Author Archives: Jordan Wood

Blaney To Start 16th At Talladega

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, TalladegaRyan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will start Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway from the 16th position after Blaney turned a lap at 189.256 miles per hour in Saturday’s qualifying session.

Blaney’s said he was a little short on speed on Talladega’s long straightaways, but he’s not concerned about being able to race at the front of the pack on Sunday.

“I feel pretty fine about it,” he said. “The car has always raced pretty good. We’ll be just fine tomorrow.”

Blaney and his fellow Cup drivers will start Sunday’s race with a limited amount of practice due to persistent showers on Friday that cut short the practice session.

Blaney was seventh fastest on Friday with a best lap at 195.748 mph in the draft but ran just 10 laps. He said the lack of practice shouldn’t be a factor in Sunday’s race, but he also said that anything can happen at almost any time and place in the draft at Talladega.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” he said.

Sunday’s race is set to start just after 1 p.m. (2 p.m Eastern) with TV coverage on FOX.

Blaney, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Looking To Bounce Back At Talladega

13133089_10153876213153145_420658611162673870_nRyan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are headed to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend and hoping for a restrictor-plate pick-me-up after a couple of disappointing weeks on the short tracks at Bristol and Richmond.

Mechanical issues at Bristol and a crash at Richmond left Blaney and the team with finishes of 33rd and 36th respectively and caused them to drop from sixth to 12th in the Cup standings.

But a run like Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team had at Talladega’s sister track, Daytona International Speedway, in February could go a long ways in reversing the team’s recent misfortunes.

In the season-opening Daytona 500, Blaney finished a career-best second.

And he’s proven to be a good racer at Talladega as well, finishing fourth there in his Dega debut in the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion and ninth and 11th in his two most recent races there.

For crew chief Jeremy Bullins, a return to Talladega is just what his team needs at this point.

“The last two weeks have seen what were shaping up to be top-10 runs end in disaster for us,” he said. “If I could pick two tracks to go to over the next two weeks I couldn’t be happier to go to Talladega and Kansas.

“I feel like Talladega is the perfect place for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion to get back up front where we belong.”

Bullins pointed out that the team has had fast cars on short- and intermediate-length tracks and also on the superspeedways.

“Daytona was another example of the effort we put in our speedway cars and what a great job Ryan does at restrictor-plate tracks,” he said. “The weekend can’t get here fast enough for us so we can put the last two weeks behind us and get back in the rhythm we had going.”

Talladega also has proven to be a good track for the team-owning Wood Brothers. In 88 races there, they have five wins, five poles, 18 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes.

Qualifying for the GEICO 500 is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. Central Time (4 p.m. Eastern), and the race is scheduled to start just after 1 p.m. (2 p.m Eastern) on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.

Late-Race Crash Spoils Impressive Comeback For Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team

The official finish of Sunday’s 400-lapper at Richmond International Raceway doesn’t reflect it, but the driver and crew of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion showed that they can bounce back from a dismal mid-race performance and contend for a top-five finish at the end.

Ryan Blaney started from the outside pole in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion but soon found himself running outside the top 15, and with radio problems that limited his communication with his crew chief and spotter.

But crew chief Jeremy Bullins and his fellow team leaders on the pit box stayed in the game, so to speak, and kept adjusting the chassis of the No. 21 on every pit stop. Bullins figured correctly on strategy calls including short-pitting with a little under 100 laps left to run. And each time Blaney drove to pit road, his over-the-wall crew either maintained his position in the running order or gained him spots, as many as three on one occasion.

With a little more than 50 laps remaining, Blaney, who had unlapped himself following his short-pitting stop, rejoined the top 15. When the caution flag flew with 34 laps to go, he was 11th.

On the ensuing restart, Blaney moved into eighth place and was on pace to score a top-five finish. But his race ended soon after as a three-wide battle for position between him, Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott, ended with Busch, in the middle, sliding up into Blaney on the outside and cutting his left-rear tire.

Blaney attempted to save his spinning car, but he slid into the wall, and the damage was too much to continue and he ended up with a 36th-place finish. That dropped him from 10th in the championship standings to 12th heading into next Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

The team’s late-race comeback, despite the crash that ended it, was encouraging to team co-owner Eddie Wood, especially given the team’s recent struggles at Richmond.

“We were outside the top 15 for a good bit of the race,” Wood said. “But Jeremy and the crew kept adjusting on the car, and got it going there at the end.

“It’s just a shame that we weren’t able to finish it off.”

Wood said that while he would have liked to have seen the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion in the top five at the finish, he was pleased to see two of his fellow Ford teammates sweep the top-two positions.

