Category Archives: 2017

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Claims Ninth-Place Points Finish Despite Disappointing Homestead Run

2017 NASCAR Monster Cup Series, Homestead fe3085f48a400dd8be29459eeff86737-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team weren’t able to close their time together with a strong finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as they had hoped, but that was only a hiccup in what has been a remarkable 88-race run for the young driver and the sport’s oldest continuously operating race team.

The Wood Brothers and Blaney have scored a win at Pocono Raceway, poles at Kansas Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, eight top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, 49 lead-lap finishes, 317 laps led, four Stage wins, a 9-race playoff run this season and a ninth-place finish in the final 2017 points standings.

The three Blaney Years in Wood Brothers history, which were made possible by an alliance with Team Penske and support from Ford Motor Company and its Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands, have seen the team surge forward in on-track performance, gain fans off the track, raise money for charity and lay the groundwork for future success.

“We’ve enjoyed our time with Ryan, and we can’t say enough about what he and the crew have done to elevate our race team,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “They will always be a big part of our Wood Brothers racing family.”

Wood also thanked the fans who have stood by the team through the tough times of the past and the good times of late.

fe3085f48a400dd8be29459eeff86737-1 “We have some of the most loyal fans in the sport, and while we’ll all miss Ryan, I think they’ll like what they see going forward,” he said.

Despite the successes of recent seasons in races on intermediate tracks like Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 was a disappointing outing for the No. 21 team.

After qualifying a solid 11th, Blaney faded early and was in 32nd place, two laps down after the first stage. Trapped that far behind the leaders, the team was never able to find the speed or employ a strategy to rejoin the lead lap and wound up in 29th place, three laps down.

“It wasn’t the day we wanted, and it wasn’t the day the Ford teams wanted, but congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. on the championship,” Wood said.

Now the focus for the Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team turns to the 2018 campaign and the season-opening Daytona 500.

“We’re looking forward to the start of a new era, and we’ll go home and start getting ready to go to Daytona for the 500,” Wood said.

Blaney To Start Among The Top 12 For the 26th Time In 2017

aa32d0b119825a853e95c663e53d2af8-1For their final race together, Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers team will start the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway from a familiar position.

Blaney, crew chief Jeremy Bullins, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team bounced back from a mediocre practice session to advance through all three rounds of knock-out qualifying and earn the 11th starting spot for Sunday’s finale of Ford Championship Weekend.

It was the 26th time in 36 races this season that Blaney and the No. 21 team have qualified among the top 12.

“Ryan and the crew made some changes after practice, and obviously they were right ones,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “It’s really satisfying to be among the top 12 in our last race together, and I’m glad they were able to find some good speed tonight since they’ve been so good in qualifying all season.”

Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were 20th fastest in Friday’s opening practice, with a best lap at 168.972 miles per hour.

After some tuning on the No. 21 Fusion, Blaney was 14th fastest in the opening round of qualifying with a speed of 172.590 mph.

He ran a lap at 173.055 mph in Round Two, which was ninth fastest of the 24 drivers and earned him a spot among the elite 12 qualifiers.

d49ec6d1babd45847ddadf9c248e95c1-1His final lap, a 171.255 mph, earned him the 11th starting spot for Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400.

“We made improvements from the first round to the second round, but we fell off for the third round,”

Blaney said in his post-qualifying comments. “We missed a bit on that last adjustment. It was a good effort.”

Blaney also said the increase in his speed in qualifying compared to his speed in practice was due in part to the fact that practice was held during the day and qualifying at night.

“We made some adjustments to the car between practice and qualifying, but the biggest difference is the temperature,” he said.

Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 is set to get the green flag just after 2:30 p.m. with TV coverage on NBC.

Ford Championship Weekend At Homestead Marks Ryan Blaney’s Final Ride In The No. 21 Fusion

84fd0a8ca0b5c680d53e753a3473ed29-1The Ryan Blaney chapter in Wood Brothers history comes to a close this weekend with the running of the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Beginning next season, Blaney and crew chief Jeremy Bullins will return to Team Penske, and the iconic No. 21 Fusion will be driven by Paul Menard, with Greg Erwin serving as crew chief.

