Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team played a supporting role in a big racing Sunday for Ford Motor Company.
In Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Blaney and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane team came back from being on the receiving end of some damage in a multi-car crash and being a lap down to finish ninth, the second Ford team in the finishing order behind race winner Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion from Team Penske, which shares equipment and technology with the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.
And the finish came at about the same time that Ford’s sports car racing entry, the Ford GT, scored its first IMSA win, at Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
“It was a great day for Ford Motor Company, and we’re honored to be a part of it,” said Eddie Wood, co-owner of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. “Congratulations to Brad Keselowski and all the people at Team Penske for a great win. Congratulations to Ford Performance and all the people who have worked so hard to get the Ford GT a win in such a short time.”
At Talladega, Blaney started 19th and had the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion into the top 10 by Lap 44.
He spent much of the early and mid portions race running around 15th place before moving up later on.
“We felt like earlier in the race I couldn’t pick a lane that was worth a dang,” Blaney explained afterward. “We kept going backwards.”
But as the laps began to wind down, Blaney’s decisions on which lane to run began looking a lot better.
Through it all, he managed to navigate his way through several multi-car incidents before being collected in a 21-car melee on Lap 162 of 188.
Even so, he was able to avoid major, race-ending damage and made several trips to pit road, where the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew patched up the No. 21 Ford Fusion, which despite its crumpled appearance was as fast as before.
Blaney returned to the race in 26th position, one lap behind the leaders, but got his lap back almost immediately when the caution flag flew for debris on Lap 168. Being the only car scored one lap down, there was no question he was the beneficiary of the free pass.
Back on the lead lap, he began a march to the front. By Lap 177, he was running seventh and again avoided damage in a 12-car wreck.
Blaney lined up in fifth-place for a three-lap run to the finish. He dropped to 15th on the white flag lap, but rallied to finish ninth at the checkered flag. He moved up two spots in the Sprint Cup standings to 18th, just nine points out of 16th, which is the last position to make the chase.
Blaney gave much of the credit for his third top-10 finish of the young season to his crew for their work in repairing his car after the Lap 162 crash.
“They did a good job fixing it,” he said. “It ran fine after that.”
Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team now move to Kansas Speedway for a 400-miler on Saturday night.