“Congratulations to Joey Logano from Team Penske on winning in his 300th Cup start and to his teammate Brad Keselowski for a strong run and a second-place finish,” Wood said. “This puts another Ford driver in the mix for the playoffs, and that’s pretty important in our world.”

Blaney Qualifies On The Outside Pole At Richmond

6535f9de74f0f023c24a3d40f566bab5-1Another Friday, another front-row qualifying effort for Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.

Blaney’s outside pole at Richmond International Raceway on Friday was his second in the past three races, including a rained-out qualifying session at Bristol where he started sixth. It also was his third outside pole in his last six attempts, including second-place efforts at Phoenix and Texas.

It’s the best Richmond qualifying effort for the Wood Brothers team since the late NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Weatherly started on the outside pole there in the fall of 1960. Team owner Glen Wood also started second at Richmond in the fall of 1959.

Just as they have nearly every weekend this season, crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew have unloaded fast Ford Fusions for the start of practice. Richmond was no different as Blaney was third fastest in Friday’s opening practice with a best lap at 122.772 miles per hour.

Then in knock-out qualifying, he was 19th in the first round with a lap at 119.290 mph, ninth in the second round with a a speed of 120.064 mph and second in the run for the pole with a lap at 120.854 mph.

8ed58fb90c40a978d807aa35689eda7e-1 “It was a good effort,” Blaney said in his post-qualifying media session. “I didn’t think we were very good in Round One… We got better for Round Two and obviously better for Round Three.”

Blaney said the gains in speed and positions as the qualifying session progressed are a sign of improvement for him, Bullins and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew in their second full year together.

“That is something our team has done really well this year, improving from round to round,” he said. “That is an area where we struggled last year. We would always kind of go backwards from round to round last year, and this year it is kind of opposite which is a lot better.

“That is just communicating what we need on the car and talking about where the track goes. That has been a positive this year and something we worked on in the off-season.”

It’s also a sign of a significant turn-around at Richmond, which confounded Blaney and his team last year.

“I thought this was our worst race track last year,” he said. “Both races went really bad for us, and I know it is early in the weekend but I feel we have turned it around a lot from what it was here last year.

“That is a positive to look at.”

It’s also kind of like the icing on the cake, he said.

“It is fun regardless to be with the Wood Brothers, but when you are fast it makes it a little extra,” he said. “I think we are right on pace to where we need to be and getting better every single week.

“It is all about keeping on going so that you never really settle. I don’t think we are that way, and I think that is what makes this team really good.”

Sunday’s 400-lap,is scheduled to get the green flag just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.

Ford Motor Company, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing, JDRF Launch ‘Customize for a Cause’ T-Shirt Design Contest to Raise Funds for T1D Research

 

  • Ford Motor Company, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing and JDRF are the proud sponsors of a t-shirt design contest aiming to harness the creativity and engagement of families, JDRF fundraising teams and race fans alike to benefit JDRF’s shared vision of a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D). This fundraising design contest entitled T1D, Motorcraft & Me presents “Customize for a Cause” offers participants a chance to win a VIP Motorcraft Racing Experience of a Lifetime and much more.
  • Families, organizations, individuals and race fans are invited to design their own unique JDRF-themed apparel at https://teamstore.gtmsportswear.com/lp/jdrf and promote their exclusive creations to family, friends and colleagues through their dedicated TeamStore webpage. A minimum donation of $10 from each custom apparel sale will go directly to JDRF to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.
  • Contest Winner - One eligible customized t-shirt design will be selected by our panel and named the 2017 T1D, Motorcraft & Me winner; to be treated to an extraordinary VIP Motorcraft Racing Experience of a Lifetime. This racing-themed travel grand prize will send our winner plus three guests to the Monster Energy NASCAR Series Championship in Miami, Florida in November 2017 to cheer on Ryan Blaney in the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane car as he takes the wheel contending for the Championship. The winning design will also be prominently featured on the No. 21 race car during the 2017 NASCAR Championship Race, in addition to becoming the official 2017 T1D, Rotorcraft & Me campaign t-shirt.

DEARBORN, Mich., April 26, 2017 — Ford Motor Company, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing and JDRF are the proud sponsors of a t-shirt design contest aiming to harness the creativity and engagement of families, JDRF fundraising teams and race fans alike to benefit JDRF’s shared vision of a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D)). This fundraising design contest entitled T1D, Motorcraft & Me presents Customize for a Cause offers participants a chance to win a VIP Motorcraft Racing Experience of a Lifetime and much more.

