Category Archives: 2016

Wood Brothers Racing Darlington “Throwback” Paint Scheme







Tuesday, August 2 at 3 p.m. EDT

NASCAR Hall of Fame

400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28202


Scheduled to Appear:

Ryan Blaney, Driver

Eddie & Len Wood, Co-Owners Wood Brothers Racing

Leonard Wood, 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee

Parking Directions: From I-277 take Exit 1E and follow to South Boulevard/Caldwell Street Ramp. Turn Right onto South Boulevard. At the next light, turn left onto Stonewall Street. Next light, turn right onto Brevard Street.  The entrance to the garage is on the right, just past the oversstreet crosswalk.

No Breaks For Blaney In Long Day At Indy

2016 NASCAR Indy BrickyardThroughout the 2016 Sprint Cup season, Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have been able to get some lucky breaks when they needed them.

On Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Blaney and his blue Quick Lane Ford Fusion were able to race among the top 15 for most of the Combat Wounded Coalition 400.

But just past the halfway point of a race that was running under a torrid pace, Blaney was battling to remain on the lead lap.

Luck, however, was not on his side this time, as he was passed by the leader on lap 118, only to see the caution flag fly just two laps later. If the caution had flown just a bit sooner, he’d have been able to remain on the lead lap.

From that point on, the opportunities to regain a spot on the lead lap were limited. Still, Blaney had managed to race his way from 24th to 21st for a restart seven laps shy of the scheduled completion of the race.

On the restart, drivers began wrecking ahead of Blaney. He made what appeared to be the correct move to avoid being involved, but Ryan Newman’s car slid into his path, and the collision ended Blaney’s run.

His 36th-place finish dropped him two spots to 19th in the driver standings and in a difficult position to compete for a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with six regular season races left to run before the start of the championship-deciding Chase. He’s now 22 points behind 15th place, which as of now is the final spot eligible for a berth in the Chase.

2016 NASCAR Indy Brickyard “I thought we had a decent car,” Blaney said. “We kind of put ourselves in a hole, and we were trying to fight back from that, and this [crash] just made a bad day worse.”

“We’ll just go to Pocono next week and try to get better.”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood also was looking forward to putting Indianapolis in the rear-view mirror and getting a fresh start in the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway.

“It was just a long, tough day,” Wood said. “Everything was OK the first part of the race, but the breaks didn’t go our way after that.”

“We were really close to getting the kind of breaks we’ve been fortunate to get the past couple of weeks, but it just wasn’t our day. Ryan was just a lap away from getting the free pass, and then got caught up in a wreck at the end.”

“It’s been a good season so far, and even at Indianapolis we were able to generate a lot of awareness for Quick Lane’s scholarship program for veterans.”


Bullins, Quick Lane Crew Vow To Leave Nothing On The Table At Legendary Brickyard

Indy1Indianapolis Motor Speedway isn’t just any race track. It’s an iconic part of automotive history. It’s hosted 100 Indianapolis 500s and numerous other major events including 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup races.

Just touring the 2.5-mile track, with its massive grandstands on both sides of the long front straightaway, is an experience to behold. Being there during a race is one of the premier motorsports experiences for both fans and competitors.

The Wood Brothers team that now fields the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion driven by Ryan Blaney, was part of Indianapolis Motor Speedway history long before NASCAR made its debut appearance there in 1994. The Woods swiftly handled the pit-road duties in 1965 as Jim Clark delivered Ford Motor Company its first victory in America’s most famous automobile race.
The Woods are back at the Brickyard this week with their No. 21 Fusion decked out in the blue colors of Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers. The paint scheme is part of a promotion of the “Trading One Uniform For Another” scholarship program for veterans seeking to find work as automotive technicians.

Crew chief Jeremy Bullins is among those working hard to put the No. 21 Quick Lane Ford up front and draw even more attention to the scholarship program in this weekend’s Combat Wounded Coalition 400.

Like many others on both sides of the catchfence, he’s a fan of the Brickyard and in awe of the racing there.

“How can you not be excited about Indy?” Bullins said. “The first time your car comes by you on the frontstretch, if you don’t get chills you better get checked out.

“The place has so much history you can feel it. It’s such a special place, and I can’t wait to get there every year.”

2016 NASCAR PoconoFor competitors like Bullins, the opportunity to work on the same ground as legendary mechanics and drivers from years past is not taken lightly.