The three “Blaney Years” have seen a resurgence in performance for NASCAR’s oldest continuously operating race team.

Blaney and the Woods ran the 2015 season on a limited schedule of 16 races then returned to full-time in 2016.

Their 2017 season has been a break-out year with a win at Pocono Raceway, poles and Kansas Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, four Stage wins and a nine-week run in the Monster Energy Cup playoffs.

The team heads into the Ford Championship Weekend eighth in the points standings, just 10 points behind seventh-place Matt Kenseth.

All told, Blaney and the No. 21 Motocraft/Quick Lane team, taking advantage of their technical alliance with Team Penske, have run 87 races together, with eight top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, 49 lead-lap finishes and 317 laps led.

They’ve achieved several milestones for the Woods, including the team’s 99th Cup victory, at Pocono in June, its 118th pole, last week at Phoenix and its 1,500th Cup start, in September at Richmond Raceway.

17POC1mt1585Team co-owner Eddie Wood said it’s been a rewarding three-year run that started as a one-year deal and grew into two more.

“The initial expectations of everyone was Ryan was going to go back to Team Penske wherever they were ready,” Wood said. “We’re fortunate enough to keep him a couple of extra years.”

In many ways, the Woods will keep Blaney around forever.

“Just like everyone else who has ever driven for us, Ryan will always be a part of our Wood Brothers family,” Wood said.

Indeed, Blaney’s image is displayed on the team’s wall of winners in the Wood Brothers Museum in Stuart, Va., and his name will be prominently displayed for posterity along with the all-star line-up of drivers who have won races and poles for the Woods.

From Blaney’s perspective, he said earlier this year that he feels fortunate to have been a part of Wood Brothers history, as well as that of Team Penske.

“I’ve been really lucky to drive for two great teams and get to know some great families and great people along the way,” he said in a press conference announcing his move to a third car at Team Penske. “Growing up in the sport, I looked up to teams like the Wood Brothers and the Penske organization. To drive for them is definitely something that I would always want to do as a kid.

“It’s really nice to be able to be in a spot to do that.”

Blaney said in his post-race comments at Phoenix that he’ll give it his best shot in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead even though he won’t be among the four drivers competing for the Cup title.

“It’s a shame we’re not racing for the championship, but we can still try to win the race,” he said.

Qualifying for the Ford EcoBoost 400 is set for Friday at 6:15 p.m., and the race is scheduled to start just after 2:30 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.

Valiant Effort At Phoenix Not Enough To Keep Blaney SKF/Quick Lane Team In The Playoff Picture

f832573cf9de81658978118eca6be9c6-1 Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 SKF/Quick Lane Ford team came up short of being among the four drivers and their teams that will compete for the Monster Energy Cup Series championship at Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway next week.

But despite fading to 17th place at the finish of Sunday’s Can-Am 500 and coming 23 points shy of advancing, they left Phoenix Raceway with their heads held high after a season full of amazing accomplishments.

“It’s disappointing, but at the same time we have a lot to be proud of for sure,” Blaney said in his post-race comments. “The nine weeks that we had [in the playoffs] is something to be proud of.

“It’s a shame we’re not racing for the championship, but we can still try to win the race.”

Blaney started Sunday’s 312-mile race from the pole and led the first 11 laps, but it was soon apparent that his SKF/Quick Lane Fusion wasn’t fast enough to win the race, which was his most realistic option for advancing to the championship round at Homestead.

Still, he and the team battled hard throughout the race and found themselves in the top five as the laps wound down. But to keep that track position meant staying on the track during late-race cautions, and staying on the track ended up putting him at a disadvantage to drivers behind him with fresher tires.

1971d0ac148dd522ee55e487d7a49aeb-1“We were debating whether to pit or not there and just didn’t, so that made us fall back,” he said. “I thought we could have stayed up and you never know what could have happened, but we just never had the car all day to compete up front.”

