Category Archives: 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blaney To Start 15th At New Hampshire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blaney Leads The Way For Ford In Kentucky Qualifying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blaney Hoping To Build Playoff Momentum Beginning This Week At Kentucky

13612367_10154046587968145_5064523819888876480_nRyan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are hoping to capitalize this weekend on the speed they’ve shown in their past two trips to Kentucky Speedway.

Blaney did not get to qualify in 2015. Because the Wood Brothers were at that point a part-time team without a provisional starting spot he didn’t race. Last year, qualifying was rained out again, but he did get to start and ran among the leaders before being collected in a crash on a mid-race restart.

“I think our Cup cars have actually been really good [at Kentucky],” Blaney said on this week’s NASCAR teleconference. “We haven’t really got the great finishes that I feel like we should have gotten there, but I’m excited to get back.

“I’ve always enjoyed the race track and the atmosphere around it, and the repave of that place, what they did last year, I think hopefully will start to widen out and we’ll be able to have multiple grooves there like it used to be.”

Blaney said he’s hoping a strong run at Kentucky will set the tone for the nine-race stretch run to the start of the 10-race playoffs.

He said would like to “just try to put a solid race together and try to build some momentum before the playoffs start here in a little bit.”

Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are positioned well for a spot in the playoffs due to their victory at Pocono Raceway last month, but relying solely on that win isn’t acceptable to Blaney and the team.

“I don’t think we’re really doing anything different from what we have done all year even before we got the win,” he said. “You go out and you try to win stages and win races just like before and just do what we all have been doing all year.

“I think we’ve done a pretty decent job at it. We’ve won a few stages and won a race. You’re just kind of trying to keep building your playoff status and trying to cushion everything from each round that just carries over.

“We really haven’t changed anything. We just go try to win races and stages and run up front like we’ve been trying to do all year.”

Qualifying at Kentucky is set for Friday evening at 6:15 p.m., and the 267-lap, 400-mile race is scheduled to start just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on NBCSN.

Late Crash Leaves Blaney 26th At Daytona

7f534fc1a5b0725f3a978383a70aa8c0-1Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion were major players for the majority of Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

But a multi-car crash with six of the race’s scheduled 160 laps left to run ended Blaney’s night and left him with a 26th-place finish.

Up to that point, he’d been able to move through the field at will and led the race for nine circuits, from Lap 127 to Lap 135.

Just prior to the crash that ended his night, Blaney was racing for the top spot, chose the inside lane, but got no drafting help. He dropped back outside the top 20 but was on his way back to the front when Kyle Larson lost control, made contact with another car and sailed into the air right in front of Blaney, who was against the outside wall and had no escape route.

“I am not sure what happened,” Blaney said. “I saw the 42 [Larson] get turned and get up in the air a little bit.

“I just couldn’t miss him. I was already on the top and I hate that I t-boned him. I just couldn’t get out of the way.”

a397644a7274752bf4993e3a08ec0425-1Not being able to race on to the finish was especially disappointing given the speed of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion. Earlier, Blaney collected nine stage points by finishing third in Stage One and 10th in Stage Two. He continued to run among the leaders once the first two stages were complete.

“I thought we had a really good car,” he said. “We were racing hard. Everyone was racing hard.

“I can’t thank Motorcraft Quick Lane and Ford enough for what they do. We had a super fast Fusion, but it is just the way it goes sometimes. We will go on to Kentucky.”

Blaney remains 13th in the championship standings heading into Saturday night’s 400-miler at Kentucky Speedway.

Fast Qualifying Lap At Daytona Earns Blaney His 12th Top-10 Start of 2017

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, DaytonaRyan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team continued their run of success in Monster Energy Cup qualifying with a ninth-place performance at Daytona International Speedway on Friday.

It was the 12th time in 17 races this season that Blaney has qualified ninth or better.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team unloaded a fast Ford Fusion at Daytona. Blaney, who finished second in his last race on the 2.5-mile track, was fifth fastest in the opening practice session with a best lap at 197.165 miles per hour. The team elected to skip the Happy Hour session on Thursday.

On Friday, Blaney was seventh fastest in the opening qualifying session with a lap at 189.765 mph. Then he ran a tick of the clock quicker at 189.785 mph in the final round to secure the ninth starting spot for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400.

 “We were consistent,” Blaney told reporters after qualifying. “I think our car has good speed, maybe not as much speed as you want in qualifying but I think our race car is going to be pretty fast (on Saturday night).

“We can see the front, which is nice.”

Saturday’s 400-miler is scheduled to get the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. with TV coverage on NBC.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Preparing A Fast Fusion For Daytona

13619882_10154031566798145_8669764816246840374_n As Eddie Wood heads to Daytona International Speedway for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400, the co-owner of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion driven by Ryan Blaney figures there’s no better time to be campaigning a Ford Fusion.

Ford drivers have won seven of the 16 Monster Energy Cup races so far this season including two of the past three, one of them being Blaney’s win at Pocono three weeks ago and the other Kevin Harvick’s triumph at Sonoma on Sunday.

And when it comes to racing on a restrictor-plate track like Daytona, the Blue Oval contingent has been especially strong of late.

At Daytona, Ford drivers have won two straight races and four of the past six. They’ve been even more successful at  Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway, with four-straight victories and wins in five of the past six races there.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion also has had some impressive runs on restrictor-plate races in recent years. Trevor Bayne drove the No. 21 Fusion to victory in the 2011 Daytona 500, and Blaney was runner-up to fellow Ford driver Kurt Busch in the most recent 500.

In February, Blaney started the sport’s showcase race from 40th position in a back-up car after his primary was damaged in his Can-Am Duel qualifying race.

But after just 26 laps he was in the top five. Involvement in two multi-car crashes challenged the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crewmembers as they had to deal with the newly instituted five-minute repair clock, which gives teams just five minutes to get a damaged car up to speed or the car is retired from the event.

The repairs were both quick and successful as Blaney worked his way into contention in the closing laps. He saved his best work for the last lap as he charged forward from outside the top five, using drafting help from fellow Ford driver Joey Logano to take the runner-up spot.

“We had a really good race in February, and we’re hoping to do as well this weekend,” Wood said, adding that his team has been fortunate to win eight July races at Daytona with drivers David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett and Buddy Baker.

Qualifying for the Coke Zero 400 is set for Friday at 4:10 p.m., and the race is schedule to start just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on NBC.