“When you think about all those who raced there before us it’s an honor just to be there,” he said. “The Wood Brothers history alone, bringing their pit crew expertise and winning the Indy 500, is something we are all proud of.”

Bullins is not alone in feeling that way.

“It’s a place we and every other team put an emphasis on running well at,” he said. “We were fortunate to test there last week, so we hope we have some things figured out.

“We also have a really cool paint scheme this week celebrating Quick Lane’s new scholarship program for our veterans. What a great way to show our gratitude for their sacrifices at the birthplace of motor sports.”

The program will provide five veterans with $10,000 scholarships.

Before he joined the Wood Brothers team and became a full-time Sprint Cup crew chief, Bullins enjoyed success at Indianapolis in other NASCAR series, and that gives him both confidence and motivation headed into the weekend.

“I was fortunate enough be on the winning team for the inaugural Xfinity Series race in 2012 and have a couple of runner-up finishes in the Cup race on other teams,” he said. “We would love nothing more to get our first win this weekend and will leaving nothing on the table trying.”

Qualifying for the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 is set for Saturday at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time, and the race is scheduled to start just after 3 p.m. Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Blaney Bounces Back From Speeding Penalty To Finish 11th At New Hampshire

2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, New HampshireRookie driver Ryan Blaney and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane team took what could have been a disappointing day at New Hampshire and turned it into a very respectable finish.

Blaney was running just inside the top-10 and moving forward after starting 14th when he made a mistake on his first green-flag pit stop of Sunday’s 301-lap race, seemingly dooming his Motorcraft/Quick Lane team to a lackluster finish.

After serving a penalty for speeding on pit road and being relegated to 24th place, one lap down, he and his Jeremy Bullins-led crew showed a great amount of poise under pressure. They used a strategy call to take the wave-around, a fast Ford Fusion, and some heads-up driving to rejoin the lead lap.

Then, with four fresh tires and 35 laps left to run, Blaney went on a charge and came away with an 11th-place finish, which put him back in contention for a Chase berth with seven regular season races left to run.

“That was a heck of a recovery,” said team co-owner Len Wood. “Ryan was down on himself for getting caught speeding, but he more than made up for it from that point on.”

Wood pointed out that throughout a series of late-race restarts and short green-flag runs, Blaney gained key positions every time.

“The first one, he restarted 23rd, then he started 19th, 15th and 12th,” Wood said. “He was aggressive on those restarts and did a tremendous job, and he held off Jimmie Johnson the last couple of laps to get 11th.”

Wood also said Bullins made the correct call to take the wave-around with 75 laps to go, even though that meant the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team would have to return to pit road for fuel by Lap 277. If the race had run under the green flag past that point, it would have meant a costly green-flag stop for Blaney. But the caution flew at Lap 265, allowing him to pit under the yellow flag for four fresh tires and fuel aplenty for the run to the checkered flag.

“Jeremy’s call to take the wave-around was the key to the recovery,” Wood said. “The group that stopped for tires wound up finishing outside the top-20.”

Blaney, who now has nine top-15 finishes in 19 starts this season, moved up one spot in the Sprint Cup standings to 17th, and is just 16 points shy of a Chase berth.

Wood said the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team is approaching the next seven races with the goal of securing a spot in the season-ending, 10-race run to the championship.

“We’re not going to give up until it’s over,” he said. “Like they say, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team now move to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where they hope to capitalize on a successful test session a week ago.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Looking For Speed, Strategy And Luck At New Hampshire

2016 NASCAR KentuckyTo be successful at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a race team needs a fast car, a good pit strategy and at times some good luck.

The Wood Brothers and their Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have enjoyed all three at times over the years.

With the long straightaways and tight turns of New Hampshire, passing can be difficult, thus the need for a good pit strategy and the luck. The Woods have used a combination of both to score two runner-up finishes at New Hampshire – in 1995 with Morgan Shepherd driving and in 2003 with Ricky Rudd at the wheel.

Last year, with Ryan Blaney at the controls of the No. 21 Ford Fusion, the car was fast, but unfortunate events on pit road led to a 23rd-place finish after strong performances in practice, qualifying and the early laps of the race.

Jeremy Bullins, crew chief of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion, said during a break in testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, that he’s anxious to get back to New Hampshire and build on the achievements there last year.

“When I look back at 2015, Loudon is a place that we had a really good car,” he said. “The results won’t show it, but we definitely had good speed all weekend.”