That’s not to say Blaney and the team didn’t put forth a 100-percent effort.

“We did a good job on restarts,” Blaney said. “I thought we were decent on restarts all day. We were able to start up towards the front and just didn’t work out for us.

“We still have one more race to go with the Wood Brothers group, so hopefully we can go and have a good run at Miami.”

Team co-owner Len Wood echoed Blaney’s comments about the team having a lot to be proud of, including a win at Pocono, poles at Kansas and Phoenix and a nine-week run in the playoffs.

“We came within one race of making the championship round,” Wood said. “It’s been an amazing season, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the alliance we have with Team Penske.”

Wood also said he’s proud to have two Ford teammates among the four competing for the title in Ford Championship Weekend.

“We’re proud to have Team Penske’s No. 2 team and their driver Brad Keselowski among the final four along with Kevin Harvick from Stewart-Haas Racing,” Wood said. “It’s good to see half the championship contenders carrying the colors of Ford Motor Company, and we hope to have a great run ourselves in the Ford 400 as we say goodbye to Ryan Blaney and Jeremy Bullins, who have made major contributions to Wood Brothers history in their three seasons with us.

The No. 21 Fusion will carry its familiar Motorcraft/Quick Lane colors in the season-ending Ford 400 on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Blaney Adds Phoenix Pole To List Of Season Accomplishments

0549ea77b43065d7d057d12c4df1e1fe-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 SKF/Quick Lane wrote another chapter in their storybook 2017 season by winning the pole for Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

It was Blaney’s second career pole and the 118th for his Wood Brothers team.

Thanks in large part to their alliance with Team Penske, Blaney and the Wood Brothers team have emerged as one of the sport’s teams to watch. They’ve won a race, at Pocono Raceway, made it to the Round of Eight in the Monster Energy Cup playoffs and now have two poles and three other front-row starts, including one at Phoenix in March.

Blaney’s No. 21 SKF/Quick Lane Fusion was among the fastest cars all day on Friday at Phoenix. He was fifth fastest in practice with a best lap at 136.867 miles per hour.

He was fourth fastest in the first two rounds of qualifying, posting speeds of 137.122 mph in the opening round and bumping his speed up to 137.573 mph in the second.

His pole-winning lap was faster still, at 137.942 mph, and it gives him a head start on collecting the much-needed stage points he’ll need to score if he hopes to advance to the championship round of the Monster Energy Cup playoffs.

“We got better each round, which is all you can ask for really,” Blaney said. “I thought the last round was our best.  We ran our fastest time and it was enough.

“That says something strong about this team. We started second here in the spring and to back that up and better it at a big weekend like this, where we have to perform well, that’s definitely encouraging and it gets our weekend started off on a good foot.

“Hopefully, we can keep this momentum up and keep it going and see what we have for them on Sunday.”

34608fa2d0875854ef4102a122c6c015-1Blaney enters the Phoenix weekend sixth in the standings, 22 points away from a berth in the final round of the playoffs, which will be the premier event at next week’s Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

He said it’s possible to make the final playoff round on points, but he likely needs a win to be in.

“You never know what can happen,” he said. “If you go and you get a good couple stages in, you and the 11 [Denny Hamlin] or the 2 [Brad Keselowski] don’t have very good stages, you might be right there.

“You never know how it’s going to be. You just kind of assume those two cars are in the positions they are for a reason – because they run up front every single week.  You just kind of realize the situation that you’re in and where they’re running, but it is possible to point our way in, but I’m not really banking on that.

“That’s going to be really tough to do, along with winning the race.  They’re both going to be tough, but the points thing is not out of the question.”

Blaney pointed out that the immediate challenge is working on the SKF/Quick Lane Fusion in Saturday’s practice to prepare it for Sunday’s race.

“It was really cool outside when we qualified here tonight, and it will be really hot on Sunday,” he said. “We usually see long green-flag runs here and try to keep everything cool – brakes and tires and things like that.

