Category Archives: 2017

Blaney Remains In Top 10 In Points After Finishing 11th at Chicagoland

84160212860cbd6f1b4dac452fc8d407-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were able to bounce back from early misfortune in Sunday’s playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway and come home with an 11th-place finish that keeps them in the top 10 in points heading into the second playoff race at New Hampshire next Sunday.

Blaney started 12th at Chicagoland but dropped back early and fell off the lead lap due to contact with another car.

He remained off the lead lap through the first two stages and got his break of the day when the caution flag flew on Lap 169 for a spin by Jamie McMurray while Blaney was in the free pass position.

From there on to the finish of the 267-lap race it was a matter of first passing the lapped cars ahead of him on the next restart then overtaking those ahead of him on the lead lap. He wound up 11th, which was 10th among the playoff contenders.

71c58f1aedb9b762a9418d5c10b3c40e-1He did fall one spot in the standings and heads to New Hampshire 68 points out of the lead and eight points ahead of 13th-place Kurt Busch. The bottom four drivers in the playoff standings will be eliminated after two more races.

Blaney pointed out in his post-race comments that the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team wasn’t the only playoff contender to have an up-and-down day at Chicagoland.

“We started off not great, got into it with a lapped car,” he said. “That put us behind and got us a lap down.

“We spent a long time trying to get a lap back and finally did and were able to go racing. We went the wrong way on our last adjustment and that hurt us unfortunately.”

“We can’t hang our heads about that. A lot of other cars had problems today. It stinks we didn’t get any stage points, but maybe next week.”

The championship hunt continues on Sunday with a 300-miler at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Honored To Be A Part Of NASCAR’s Playoffs

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, RichmondAs Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team heads to Chicagoland Speedway to kick off their first-ever appearance in NASCAR’s playoffs, team co-owner Eddie Wood is hoping for a strong run over the final 10 races. But foremost on his mind at this point is that he’s simply glad to be among the elite 16 teams that will begin the run to the championship.

“It’s truly an honor to be a part of it,” he said. “I’m proud of our race team. I’m proud of all of our sponsors – Motorcraft and Quick Lane and the people at Ford Motor Company.

“And I’m thankful for our alliance with Team Penske and all the people there. We rely on them so heavily and they’re a big part of us being in the playoffs.”

Wood said that it took a lot of work by a lot of people over the course of the 26-race regular season to get into the elite 16. The clincher was a victory in June at Pocono Raceway.

Now it’s a matter of performing at a high level and seeing how the races play out.

“You need to be aggressive, but no so much that you get in trouble,” Wood said. “And you need to make smart calls and not second-guess yourself.

“I’ve always believed that if you think long you think wrong. Your first thought is usually the right one.”

Wood also recognizes that the playoffs typically see the teams involved step up their performances, and he believes that will be the case again this year.

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, Richmond “The competition is tough, as tough as it’s ever been,” he said.

For Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, there’s little reason to look too far down the schedule. The elimination format for the playoffs will see four teams dropped after each three-race round leaving just four to compete for the title at the Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Wood said all the races in the playoffs are important, especially the three in Round One.

“If you’re fortunate to run well and finish up front in those races or even win one and advance, then you start worrying about the next three,” he said. “You’ve got to take them one at a time.”

Qualifying for Sunday’s 400-miler at Chicagoland is set for Friday at 5:45 p.m. (6:45 Eastern Time), and the race is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. (3 p.m. Eastern) on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

With Richmond Behind Him, Blaney Ready For First Playoff Appearance

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, RichmondWith a mediocre 18th-place finish at Richmond Raceway in the rear-view mirror, Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team head to Chicagoland Speedway ninth in the standings as the 10-race Monster Energy Cup playoffs begin.

Blaney will start the playoffs, his first, with 2008 points, the eight bonus points coming from his victory in June at Pocono Raceway that put him in the playoffs and two stage wins at Texas Motor Speedway.