“Not only were we fast in just about every practice, but we led round one of qualifying.”

Bullins also is mindful of the pitfalls that can set a team back, especially with the races being a relative short 300 miles, leaving little time to overcome miscues.

“We made some mistakes along the way, and didn’t execute in a few situations as well as we should have, but I know we have learned a lot in the year that’s gone by,” Bullins said, adding that he’s ready to call on the resources of Team Penske, which shares an alliance with the Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team. “It’s a place that Team Penske has had a lot of success, and that certainly gave us a good place to start.”

Bullins also feels that his team’s success earlier this year at Phoenix International Raceway, which is similar in layout to New Hampshire, is an indicator of the team’s potential this weekend.

“I feel like our Loudon speed was reflected this year by a top-10 run at Phoenix,” he said. “If we do the right things, we are confident we can have another top-five capable car like we had last week at Kentucky Speedway.”

Qualifying for Sunday’s 301-mile run is set for Friday at 4:45 p.m. and the race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 1:30 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.


Mid-race wreck Drops Blaney To 35th At Kentucky

2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, KentuckyFor the first 87 laps of Saturday night’s 400-mile Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway – and for the last 60 circuits – Ryan Blaney’s  No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion was one of the fastest cars on the track.

In between there was a crash, and a Herculean effort by the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew to get Blaney back on the track, where he finished 35th, picking up two valuable points awarded for the two positions he gained after the wreck.

For the first quarter of the race, Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew appeared to be mastering the reconfigured Kentucky track as well as the lower downforce aerodynamic package NASCAR mandated for the race.

He started 15th after rain caused the line-up to be set by owner points, and quickly moved to seventh place.

Soon, he was running in the top five and was running there just after a restart when he was involved in a crash that spoiled his run.

“That restart was pretty hectic from the beginning with the 78 [of Martin Truex Jr.] getting loose, and it kind of put everybody in a bad spot,” Blaney said. “It wound up with us being in the middle of three-wide into [Turn] Three.

“It’s so hard to get into that corner all night with a car close to behind you and outside of you, and no one lifting either, and it’s just an unfortunate spot we got put in.”

2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, KentuckyAlso collected in the crash was Blaney’s fellow rookie driver Chase Elliott, in the No. 24 Chevrolet.

“I hate to see two really good cars torn up,” Blaney said. “We were both very fast, and it’s just a really unfortunate deal.”

The rear end of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion was severely damaged in the crash, but the crew went to work, jacked up the bent frame, attached new sheet metal and sent Blaney back onto the track, where he was almost as fast as before.

The work done in the garage, plus the speed of the car, had team co-owner Eddie Wood leaving Kentucky Speedway with a smile on his face despite the disappointing finishing position.

“The crew did a really good job,” Wood said. “The car was damaged all the way up to the rear window, but they got the frame bent back up, put it back together and when Ryan was by himself he could run laps as quick as the leader.”

Even with the points gained after the crash, Blaney dropped to 19th in the driver standings, 24 points out of a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Ahead of him on the track, fellow Ford driver Brad Keselowski scored his second-straight victory, stretching his final tank of fuel to the finish line.

“Congratulations to Brad and Team Penske for the win,” Wood said. “It’s never a bad night when there’s a Ford in Victory Lane.”

Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team get back to work this week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Blaney To Start 15th At Kentucky After Rain Washes Out Qualifying

2016 NASCAR KentuckyWhat a difference a year makes for Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.

Last year, Blaney was 16th fastest in the pre-qualifying practice at Kentucky Speedway, but did not get to race after qualifying was rained out and his then-part-time team did not have a provisional starting position.

This year, rain again washed out Sprint Cup qualifying at Kentucky, but Blaney will race as there are only 40 teams entered for the 40 starting spots. He’ll start 15th, as the lineup is now set by owner’s points in the event qualifying is cancelled.

“The good news is we are in the show,” said team co-owner Eddie Wood. “With rain interrupting things here at Kentucky, we’ll probably have to go into the race knowing we will have to make adjustments to the car as the race goes on.”

Blaney pointed out that the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team spent most of the pre-qualifying practice time scuffing the tires that will be used Saturday night on a freshly repaved race track.

2016 NASCAR Kentucky “We had 16 sets of tires, [and] Goodyear suggested that we scuff all of them,” Blaney said. “With the testing that they’ve done, they thought it best to get them hot, then let them cool down, and then let them recover just so we don’t have any problems in the race.”