Families, organizations, individuals and race fans are invited to design their own unique JDRF-themed apparel at https://teamstore.gtmsportswear.com/lp/jdrf and promote their exclusive creations to family, friends and colleagues through their dedicated TeamStore webpage. A minimum donation of $10 from each custom apparel sale will go directly to JDRF to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.

Any individual that generates $250 or more in T1D, Motorcraft & Me customized apparel sales between now and July 31, 2017 will automatically be entered for a chance to win a VIP Motorcraft Racing Experience of a Lifetime during NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend in Miami, Florida in November 2017. The winning design – which will be selected by a panel comprised of representatives from Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing and JDRF – also will be prominently displayed as a decal on the iconic No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion; driven by up-and-coming NASCAR star Ryan Blaney. In addition, the winning design will be utilized as the “official” T1D, Motorcraft & Me shirt for 2017.

Interested contest participants can follow the quick-and-easy steps on the TeamStore website to create their masterpiece (https://teamstore.gtmsportswear.com/lp/jdrf). Once their design has been approved, contestants are encouraged to share their unique TeamStore webpage link with friends, family and colleagues so they can support a cure by purchasing their customized apparel.

On Aug. 1, 2017, a panel comprised of members from Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing and JDRF, will select one winner for “Best Design 2017” and the victor will be awarded a VIP Motorcraft Racing Experience of a Lifetime.

“Customize for a Cause is an excellent opportunity for anyone to express their creativity and help JDRF raise funds towards finding a cure for type 1 diabetes with their inspired designs,” said Brett Wheatley, executive director of North America, Ford Customer Service Division. “The winner will get exclusive access to what goes on at the race track during NASCAR’s most important weekend of the season – Ford Championship Weekend.”

The VIP Motorcraft Racing Experience of a Lifetime grand prize includes:

  • Round-trip airfare for the winner and three (3) guests to Miami, Fla.
  • Three nights’ hotel accommodations
  • Honorary pit crew status for an exclusive opportunity to meet driver Ryan Blaney and serve as honorary pit crew members for the No. 21 race car and the legendary Wood Brothers Racing Team
  • Series finale tickets to the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Nov. 19, 2017 which will decide the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion
  • A Visa gift card for meals and car rental
  • Motorcraft autograph and apparel package
  • The winning design will also be prominently featured on the race car during the 2017 NASCAR Championship Race. The winning shirt design will also be utilized as the “official” T1D, Motorcraft & Me shirt for 2017 and will be available for purchase through November 2017.

Ford Motor Company’s relationship with JDRF spans three decades. In 2008, Motorcraft and Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers joined efforts and has since raised more than $400,000 for JDRF, the leading global organization funding T1D research.

T1D_M&M_sign

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About Motorcraft

Motorcraft® offers a complete line of replacement parts that are recommended and approved by Ford Motor Company. From routine maintenance to under-hood repairs, Motorcraft parts offer exceptional value with the highest quality and right fit at competitive prices. Motorcraft parts are available nationwide at Ford and Lincoln dealers, independent distributors and automotive parts retailers are backed by Ford Motor Company’s two-year, unlimited-miles Service Parts Limited Warranty. Ask for Motorcraft by name when you visit your local auto parts store or your favorite service facility. For more information, visit www.motorcraft.com.

About Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers
Quick Lane® provides automotive quick services for all makes and models.  Quick Lane’s nationwide network of more than 800 facilities, each providing the convenience of an aftermarket company (no appointment necessary, service while you wait, evening and weekend hours, competitive prices) with the confidence of a major automotive manufacturer (quality parts, factory-trained technicians).  Quick Lane® is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company. For more information, visit 
www.quicklane.com.

About JDRF
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter: @JDRF

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Looking To Recapture The Magic At Richmond

13055399_10153862471893145_207302416030788850_nOver the years, the Wood Brothers race team has set records, many of which still stand, at NASCAR tracks across America.

Richmond International Raceway, where Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will race this weekend, is one of those tracks, although the team’s record at Richmond isn’t exactly a power house stat.

The team, and former driver Kyle Petty, hold the track’s record for the fewest laps led by a race winner – four laps on Feb. 23, 1986.

The finish of that Miller High Life 400 remains one of the more popular features on the highlight reels from Richmond.

In that race, Petty had run in or near the top five most of the afternoon, and led Lap 273, but was about a straightaway behind the race leaders with three laps to go. On that fateful lap, Darrell Waltrip appeared to have completed a race-long comeback from being a lap down as he drove past Dale Earnhardt into the lead going down the backstretch. Earnhardt, who had several earlier encounters with Waltrip, responded by wrecking Waltrip in Turn Three, setting off an chain-reaction wreck that also collected Joe Ruttman and Geoff Bodine.