At Richmond, Blaney started 14th and moved up to as high as 11th in the early going. Despite some quick work on pit road by the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew, which gained his two spots on two occasions, Blaney was unable to join the race leaders and eventually fell outside the top 15. He was a lap down for much of the latter stages of the race but took the wave-around on a late-race caution to be among the drivers on the lead lap at the finish. It was his 14th lead-lap finish in the 26-race regular season.

Blaney said after the race that he was ready to put Saturday’s race behind him and focus on getting ready to move on to the playoffs.

“We knew tonight was going to be a struggle,” he said. “This is probably our worst race track, and it’s been my worst race track my whole career.”

Blaney said the upcoming venues are a different story.

db2178ef2a737f3309121624542df8af-1 “I think all of the races in the playoffs we can go and do really good at,” he said. “I think the first round is pretty strong for us, and Chicago has always been a fast race track for us, so hopefully we can start off with a strong showing and can have a good run to where we go to Loudon, which is probably our worst track in that little series.

“We still run decent there, but I think the biggest thing is just not making mistakes, getting stage points and not messing up on pit road with speeding or things like that. You don’t want silly things happening that kind of take you out of the first round because I think Round Two is really, really strong for us.

“There are some really good tracks for us in there, but I’m proud to just be in it. It’s nice to be a part of it with the Wood Brothers in my last year with them and hopefully we can have a good 10 weeks.

“It’s going to be fun.”

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Hoping To End Regular Season On A Positive Note

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, RichmondThanks to a win in June at Pocono Raceway, Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team head to the regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway this weekend without the pressure of trying to secure a berth in the 10-race, championship-deciding playoffs.

Blaney is among the 13 drivers who secured one of 16 playoff berths via a race win during the regular season. The remaining three spots are in play at Richmond, with those going to either the three who have the most points of the winless driver or another driver who might score his or her first victory of the season at Richmond.

Without the pressure to make the playoffs, Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team can use the weekend to prepare for their first trip to the playoffs.

“We just need a good, steady performance at Richmond to get everything on a positive note heading into the playoffs,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “Ryan got the outside pole when we were there in April, so we have the potential to have a good finish on Saturday.”

Looking ahead to the playoffs, Wood likes the line-up of hosting tracks, as five of them are intermediate tracks with Talladega Superspeedway and Phoenix Raceway in there as well.

“We’ve had fast cars all year long at the mile-and-a-half tracks, so we’re excited to get back to them,” he said. “Talladega’s been good to us over the years, and Ryan has had success at Phoenix. We’ll just go run the races and see how it works out.

“We’re just happy to be one of the teams in the playoffs and happy to have a chance to represent Motorcraft/Quick Lane and Ford Performance in these upcoming races.”

Qualifying at Richmond is set for 5:45 p.m. on Friday, and the 400-lap, 300-mile race is scheduled to start just after 7:30 p.m. with TV coverage on NBCSN.

The Lady In Black and Lady Luck Are Unkind To Blaney And The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, DarlingtonThe Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway turned out to be a long, frustrating experience for Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team as they finished 31st, 11 laps behind the leaders.

Blaney started 12th and quickly moved into the top 10 only to have the Lady in Black reach out and slap him.

After pitting for repairs from his brush with the wall, Blaney returned to the track two laps in arrears. He took the wave-around to make up one of those laps and was the free pass driver during a caution period at Lap 126.

Back on the lead lap, he quickly dispatched the lap-down drivers he started behind and began working his way back toward the front.

Then Lady Luck turned on him in the form of an engine issue that left him with a loss of power that plague him for the remainder of the race.

Even so, he managed to hang onto the lead lap before more contact with the wall led to a long stay on pit road.

Back on the track, Blaney soldiered his way to the checkered flag in 31st place.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said there were bright spots from the Throwback-themed weekend at Darlington.

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, DarlingtonThe paint scheme on the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion was designed to honor the days in the 1980s when Kyle Petty was the team’s driver.

“We really appreciate Kyle helping out with that,” Wood said. “He wore his uniform from back then, took a lot of pictures and overall did a great job representing our team.”

And, Wood said, it was a great feeling to be at Darlington with its emphasis on the throwback theme and a packed grandstand for Sunday night’s race.

