breaks to come in and get tires with us and cycle up to the lead.

“Before than we ran good, finished third in the first two stages. That gives us confidence to that we have our cars where they need to be going forward.”

Blaney added that his Fusion was the best ride he’s had at Indy during his brief Cup career.

“We had a really great car, definitely the best car I’ve had in three years at Indy,” he said. “I can’t thank the Wood Brothers, Motorcraft and Quick Lane for all they do.

“It was a lot of fun all day running up near the front. Now we’ll go to Pocono which is a good track for us.”

Blaney remains in 12th place in the points standings heading to Pocono Raceway, where on June 11 he got his first career Cup victory and the 99th for his Wood Brothers team

Blaney Puts Quick Lane Ford Fusion Among The Top 10 In Indy Qualifying

64f8dace7a49a997e22189ead77a365c-1Ryan Blaney advanced through the three rounds of qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday and earned the 10th starting spot for Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

It was his 14th top-10 qualifying effort in 20 races this season and his sixth in the past seven races.

Blaney’s No. 21 Quick Lane Ford Fusion was among the fastest cars throughout the day on Saturday. He was eighth fastest in the opening practice with a best lap at 184.453 miles per hour then posted the third-best lap in the second and final session with a lap at 185.816 mph.

In qualifying he was 10th in the opening round with a lap at 185.935 mph. In Round Two, he was 12th fastest with a lap at 184.657 mph. He turned a lap at 184.615 mph in the final round to secure 10th place in the starting order.

“It’s not a bad starting spot,” Blaney said in his post-qualifying comments. “It’s a good place to go on Sunday.

f9b0af1ac7867bda8b238928aedd75c2-1 “I thought we got a little better from the second to third round, and that’s good. We slowed down and probably didn’t make the best adjustment after the first round.”

Still, he and the Quick Lane team get one of the better picks of pit stalls and will start the race with good track position.

“It’s good to start toward the front,” Blaney said. “That’s what we always talk about.”

The Brickyard 400 is set to get the green flag just after 2:30 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.

Glen Wood’s 92nd Birthday Gathering Sets The Tone For Quick Lane Team’s Trip To Indy

21_IndyEach year, when the Wood Brothers, their driver Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Quick Lane team roll into Indianapolis Motor Speedway to compete in the Brickyard 400, they find themselves in awe of that track and the people who have competed there over the years.

It’s especially true this year because on Tuesday, at team founder Glen Wood’s 92nd birthday celebration in Stuart, Va., there was Indy history all around.

There with Glen Wood were his brothers Leonard, Delano and Ray Lee, who worked the pits in 1965 as Jim Clark delivered Ford its first Indy 500 victory.

Also in attendance was Donnie Allison, who remains the most successful driver to do the Indy 500/World 600 double, although in his era those races were run on different days.

Allison, who ran 11 races for the Wood Brothers in NASCAR’s elite series, won the 600 on May 24, 1970 driving a Ford for Banjo Matthews. Then on May 30 he finished fourth at Indy and won Rookie of the Year honors.

The next year, Allison finished sixth at Indy on May 29 then drove the Wood Brothers’ Mercury to a second-place finish at Charlotte the next day. The driver who finished ahead of Allison at Charlotte that day was his brother Bobby, who also was on hand in Stuart on Tuesday.

Bobby Allison also made two Indy 500 starts, both in Ford-powered cars fielded by Roger Penske, whose NASCAR teams now have an alliance with the Wood Brothers and their current driver Ryan Blaney.

The birthday party attendees included NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Inman, Rex White and Richard Petty, who has been a car owner for both the IndyCar and NASCAR races at Indianapolis.

IMG_7945-1For Eddie Wood, one of the current co-owners of the No. 21 Quick Lane Ford, the gathering in Stuart was a rare coming together of NASCAR legends who have combined to win 11 championships and more than 400 races in NASCAR’s elite series alone.

“There was so much history in that room,” he said. “There were six NASCAR Hall of Fame members, three of my dad’s brothers and his sister Crystal, and about 100 more family members and friends.

“I can’t think of a better way to set ourselves up for this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which in addition to being a great race track is one of the most iconic places in the world.

“I hope we can go up there and have a great race for Quick Lane by capitalizing on the speed we’ve had so far this season.”

Qualifying for the Brickyard 400 is set for Saturday at 6:15 p.m., and the race is set to get the green flag just after 2:30 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.

