Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will be back on the road this weekend, road racing at historic Watkins Glen in New York.
The Wood Brothers and their No. 21 Fords have a history of running well at the Glen. In their first trip there, back in 1965, the late Marvin Panch took the lead on Lap 12 and led the remaining 53 laps to take the victory over Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker and Cale Yarborough.
NASCAR left the Glen after that race and didn’t return until 1986, when Kyle Petty drove the Woods’ car to a ninth-place finish. In 1991, Dale Jarrett finished fifth in the No. 21, and the next year, Morgan Shepherd scored a runner-up finish in the No. 21 behind Kyle Petty, who drove for Felix Sabates at that time.
Michael Waltrip had a seventh-place finish in 1996, and Ricky Rudd was eighth in 2004.
In 2008, Marcos Ambrose drove from the 43rd starting position to third at the finish.
The Woods did not compete at the Glen again until last year when their current driver, Ryan Blaney, finished 19th in his Glen debut.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he expects Blaney to be much improved at the Glen this year.
“Ryan finished ninth at Sonoma earlier this year, and Watkins Glen, with its higher speeds, probably suits his driving style better,” Wood said. “I think a top-10 finish is a reasonable goal, and of course it would be good to get some stage points as well. With this being a road race anything can happen given the different strategies that will be used.”
Blaney has been able to finish in the top 10 at the end of at least one the first two stages in 16 of the 21 races so far this season, thereby earning 152 bonus points that likely will be key factors in the final points standings.
He has earned points in both of the first two stages in 11 races and has three stage wins including a victory in the first Pocono race.
“Our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusions have qualified well and had speed all year,” Wood said.
“We’re looking for another strong performance on Sunday.”
Qualifying at Watkins Glen is set for Sunday at 12:05 p.m., and the 90-lap, 220.5-mile race is set to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. with TV coverage for both events on NBCSN.