“Outside of the Daytona 500, the Southern 500 at Darlington is as good as it gets,” he said.

Now Wood and the team turn their attention to the final race of the regular season on Saturday night at Richmond Raceway and the start of the playoffs the following week.

“We’ll just keep plugging away and try to have a good run at Richmond to end the regular season strong and start the playoffs on a positive note,” he said.

Throwback Darlington Weekend Is A Special One For Kyle Petty, Ryan Blaney And The Wood Brothers

For people who appreciate the history and heritage of NASCAR, any trip to Darlington Raceway, the sport’s original superspeedway, is a memorable experience.

Since 2015, when NASCAR returned to Darlington to race on Labor Day weekend, the track’s traditional date, teams have celebrated the return with special throwback paint schemes, adding another nostalgic element to the Darlington experience.

e62d7af912ab7eb808167ae45a1b62d4-1This year, the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will carry a paint scheme based on the Thunderbird that Kyle Petty raced for the Woods from 1985 to 1988.

Petty ran eight races at Darlington for the Woods, with six finishes of 14th or better.

While Darlington wasn’t one of his better tracks, Petty had several milestone accomplishments with the Woods, including his first Cup win, at Richmond in 1986, and a victory in the World 600 at Charlotte in the next year.

Aside from the on-track accomplishment, there was a strong personal bond between Petty and the Woods, particularly current team co-owners Eddie and Len Wood.

“We were older than Kyle, but he had been around the sport so long it was like we were the same age,” Eddie Wood said. “People said a Petty and the Woods wouldn’t work, but that made us even more determined to make it work, and it did.”

It turned out that the Woods and the Pettys had more in common than racing.

49bd086b4b998191f7b2b9d984456658-1“We spent a lot of time telling family stories, and the same things happened with both families,” Wood said. “We ate the same things for supper, and the way our mealtimes played out was essentially the same.”

When they were racing together in the mid-1980s, the Woods and Petty represented the younger generation of their established racing families, as Petty had followed his grandfather Lee and his father Richard into the sport. Eddie and Len Wood were second-generation racers, coming into the sport after their father Glen founded the team that now is the oldest continuously operation organization in NASCAR.

This weekend, the Darlington festivities will see three sets of third-generation racers at work in and around the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.

Kyle Petty, in addition to spending time with the No. 21 team, will work the race as a TV analyst for NBCSN.

The Woods’ current driver, Ryan Blaney, is a third-generation racer, following his late grandfather Lou Blaney and his father Dave Blaney.

And when the Wood Brothers’ business manager and Twitter expert Jon Wood, Eddie’s son, climbs atop the pit box to report on the race, he’ll be representing the third generation of his family. Jon’s sister Jordan and his cousin Keven, Len’s son, also are members of the family team.

“That longevity in the sport shows that all three families are just real racers,” Wood said. “Racing is about all any of us have ever done. Our dad was a sawmiller who became a racer, just like Ryan’s grandfather. And Lee Petty was a mechanic who became a racer.

“The fact that the third generations of our families are still working in the sport shows a lot of determination and passion for NASCAR racing.”

Qualifying for the Southern 500 is set for 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, and the race is scheduled to start just after 6 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Will Return to Famed Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford Fusion in 2018 with New Driver Paul Menard

WB17 front 3_4The iconic No. 21 Ford Fusion race car of Wood Brothers Racing will have a new face behind the wheel in 2018, but for 14 races it will have a very familiar look to race fans as Motorcraft and Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers return as major sponsors of the team for the 18th season.

Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD), the parent organization for Motorcraft and Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers, signed an extension to be the primary race sponsor for 14 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup events next season. The partnership between FCSD and Wood Brothers Racing began in 2001.

It was announced last month that Paul Menard, a 14-year NASCAR Cup veteran, will replace Ryan Blaney as driver of the No. 21 car. Blaney will transition to a third full-time Cup Fusion with Team Penske in 2018. Menard, the 2011 Brickyard 400 winner, also will have Menards sponsorship on the No. 21 car for 22 races. In more than 380 career Cup races Menard has posted 19 top-five and 58 top-10 finishes.