“That’s kind of the opposite of what you want to do in qualifying. You’re trying to get everything in one lap, so we’ll see where our car is.

“I thought we were OK today in race trim. I didn’t think we were great, but we’ll have all of tomorrow to try to get that a little bit better. But just trying to keep the car under you on long runs, that’s what we always see here and I felt like that’s kind of been a struggle for us and hopefully we can change that come Sunday.”

The Can-Am 500 is set to get the green flag just after 12:30 p.m. (2:30 Eastern) with TV coverage on NBC.

 

Blaney, SKF/Quick Lane Team Head To Phoenix Still In The Running For 2017 Championship

f9eb3fe02e5f343588ea646870d08841-1For Eddie Wood, there are two ways of looking at his team’s status headed into this weekend’s Can-Am 500, the final race of the Monster Energy Cup playoffs Round of Eight. On one hand, it’s a “must-win” race if Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 team want to advance to the final round of the playoffs and compete for the Cup title in Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead Miami-Speedway. It is possible for Blaney to get a berth in the title round without a Phoenix win, but it would take a combination of a great finish by Blaney and poor finishes by the other five playoff contenders not already assured of advancing.

On the other hand, it’s a “can’t lose” time for the team, as Blaney and the crew can celebrate a fantastic season no matter how they finish at Phoenix.

With three drivers – Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. – already assured of being in the elite four on Ford Championship weekend, there’s only one spot left and Blaney is sixth in the standings, 22 points below the cut-off line for advancement.

“I think it’s quite an accomplishment to go into the next-to-last race of the season and still be in the running for the championship,” said Wood, co-owner of the No. 21 team. “Going into the season I would have been happy just to make it into the playoffs, so getting through the rounds and coming this far has been a bonus.”

Indeed, Blaney and the team have had an amazing season considering Blaney and his crew chief Jeremy Bullins are just in their second full season in NASCAR’s elite division. And the Wood Brothers are back on a full time basis for just the second year after running a limited schedule for the previous seven seasons.

They scored a win at Pocono, Blaney’s first and the Woods’ 99th, a pole at Kansas, Blaney’s first and the team’s 117th.

So far this season, they have four top-five and 14 top-10 finishes and 290 laps led.

They’ve held their own against the Cup circuit’s elite teams during the eight playoff races to date. As in most years, the playoff participants have been at their best.

“You’ve got to give credit where it’s due,” Wood said. “The teams headed to the championship round have really stepped up their performance,” Wood said. “And Ryan and Jeremy and all of our team members have done the same.

“To have finishes of third, eighth and sixth in the past three races and still needing a win at Phoenix to advance shows just how tough this playoff competition has been.”

Heading into this weekend at Phoenix, Blaney has three Cup starts on the one-mile oval in the Arizona desert. He has two top-10s there, and an average finish of 13.7, but he has a runner-up finish there in the Xfinity Series earlier this year and two top-fives in three Camping World Truck Series starts.

For Sunday’s race, the blue and white colors of SKF will be on the hood, while Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center will be on the quarter panels. SKF was a primary sponsor for the Wood Brothers in two races last season and has been a long-time supporter of motorsports, including a relationship with Wood Brothers’ technical partner, Team Penske.

SKF is a leading global supplier of bearings, seals, mechatronics, lubrication systems, and services. The company is represented in more than 130 countries and has around 17,000 distributor locations worldwide.

Qualifying for the Can-Am 500 is set for Friday at 4:45 p.m. (6:45 p.m. Eastern Time), and Sunday’s 312-lap race is scheduled to start just after 12:30 p.m. (2:30 Eastern) with TV coverage on NBC.

 

Blaney Continues Impressive Playoff Run With Sixth-Place Finish at Texas

bfa6462a913e1be6f95f8e1b40d8e80d-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team turned in another strong playoff performance in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, finishing sixth and scoring a total of 42 points.

It was another example of the determination the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has shown in the extremely competitive Monster Energy Cup playoffs.

