Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion turned in their second strong performance in as many weeks with a seventh-place finish at the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. It was the rookie driver’s second top 10 and fourth top 15 finish of the season.
The Wood Brothers’ famous No. 21 followed last weekend’s 14th-place showing by qualifying eighth for the Kansas race.
Starting from that eighth spot, Blaney ran in the top 10 for most of the 267-laps, leading the race on laps 215-219. He dropped only as far back as 17th at lap 158.
“We started off fairly decent,” Blaney said after climbing out of his racer. “I lost some track position at one point in the race and we kind of got behind on the car a little bit. I thought we were going to struggle after that but (crew chief) Jeremy (Bullins) did a great job of getting us better and getting us where we needed to be at the end, and be able to run toward the front. Overall these guys put together a good race car and it's a great way to start the last four races of the season."
While running most of the race in the top 10, Blaney said he was keenly aware of the drivers around him striving to get to the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, especially on re-starts.
"When you've got a bunch of Chase guys around you don't want to take a chance," the 21-year-old rookie driver said. "You always think of that, especially on that last re-start. You think about trying to make something happen and be more aggressive but you don't want to put them in a bad spot and have something bad happen to them."
With strong race runs in consecutive weeks, Blaney is optimistic the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will finish the season on a positive note, starting next weekend in Talladega where he finished 4th in May.
"I feel pretty good about the rest of the year,” Blaney said. “We've learned some things. We still have to get a lot better but we're getting there. Being on the race track more is part of it. Things come with time for both Jeremy and me and we're finally getting some time under our belt."
The next stop for Wood Brothers Racing is the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2:30 p.m.
Ford Performance PR