“We are very excited about the future of our association with Wood Brothers Racing with Paul Menard behind the wheel of the iconic No. 21,” said Brett Wheatley, executive director, North America, Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD). “The announcement today solidifies the full-time status of Wood Brothers Racing going forward, and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of that.”

“We have certainly enjoyed having Ryan behind the wheel of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion these past couple of years and look forward to watching him the rest of the season and throughout the playoffs and hope to send him off to Team Penske with a NASCAR championship and help to score the Wood Brothers their historic 100th win.”

Blaney has blossomed in his second full-time season driving the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, earning the team’s 99th career victory, and his first Cup win, at Pocono in June. The win locked Blaney and the Wood Brothers into the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

In 2017, FCSD has used three of its primary brands as part of the No. 21 sponsorship – Motorcraft, Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers and Omnicraft Auto Parts. Details of which 2018 events the FCSD brands will be the primary sponsor on the car will be announced at a later date.

Blaney Finishes 10th in Night Race At Bristol

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, BristolRyan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team came away from the Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway with a 10th-place finish and some growing momentum heading into an off week followed by the final two races of the regular season.

Saturday night’s finish was Blaney’s ninth top 10 of the season and his second in the past three races. In between he had a 15th-place finish at Michigan, and he and the team head into the off week 12th in the championship standings.

Blaney started 10th and finished the first 125-lap Stage in seventh place, collecting four bonus points. It was the 19th time this season that he has scored stage points, and he now has 168 stage points.

He finished outside the top 10 in the second stage due to damage from contact on the track and the misfortune of having to restart several times on the bottom line, which was slower than the top on restarts.

He and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team gambled on a late-race caution and saved its last set of tires for a yellow flag that never flew.

Still, Blaney was optimistic about his team’s prospects going forward when he spoke with reporters after the race.

“We were probably a little better at the beginning and we had really good short run speed and really good long run speed, but that middle portion wasn’t the best,” he said. “It’s something to be proud of. I wish those guys at the end with tires didn’t get us, but I didn’t think they were going to run all those green flag laps.”

“I thought there was going to be a caution, and we could come get tires and be in a good spot. That’s the way it goes. We persevered all night. I’m really proud of our team getting our car better.”

90c922402aa816475edc60e90355efa8-1 “I can’t thank Motorcraft and Quick Lane and Ford enough for what they do.”

He added that the solid runs of recent weeks are just what he and his team are looking for at this point in the season.

“That’s what we need to build on for the playoffs in a few weeks,” he said. “Hopefully we can have some solid momentum going into [the playoffs].”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that while he would have liked to have had a better finish to honor the memory of his cousin and fellow team member Butch Moricle, who died unexpectedly last week, it’s hard to be disappointed with a 10th-place finish at Bristol.

“Any time you can have a car that will still roll at the end of Bristol and a top-10 finish, you take that and be happy with it,” Wood said. “And it was nice to see [track owner] Bruton Smith at the drivers’ meeting and a good crowd in the stands.”

“They’ve had some bad luck with weather here the last few races, and it’s looking like Bristol is on its way back.”

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will enjoy a week off before getting back to work at Darlington Raceway in two weeks.

Blaney Qualifies 10th For Bristol Night Race; Team To Honor Late Crewman Butch Moricle

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, Bristol Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team unloaded another fast Ford Fusion at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday. They set the pace in final practice for the second-straight week and earned the 10th starting spot for Saturday’s Night Race.

It was the 16th time in 24 races this season that Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have qualified in the top 10.

Blaney was fourth fastest in the opening practice session with a lap at 128.917 miles per hour. Then, for the second-straight week he set the pace in final practice, this time turning a lap at 128.554 mph.

In qualifying, Blaney was ninth fastest in the opening round with a lap at 128.142 mph, then seventh in the second round with a lap at 127.758 mph before running 126.854 mph in the third round to secure the 10th starting spot.