Sunday’s race was the fifth top-10 finish in the eight playoff races to date for Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team. And it was their second-best points performance in the playoff, just behind the 44 points scored at Kansas Speedway.

At Texas, Blaney and the team went after stage points in the early going and scored a total of 11 stage points due to finishes of eighth and third in the first two stages.

After starting eighth, Blaney raced in the top 10 for almost all of Sunday’s 500-miler and in the top five for much of that time. His pit crew was flawless all afternoon, and Blaney did some masterful driving, including saving his No. 21 Fusion from damage during a near spin just after the end of the second stage.

a4c26d0f2c62a3b879aef706b0a52305-1 “We didn’t start off very good, and we got really good towards the middle and had one run where I was super loose towards the end,” Blaney said. “I gave up like five spots. I got real loose and that was unfortunate, but we got our car a little bit better at the end.

“We restarted eighth and ran sixth. Thanks to the effort by the Wood Brothers group, and hopefully we’ll have a good Phoenix.”

Despite finishes of sixth and eighth in the first two races of the Round of Eight, Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team find themselves in a must-win situation heading into next week’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

With three drivers already assured of being among the four who will race for the title on Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speeedway, only one spot is available to the other five drivers, including Blaney.

He enters Phoenix sixth in the standings, 22 points behind the cut-off for advancement to Homestead.

 “Obviously, we need to be really aggressive,” he said of his team’s approach to Phoenix. “We need to go try and win the race. That’s really the only thing we can do….

“It’s going to be hard to point your way in because everyone is running pretty good. We’ll just try to win Phoenix and do the best we can.”

 

Stage Points A Huge Factor In Blaney’s Playoff Hopes

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, MartinsvilleAs Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team prepare for the second of three races in the Round of Eight in the Monster Energy Cup playoffs, the goal remains essentially the same as it’s been for every race this season.

That means it’s essential to qualify up front, earn as many stage points as possible in the first two stages of the race, then go all out to the checkered flag.

While many in the sport may have initially underestimated the importance of stage points, which were introduced this year, Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have been pursuing them with a vengeance since the start of the season.

Blaney has scored stage points in 25 of the 33 races run this season for a total of 212 points. He’s eighth among all drivers in stage points earned and sixth among the eight drivers still in the running for the championship.

He’s earned stage points in five of the seven playoff races to date, and his 29 stage points earned in the Round of 12 played a big role in his advancement to the current Round of Eight.

“The stage points are huge,” Blaney said during a media appearance at Martinsville Speedway. “They’re gigantic.  Hopefully, we can gather a bunch of those, but I’m not really sure how many it’s going to take [to advance to the final round].

“You can probably run 10th in every single race in this round and not advance. Stage points matter. I think you’re going to have to get at least 12-15 stage points a race and finish inside the top 10 just to even have a prayer because the competition is so good right now.

“It’s eight of the best cars.”

Team co-owner Len Wood said the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team’s recent performance at Kansas Speedway, where Blaney came from the 40th starting position to score 10 stage points and finish third, bodes well for Texas this weekend.

And Texas, a track that is similar to Kansas, has been good to Blaney as well as he swept both stages in April’s 500-miler.

“I think our run at Kansas shows that we may be a really good car at Texas because I think we won both stages there in the spring,” Wood said. “So let’s hope we’re peaking at the right time.”

Qualifying for the AAA Texas 500 is set for Friday at 5:15 p.m. (6:15 Eastern Time), and the race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. (2 p.m. Eastern) with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Blaney Survives Martinsville Mayhem With Eighth-Place Finish

22814519_10155556096028145_3319956710072506195_nRyan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team remain in contention for a spot in the championship round of the Monster Energy Cup playoffs after surviving a fender-banging First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Blaney scored points in the first two stages, lost a little speed midway through the race, then battled back into the top five for the start of an overtime run to the finish. But he was swept up in a multi-car crash at the finish line and wound up finishing eighth.

That put him sixth in the points standings but just six points shy of being in the top four.