Blaney Moves To 12th In Points Despite 19th-Place Finish At New Hampshire

eb9aa6cf9dc5d769fb0ee5500b83a37f-1Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team got off to a good start in Sunday’s 301-lap race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but the second half of the race was more of a challenge with changing track conditions and untimely caution periods.

Blaney wound up a disappointing 19th at the finish, but that was good enough to move up one spot to 12th place in the championship standings.

Blaney took the green flag on Sunday from the 15th position and moved up to 12th place after just six laps. He was still in 12th place when Erik Jones spun just after a restart at Lap 42. That could have been a race-ending incident for the No. 21 team but Blaney, running just behind Jones, slipped by undamaged.

From that point on to the end of Stage One, Blaney ran just outside the top 10. On Lap 69, crew chief Jeremy Bullins called Blaney to the pits for four tires and fuel. Blaney lined up 16th for the three laps of green-flag racing and was able to drive up to eighth place by the end of that stage and collect three bonus points.

Blaney stayed on the track when most of the leaders pitted at the end of the first stage and lined up second for the restart. Subsequent restarts from the bottom lane hindered his progress on restarts, but still he was able to collect three more points for another eighth-place finish in Stage Two.

The third and final stage of the race did not play out as well for the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team as the caution flags didn’t fly at opportune times for the team and the conditions of the track, which was treated with a substance to add grip, changed as well.

A strategy of running longer into the green-flag run following Stage Two didn’t work as planned, and Blaney was unable to rejoin the top 10 for the remainder of the race.

3a7d0e7bc457bb59286b0c8c47f63898-1 “I feel like we started out OK and I thought we made decent gains,” Blaney said in his post-race comments. “About halfway I thought the track changed, and all that [treatment] got off of it.

“We kind of got a little worse. We tried the long run and it didn’t play out for us.

“I didn’t get a great finish out of it. The first half of the day went pretty good. We just need to figure out how to finish out the second half.”

Although Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were hoping for much better than a 19th-place finish, the post-race statistics put the day in a different perspective.

After the points were calculated, they had moved up one spot in the standings to 12th place headed into next week’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It’s hard to be too disappointed when you move up in the points standings,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “It shows the strength of this team that we can gain a spot in the standings on a day like today.

“We’ll take that and go on to Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week and try to capitalize on the speed we’ve had there in the past.”

Blaney To Start 15th At New Hampshire

3a3b3ea53670690e08e96ef95f23f40f-1Most weeks throughout the 2017 season, Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have been able to improve their speed through the rounds of knock-out qualifying.

On Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Blaney and the team experienced a rare drop-off after Round Two and did not advance to the final round for the first time in the past six qualifying sessions. Still, Blaney will line up 15th for Sunday’s 301-lap race.

Overall, Blaney and his No. 21 Fusion had a successful day on Friday. He was fourth fastest in the opening practice, with a best lap at 132.840 miles per hour. That was tops among the Ford contingent.

Then in the opening round of qualifying Blaney was eighth fastest with a lap at 131.724 mph.

In Round Two he was a bit slower, running his lap at 131.352 mph.

In his post-qualifying comments, Blaney said a lack of grip hampered him.

“I thought we were OK the first round and got worse the second round,” he said. “That is unfortunate. That is the first time in a long time that we got worse from round to round.

“It is something we will have to go back and look at. We will see what we have for tomorrow.”

After two practice sessions on Saturday, Sunday’s race is set to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. with TV coverage on NBCSN.

 

Blaney, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Heading To New Hampshire With Playoffs In Mind

13731617_10154069725563145_2282612827147011056_nIn 30 trips to New Hampshire Motor Speedway since the Loudon track started hosting NASCAR’s elite Cup division back in 1993, the Wood Brothers have been runners-up twice but still are seeking their first win there.

Those two finishes, by Morgan Shepherd in 1995 and Ricky Rudd in 2003, came in races that wound up being fairly significant in NASCAR history. Shepherd finished second to Jeff Gordon, who that day earned his first of three career wins at New Hampshire and the seventh of a career that saw him win 93.

Rudd’s runner-up to Jimmie Johnson came in the race that led NASCAR to change its policy of letting drivers race back to the yellow flag. After several drivers barely avoided the crippled car of Dale Jarrett as they raced down the frontstretch to the caution flag, series officials began mandating that drivers slow down as soon as the caution flag flew. They also added a provision that the first driver one lap or more down to the leader gets a free pass or “lucky dog” to get back on the lead lap.

That policy came into play last year at New Hampshire for Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team. In that race, Blaney had a fast car but fell a lap down over the course of 124-lap, green-flag run that opened the race.