“I’d like to be nine spots better, but I think our car was pretty decent,” Blaney said. “We lost a little bit of speed going into qualifying, which kind of stinks, but we still got a pretty decent starting spot for the race.”

“We can see the front, and I think our race car was fairly decent today. Hopefully, we’ll make some good changes and we’ll see where this Xfinity race goes in terms of the line and stuff, and then go from there.”

IMG_0213 The No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion will carry a special decal this weekend to honor the memory of long-time crew member Butch Moricle, who passed away unexpectedly on Aug.15 at the age of 65.

Moricle, a first cousin of current team owners Eddie and Len Wood and their sister Kim Wood Hall and nephew of family matriarch Bernece Wood, has been a member of the Wood Brothers crew since 1972, when he came on board to help the team get two cars prepared for the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Moricle worked on the second car, a No. 41 Mercury which A.J. Foyt drove to a fourth-place finish. David Pearson, in the familiar No. 21, was third.

Moricle became a full-time employee in 1985 when the team first went full-time racing. He’s been with the Wood Brothers since and most recently worked on the restoration of cars from the team’s early days.

His first replica race car project was in 1996, when he worked on a 1937 Ford called the Backseater. In 2012, he helped build a 1963 Galaxie like Tiny Lund’s Daytona 500 winner.

The next year he worked on a 1961 Starliner like the one Glen Wood raced.

IMG_0212 For the past two years he restored a 1962 Starlift like Marvin Panch drove, and was working on a 1954 Ford replica at the time of his death.

“We’re really going to miss him, he and I were born in the same hospital one day apart.” Eddie Wood said. “He was a really, really good machinist, fabricator and mechanic.”

“When he first came to work for us we didn’t have enough parts to have two cars ready to race. It was kind of a last-minute deal for A.J. to drive for us, and Butch made a lot of the money parts that we needed to get the second car ready.”

Eddie and Len Wood plan to attend Moricle’s funeral Saturday morning in Stuart, Va., then travel to Bristol for the Night Race, which is set to get the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. with TV coverage on NBC.

Wood Brothers Team Preparing To Race For A Second Car Owner Championship

Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team head to Bristol Motor Speedway looking for a strong run to build momentum as Blaney prepares himself to battle for his first championship in NASCAR’s elite division while his Wood Brothers team is seeking its second car owner title.

Many fans know the Woods, NASCAR’s longest continuously operating team, have won 99 Cup races and 117 poles, but few realize the Woods also have an owner’s championship from the 1963 season.

IMG_0207 The ’63 season saw Joe Weatherly win his second straight championship by cobbling together a string of nine different car owners through the course of the season. Weatherly, who had driven the Woods’ No. 21 himself in four races in prior seasons, ran a total of 53 races in 1963, winning three of them and scoring 20 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes. But since he ran for so many different owners none of them accumulated as many points as the Woods, who ran 23 races with the No. 21 scoring three wins, 16 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes.

The Woods used five drivers – Fred Lorenzen, Tiny Lund, Dave MacDonald, Marvin Panch and team founder Glen Wood.

Lund won the Daytona 500 that year, while Panch won at North Wilkesboro and Wood at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

IMG_0205The owner’s championship trophy from 1963 carries the name of Ray Lee Wood, one of the original Wood Brothers crew and a brother of other team members Glen, Leonard, Delano and the late Clay. Ray Lee was a tire changer before retiring from racing in 1965.

Glen Wood said he listed his brother’s name as the car owner in ‘63 to save money.

“You had to buy a different license for the driver and car owner, so instead of buying two in my name I put one in Ray Lee’s,” Wood recalled. “I saved ten dollars by doing it, but ten dollars was a good bit of money back then.

“It was my car, but it’s his name on the trophy.”

If Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were to win the championship this year, Wood will be expecting a much bigger check than he received back in 1963.

“I don’t even remember how much it was,” he said. “But it was nothing like what it pays today.”

The next step on the road to the championship is on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, where qualifying for the Night Race is set for 5:45 p.m. on Friday and the 500-lap race is scheduled to start just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on NBC.