That meant there was little time to try out different set-ups on the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion. “We didn’t change anything on our car,” he said. “In that little practice we got I think we scuffed three sets of tires and it started raining, so that was unfortunate.”

With a reconfigured race track including all-new paving, plus a lower-downforce package to deal with this weekend, Blaney is hoping that the experience he gets in tonight’s Xfinity Series race will help him make up for the lack of Sprint Cup practice.

“I think the Xfinity race is going be huge to run tonight, and I’m fortunate that I’ll be able to run it,” he said. “Anytime we can go to a race track and run the Xfinity race or the Truck race before the Cup race is huge.”

“It’s even more meaningful when we can do it on a newly paved surface. You just kind of figure out where the track goes, and the best thing is they start at pretty similar times, so we’ll be able to compare a lot more notes from this race tonight over to tomorrow, and I think if we do it right, we can really learn a lot.”

Saturday’s 400-miler is set to start just after 7:30 p.m. with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team In Unchartered Territory At Kentucky

2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, DaytonaThe No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will write a new chapter in the team’s history as they compete at Kentucky Speedway for the first time ever.

The team’s rookie driver Ryan Blaney is no stranger to the Sparta, Ky., track. He’s won two Xfinity Series races there, in 2013 and last year, driving for Team Penske. In the Camping World Truck Series he has three top-five finishes and a pole position driving a Ford owned by Brad Keselowski. His third-place finishes were in 2014 and 2015. Despite these achievments, any advantage Blaney and his crew chief Jeremy Bullins might have from those earlier races has been lessened by a repave and reconfiguration of the 1.5-mile track. Turns one and two have seen the banking increased from 14 to 17 degrees, and those turns have been narrowed by a widening of the pit road exit. Turns three and four are basically the same as before, at 14 degrees of banking.

“I have to admit I was sad to see Kentucky get repaved,” Bullins said. “I know it probably needed it, but we’d had so much success there with the Team Penske Xfinity car, and certainly the Team Penske Sprint Cup program had some great notes as well.”

“But all things come to an end, and this weekend we face a new challenge.”

Fortunately for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, Blaney and Bullins were able to get a head start on adapting to the new surface during a recent test session.

“We were able to test on the new surface back in June and gained some valuable experience and gathered a lot of data,” Bullins said. “Certainly a big challenge is the new banking configuration.”

“Turns one and two are more banked than before, while three and four are similar to the old bank angle.

That makes it tough to get your car set up correctly because it wants to travel more in one and two than three and four.”

“It’s similar to a Pocono now, where I expect the car to be good in one end or the other and give up something on the other end.

“Whoever can overcome that will definitely be ahead of the game.”

Saturday’s 400 miler also will mark the second appearance of the lower downforce aerodynamic package that made its debut at Michigan International Speedway last month.

“My only concern there is that with a repaved race track we have to use a harder tire, and that usually means less lap time fall-off,” Bullins said. “I hope the aero package gets a fair shot as this is a worst-case scenario as the track will have a lot of grip with fresh asphalt.”

In Blaney’s and Bullins’ favor is the fact that they’re not alone in their inexperience on the current Kentucky lay-out. Bullins looks at that as a chance for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team to shine.

“It will be new for everyone, and it’s another opportunity for us to try to overcome what we face better than the rest of the teams,” he said. “If we can do that, Kentucky might still be near the top of the list of favorite tracks for us.”

Sprint Cup qualifying at Kentucky Speedway is set for 6:45 p.m. eastern time on Friday, and the 400 is scheduled to get the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Blaney Dodges Disaster At Daytona To Remain In Contention For A Chase Berth

2016 NASCAR DaytonaOn a night at Daytona International Speedway in which Ford Fusions were the dominant cars, Ryan Blaney and his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion showed speed and skill en route to a 14th-place finish in the Coke Zero 400.

The rookie Blaney started 12th and ran as high as third in the early going, and in the top 10 for most of the race. He dodged two major crashes and a couple of minor ones, and his finish allowed him to move up two spots in the driver points standings to 15th place.

That keeps him in the running for one of the 16 berths in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with nine races left in the 26-race regular season. With Tony Stewart having a race victory but not among the top 16 in points, there are five drivers including Blaney who are currently winless but in position for a Chase berth based on their rankings in the standings.

“We’ve got nine more races to go to figure that out,” Blaney said. “We just try to go out and do the best we can in those races, and the points will shake out how they do.”

