Most 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.