Petty slowed as the track was blocked in front of him, then stepped on the gas, drove by the disabled car of Ruttmann and beat him to the caution flag. That lap and the next two were run under the caution flag, and Petty had his first career Cup victory.

For Eddie Wood, now a co-owner of the team, it was a magical moment as the victory was the result of a pairing of talent from both the Petty and Wood families, which had been both competitors and friends for years.

As Wood looks back over his racing career, he remembers his team’s time with Petty, then 25 years old, as one of the high points.

“The most enjoyable time of my career was when Kyle was driving our car,” Wood said. “We had the magic.”

Wood said another youngster, the 23-year-old Blaney, is bringing back some of that youthful enthusiasm his family-owned team experienced decades ago with Petty.  But like those days years ago, there’s the challenge of getting a young team prepared to compete for wins on a tough Cup circuit.

Crew chief Jeremy Bullins, who like Blaney is in his sophomore year in NASCAR’s elite series, said that while the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion has been fast nearly every week, there are still places where there’s room for improvement. Richmond International Raceway is one of those places, as evidenced by the team’s finishes of 28th and 39th there last year.

“I’m very proud of the fact that our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusions have been fast a lot,” Bullins said. “I’ll be the first to admit however that we haven’t quite gotten Richmond figured out.

“But I’m really looking forward to that challenge this weekend. I didn’t feel like we figured out what we needed there last season, but I think if you look at the gains we’ve made at places like Martinsville and the strong runs we’ve had at places like Phoenix, that we can put our heads together and come up with a solution.

“To be the caliber team we want to be we have to be good everywhere, and the group is working hard to make that happen.”

Qualifying at Richmond is set for Friday at 4:45 p.m. Eastern Time, and Sunday’s 400-lap, 300-mile race is set to get the green flag just after 2 p.m. with TV coverage on FOX.

Power Steering Problems Plague Blaney At Bristol

d251b947f1177afe390ee2388d28292f-1Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team had another fast Ford Fusion for Monday’s rain-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

After running in the top six for most of the race’s first 60 laps, Blaney reported to the team that he felt a problem with the car’s power-steering system.

The problems worsened, and Blaney began losing laps to to the leaders. Soon, crew chief Jeremy Bullins called Blaney to the garage, where the team changed the power steering system and sent him back onto the track.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion was fast again, with Blaney posting impressive lap times for the remainder of the race. The problem was he was 48 laps down and wound up with a disappointing 33rd-place finish, which dropped him from sixth to 10th in the championship standings.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said there was little Blaney or the crew could do once the mechanical issue arose.

9b34351ec387f006513004cf3d733ac0-1 “It’s not like the old days, when you could cut the power steering belt and the car drove like it had manual steering. It’s almost impossible to drive one of these cars now without power steering.” Wood said, adding that it’s hard to be too disappointed when the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion was as quick as it was at Bristol.

“The car was fast, like it has been every week,” he said. “We’ll go on to Richmond, and sooner or later our luck will even out and everything will be OK.”

Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will return to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for Sunday’s 400-lap race on the three-quarter mile oval.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Ready To Get Back To Work At Bristol

12993513_10153845104713145_5396457336836125857_nFresh from an Easter weekend off, Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford team head to Bristol Motor Speedway where they hope to continue the pace they’ve set in first seven races of the 2017 season. To date, Blaney and the No. 21 Ford Fusion have a runner-up finish in the Daytona 500 and two more top-10 finishes, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. They have two front-row starts, at Phoenix Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway, two stage wins and 150 laps led. They’ve never been out of the top 10 in the Cup standings and head to Bristol in sixth position.

“After a weekend off, there’s no better place to get back to racing than Bristol,” crew chief Jeremy Bullins said. “You always know you’re in for an exciting weekend, and we are certainly ready to go with the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford.

“I feel like Bristol is another track on the schedule where we have enough experience as a team to be a real contender this weekend.  It’s a place Ryan and I won at with the Xfinity program, and I feel like we’ve gotten stronger each time we go.”

Blaney finished 11th in the Food City 500 last spring, and qualified fourth for last year’s night race in August and raced as high as second place before being collected in a multi-car crash.

And Bullins said that while the intermediate-length, mile-and-a-half tracks and the superspeedways are where the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has enjoyed its most success, he believes the team’s short-track program is coming right along. He pointed out that Blaney qualified seventh in his most recent race on the half mile at Martinsville and was fast in the early portions of the race, earning 10 championship points by being among the top 10 after each of that race’s first two stages.