Blaney and his crew chief Jeremy Bullins continued to work on the Motorcraft Fusion and were in position to get the free pass when a caution flew at Lap 241. From there, Blaney moved from 17th place to 12th over the final laps to secure his 12th top-12 finish of the season up to that point.

In the first New Hampshire race of 2016 a similar scenario played out, only that time Blaney lost a lap due to a penalty for speeding on pit road.

That time, Bullins called for the wave-around, another option for rejoining the lead lap that was added in 2009, and Blaney was able to drive back to an 11th-place finish.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said another strong run at Loudon will take on added significance this year as Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are headed for the playoffs due to their victory at Pocono Raceway and the next trip to Loudon, in late September, will be the second race of the playoffs.

“The things we learn about the car this weekend should apply when we go back in September,” Wood said. “But we don’t want to look too far down the road. We’re focused on a good finish this weekend, and Ryan and Jeremy showed last year that they can adapt to the New Hampshire track and the relatively short 300-lap races.”

Qualifying at New Hampshire is set for 4:45 p.m. on Friday, and the 301-lap race is scheduled to start just after 3 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Bullins’ Strategy Call Pays Off With Top-10 At Kentucky

3bd21bacbc6717dbee0267eb6d66e28b-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team came away with a top-10 at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night thanks in large part to a true team effort.

The Motorcraft crew started sixth but struggled with a loose-handling car in the early going of the 400-mile run. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins responded with a series of chassis adjustments that allowed Blaney to race among the top 10 as the night went on.

Bullins also made a key strategy decision that led to a strong finish on a night that could have easily ended in disappointment.

After a penalty for speeding on pit road dropped Blaney out of the top 20 midway through the second Stage, Bullins opted to stay on the track during the caution period at the end of that Stage.

That put Blaney in second place for the restart and in position to finish the race with just one more pit stop.

With the adjustments made to the No. 21 Fusion, Blaney was able to maintain a spot in the top six until he pitted under green with 59 of the scheduled 267 laps still to run.

He faded out of the top 10 as the laps wound down, but a caution flag just as the race leader was headed for the white flag set up an overtime finish.

Blaney pitted for two fresh tires, restarted 11th and was running 10th when the race’s final caution froze the field at that point.

It was his seventh top-10 finish in 18 races this season, and gave the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team a boost in momentum after a disappointing end to the race at Daytona a week ago.

“We were fighting a loose condition into the corners early in the race,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “Jeremy [Bullins] took a lot of stabs at correcting it and got it better for the end of the race.”

“And he made a great call to stay out at the end of the second Stage.

“His move worked because the car was fast enough to maintain position the rest of the way.

3bd21bacbc6717dbee0267eb6d66e28b-1 “I’m proud of the whole Motorcraft/Quick Lane team for hanging in there, fighting all night and getting us some points.”

Blaney earned 27 championship points for the night and remains 13th in the standings.

In his post-race comments Blaney agreed that Bullins’ call to stay on the track when the leaders pitted at the end of Stage Two was a pivotal move.

“We made a good call to stay out and get some track position back,” he said. “I think we battled back, and the finish is not bad for how the night went.”

Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team return to action next week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Blaney Leads The Way For Ford In Kentucky Qualifying

d8ac23eb73d399bbf3dea251d4f2f3b3-1Lighting in the vicinity of Kentucky Speedway on Friday evening forced an early end to qualifying and left Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion with the sixth starting position for Saturday night’s race.

His speed was the best of the Ford contingent, which placed three drivers in the top 10.

It was Blaney’s fifth-straight top-10 qualifying performance, his seventh in the past eight races and his 13th top-10 start in 18 tries this season.

As has been the case most weeks this season, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team unloaded a fast Ford Fusion. Blaney was fourth fastest in the two practice sessions on Friday, posting a best lap of 186.059 miles per hour in the first session and running 186.458 mph in the second.

ac8b8c0f77bf79095e06108ad7f1ff01-1 In qualifying, Blaney was seventh fastest in the opening round with a lap at 188.541 mph, then stepped it up to 189.560 mph in the second round.

Lightning forced an end to qualifying before the third round could be run, and the field was set based on second round speeds.

Blaney said he believed he was poised to run an even faster lap in the third round if the weather had cooperated.

“I really wish we could have gotten one more shot at it because we were getting better and better but we didn’t get that third round, which stunk,” he said. “I think our car has really good speed in it, and we will see come tomorrow.”

Saturday’s 267-lap, 400-mile race is scheduled to start just after 7:30 p.m. with TV coverage on NBCSN.