The top four in the standings after the next two races – at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway – will compete for the title in Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Blaney started Sunday’s 500-lapper from the fourth position and scored nine critical points in both of the race’s 130-lap Stages. He was seventh in the first stage and sixth in the second.

He and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team battled back from a tire rub midway through the race and dropped out of the top 10 for a time. But on the final pit stop, crew chief Jeremy Bullins hit the target on the chassis set-up, and Blaney was able to drive his way into the top five for the start of an overtime run to the checkered flag.

Even with his involvement in the last-lap crash, Blaney dropped just three spots in the finishing order, preserving an impressive points day.

“The last handful of restarts were just pandemonium,” Blaney said. “It was pretty ridiculous with everyone wrecking each other and running into each other.

“I thought we were going to make it through the last one, but we just kind of got caught up off of [Turn] Four in all that stuff.  At least we salvaged a decent day.

“Honestly, a lot of cars got torn up, but we’ll go on to Texas and see what we have.”

The ending of the race, while disappointing, wasn’t what team co-owner Eddie Wood had on his mind as he left the track Sunday night.

“It was just a crazy weekend at Martinsville,” Wood said. “Ryan did a great job of keeping the car straight all day, and we can go to Texas still in a good spot in the points standings.

“And we had a great Fan Appreciation Day at the museum in Stuart on Friday. There was a huge crowd there, and a lot of kids having a great time.

“All it all, it was a good weekend.”

Blaney, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Savoring Their Success As They Prepare For Martinsville

As Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team head to Martinsville Speedway for the first race of the Round of Eight in the Monster Energy Cup playoffs, they’re hoping the good times continue to roll.

Not only have Blaney and his Wood Brothers team excelled on the track this year – from winning a pole at Kansas, a race at Pocono and making it into the third round of the playoffs – they’ve had fun getting there.

Blaney said he and his team have a good working relationship, and that extends to their personal dealings as well.

“They just make it a really fun year,” said of his team during the post-race interviews at Kansas Speedway, where he came from the 40th starting spot to score 10 stage points, finish third and advance to the Round of Eight. “Just to be competitive, still be in this [playoff] thing, that’s just a bonus, to be honest with you.”

From his first days with the sport’s oldest continuously operating team, Blaney has had an appreciation for the Wood Brothers’ history and heritage.

Rooster Blaney often wears retro team shirts, caps and even firesuits, but he also appreciates the whimsical side of the organization as evidenced by his wearing of caps featuring the Rhody Creek Rooster. He even paused for a photo with the giant metal bird on a recent trip to Stuart, Va., the Woods’ long-time home.

The rooster resides in the front yard of team co-owner Eddie Wood after Wood’s son Jon challenged the team’s Twitter followers to post 2,000 retweets of a photo of the bird, apparently not realizing the strength and enthusiasm of the team’s social media following.

As the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team prepared to continue its title quest this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, the home track of the Wood Brothers, Blaney and crew chief Jeremy Bullins, the faithful will gather in Stuart on Friday afternoon.

Fan Day Blaney will be among those celebrating the past and the present as the Woods host a Fan Appreciation Day at the team’s museum. The event runs from 2-8 p.m., and Blaney and the Wood Brothers will host a Meet and Greet from 6-8 p.m.

Eddie Wood said events like the Fan Appreciation Day show that both the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team and Blaney are savoring their success and not letting the pressure of the playoffs turn racing into a chore.

“Being in the playoffs is a new experience for us and for Ryan,” Wood said. “We’re enjoying it rather than worrying about it…

“We feel fortunate to get through two rounds, and it’s really cool to have come this far and still have an opportunity to go to Homestead-Miami Speedway and compete for the title on Ford Championship Weekend.”

Wood added that the fact that Blaney and the team are enjoying the ride shouldn’t take away from the fact that it’s taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people to get this far in the playoffs.

“It’s been a hard thing to do for sure,” he said. “We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and hope for the best and be thankful for the results we’ve had so far.”

Qualifying for the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway is set for 12:05 p.m. on Sunday, and the race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. with TV coverage of both qualifying and the race on NBCSN.