Blaney was more interested in talking about the speed of the Ford Fusions at Daytona, where Brad Keselowski drove a Fusion in delivering team owner Roger Penske his 100th Sprint Cup win.

“It’s cool to see Brad win it,” Blaney said. “That’s awesome.”

The No. 21 Ford ran just behind the Team Penske Fords of Keselowski and Joey Logano in the early portions of the race, and Blaney was never far from the top 1 0 the rest of the way. Even when he fell back outside the top 20, he quickly worked his way back into the lead pack.

He missed a 19-car wreck at lap 90, another crash at Lap 149 when Stewart wrecked, then a third incident at Lap 155, which set up an overtime run to the finish.

“We were in a good spot and [Stewart] wrecked,” Blaney said. “He turned in front of us and hurt the right front pretty bad.”

2016 NASCAR Daytona “There just weren’t enough laps to go after that to go anywhere. Unfortunately we couldn’t get out with a finish we deserve. I thought we were a top-five car.    But not bad.”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he was proud of Blaney for his race-long performance and equally proud of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew for patching up the damage to the No. 21 Ford Fusion from the incidents on the track.

“Any time you can run all the laps at Daytona, you are to be commended,” Wood said. “And on the final run, Ryan started 22nd, got to 16th at the white flag and 14th at the checkered.”

“That’s impressive, as was the dominant performance by Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 team in delivering our fellow Ford team owner Roger Penske his 100th Sprint Cup win.”

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team returns to the track this week at Kentucky Speedway for Saturday night’s 400-mile run.

After Stressful Day At Daytona, Blaney Qualifies 12th For Coke Zero 400

2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, DaytonaWith NASCAR’s new qualifying rules for Open teams not set to go into effect until next week, Ryan Blaney and the crew of his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion had to sweat it out through two steamy, rainy days at Daytona International Speedway.

But when it was over, Blaney had made his seventh trip of the season to the final round of knock-out qualifying and will line up 12th for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400.

Blaney and his crew chief Jeremy Bullins, spent the early hours of Friday working to post a lap fast enough to make the starting field should qualifying be rained out and the starting field set by practice speeds. Beginning next week, if qualifying is cancelled the line-up will be set by owner points.

The goal of a fast practice lap was accomplished, thanks in large part to some drafting help from Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, his fellow Ford Fusion drivers at Team Penske.

Then, despite the dark clouds around the speedway at qualifying time, the skies cleared and qualifying went on as scheduled. Blaney was 10th fastest in the first round, assuring the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team of a starting spot in the race, with the bonus of getting to run for the pole.

His second-round was slower than the first, and his lap of record at 191.253 miles per hour put him 12th in the line-up for the 400.

2016 NASCAR Daytona“Today is a day we are happy to have behind us,”  a relieved Bullins said. “Each week we have to qualify in, which usually isn’t a huge deal, but at speedways there are so many things out it your control. Weather for example could have played a role in things.”  “Fortunately due to some great cooperation from the Team Penske cars we ran a fast enough practice lap to ensure a spot in tomorrow’s race if we had needed it.”

Weather didn’t turn out to be an issue, putting the emphasis back on the qualifying session, where the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team showed an increase in performance from the last restrictor-plate race, at Talladega in May.

“We’ll take the improvement and be ready to race tomorrow night,” Bullins said.

Blaney said in his post-qualifying comments that like Bullins he’s happy to be back among the elite 12 qualifiers at a restrictor-plate race.

“It is nice being in the last round [of qualifying],” he said. “We weren’t in it at Talladega, and it is nice to go back, do our homework, and it looks like we got our speedway stuff a bit better.”

”It is a great effort by everyone on the team, and I am looking forward to going racing tomorrow for sure.”

Blaney also said it’s encouraging that five of the fastest 12 qualifiers were driving Ford Fusions, including pole-sitter Greg Biffle.

“We have a lot of Ford representation up there toward the front of the field, so it is going to be a fun night,” he said.

For team co-owner Eddie Wood, even with the happy outcome it was the kind of day that can give him a few more gray hairs.

“It was a really stressful day,” Wood said. “But we accomplished what we needed to, and now we’re headed to Steak ‘n Shake.”

The eatery just down Highway 92 from the speedway has been a popular stop for the Wood Brothers for decades.

The Coke Zero 400 is set to get the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday with TV coverage on NBC.