“I think the speed we had at Martinsville shows the effort that goes into the short-track cars, and even though the tracks couldn’t be more different I feel like our car will be just as fast at Bristol,” he said. “I know everyone is rested up and ready to get back to racing this weekend.”

Qualifying for the Food City 500 is set for Friday at 4:45 p.m. Eastern Time, and the race is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.

Blaney Scores Two Stage Wins, Leads The Most Laps at Texas

a625c3bbae2db2c68dadd60f986be9ed-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team showed Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway that despite a disappointing 12th-place finish they’re capable of being a major player in NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series.

Blaney, starting from the outside pole, bolted into the lead for the first time after just 15 laps and went on to dominate not only the first 85-lap Stage but the second Stage as well.

Blaney’s 148 laps led were the most of any driver in Sunday’s race and by far the most of his 61-race career as he had led just 33 laps heading into Sunday’s race.

By winning both stages, Blaney earned two playoff points, the first of his career, and his 20 points earned in the first two stages pushed his total for the day to 45, which propelled him from seventh to sixth in the Cup standings.

But despite the successes of the first half of the race, the second half didn’t play out as planned for Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team. His pit stop at the end of the second stage put him in 20th place for the restart, and he became entangled in a group of slower cars and lost ground that he was never able to regain.

“We got jumbled up in [turns one and two] and let a lot of cars get by,” Blaney said. “That was kind of the deciding factor I feel like.”

Blaney also expressed his support of crew chief Jeremy Bullins’ decision to stay on the track, with the lead, when a caution flag flew late in Stage Two, even though it meant that he eventually would have to restart in mid-pack after a pit stop.

“I thought we made the right call to stay out there and try to win that segment,” he said. “I’m for that.”

Blaney’s path forward also was hindered by a run-in on the track with the lapped car of Corey LaJoie and by a late pit stop that went bad when he initially drove over the boundary line of his pit stall and lost some time.

But for team co-owner Eddie Wood, the takeaways from the day were overwhelmingly positive, and he had great praise for Blaney and Bullins.

“Jeremy gave us a really, really fast race car,” Wood said. “He’s consistently done that, and that’s huge when you look at how many 1.5 mile tracks like Texas are coming up on the schedule. And Ryan drove a heck of a race”.

“We just weren’t able to finish it off, but we’re getting closer.”

“It’s coming.”

2defb0e6344d355ac8f46db34cce9a58-1Even though he also was disappointed by the late-race turn of events, Blaney, like Wood, was looking at the Texas trip as a sign of good things to come for him and his team.

“I think it says a lot about this Motorcraft/Quick Lane team about how good a car we had today,” he said. “If you had asked me yesterday I wouldn’t have said we would win two stages and have one of the fastest cars.”

“They made really good changes this morning, and that definitely says a lot. I am excited to get to Bristol in a couple weeks and see what we can do.”

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will be idle next weekend for Easter then return to work the following weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Fast Lap At Texas Earns Blaney His Second Front-Row Start of 2017

b72aecf50c91128d206e094a02f5e112-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are set for their second front-row start of the 2017 season after Blaney secured the outside pole with a lap at 198.020 miles per hour on a repaved and reconfigured Texas Motor Speedway.

Blaney, who also started on the outside pole at Phoenix, has three top-three qualifying runs this season, including a third-place effort at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Friday was a banner day for Ford at Texas as Blaney’s Ford teammate Kevin Harvick won the pole, with fellow Ford drivers Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski all taking the top-five starting spots.

Ford also won the opening practice round with Blaney setting the pace with a best lap of 194.182 mph.

Once qualifying started, Blaney was sixth fastest in the first round with a lap at 194.419 mph. He was fifth in Round Two with a lap at 196.657 mph before finishing second in the third and final round despite a significant jump in speed from the second round.

Blaney said afterwards that he should have raised the track bar on the backstretch on his final lap to keep his car from being tight in Turns Three and Four, but otherwise it was a great day for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.

a04949a2a88df64401b2b605c2dc36ed-1“We got better each round which is always encouraging, always what you want,” he said. “You never want to get worse or make the wrong adjustments. I feel this year we’ve gotten better going round by round.

“Man, I heard that they give you a shotgun when you win the pole here. I saw my lap and thought that might do it but Kevin (Harvick) just snuck by us.”

Even though he failed to earn a firearm on Friday, Blaney is optimistic about his chances in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.

“I think I have a really fast Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion,” he said. “It was even good in race trim today. The track has come a long way in a few hours and hopefully it will widen out even more for the Xfinity race tomorrow and for our practices.

“Not a bad start to the weekend.”

Sunday’s 500-miler is scheduled to start just after 12:30 p.m. (1:30 Eastern) on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.