Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team look to rebound from a disappointing Saturday night in Texas with another strong short-track run when they fire it up for the Food City 500 Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“After a bad night like we had at Texas, it makes everyone hungry to get back to the race track and rebound,” Blaney said. “We did the same at Vegas (after a 25th-place finish in Atlanta) and it will speak highly of our team if we can do so at Bristol as well.”
Last fall at Bristol, Blaney qualified the Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21 Ford Fusion 15th and finished 22nd in his first start there.
“We were fairly strong in the race last year but got a (pit lane) speeding penalty and that hurt us a lot,” Blaney said of his inaugural run at the “world’s fastest half mile.” “We are excited to go back,” he said.
The NASCAR Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender notched his fourth top-20 of the season on April 3 at the Martinsville short track. According to Blaney, a strong Martinsville run doesn’t guarantee a similar outcome at Bristol.
“The two tracks are very different,” he said. “Teams can't really take any notes from one to the other.”
Crew chief Jeremy Bullins further explained, “Martinsville is a flat, stop-and-go short track and Bristol is a high-banked momentum track with multiple lines and is much faster. The only thing that really carries over from one to the other is staying out of trouble and keeping the car in good shape all day to hopefully be up front at the end.”
All tracks change during the course of a race. Bullins pointed out how Bristol transforms.
“The track will take rubber as the race goes, then under caution as we ride around slowly on hot tires some of that rubber will get picked,” he said. “The groove should move up by the wall, and then even that grip will get used up and guys will move around again. I’d pay attention to the different lines cars can take around Bristol.”
Blaney rides into Bristol 20th in the driver standings and trails Chase Elliott on the Rookie of the Year chart by 13 points.
If he finds his way to victory lane, it will be the second trip there for Wood Brothers Racing at the .533-mile oval. The first came in the spring of 2001 with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel in the team’s first year of Motorcraft sponsorship.
The practice session for Food City 500 qualifying begins at 11 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 15 and can be seen live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Qualifying will take place later that day at 4:15 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on FS1. Saturday’s practice sessions will be run at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., April 16 and be shown on FS1. The Food City 500 begins on FOX at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 17.
Ford Performance PR
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team Looks to Rebound at Bristol
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