Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team needed a strong performance at Kansas Speedway last weekend to advance to Round 3 of the NASCAR Playoffs and got it. They’ll need another one Sunday in the First Data 500 at Martinsville to keep their championship hopes alive.
When the dust settled on his drive from 40th to third at Kansas, Blaney was seventh in the playoff standings and had advanced to the Round of Eight, eight points behind the fourth place needed to run for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
At first glance, Martinsville may not be the ideal track for Blaney to pursue his first NASCAR title and the Wood Brothers’ first since 1963, but the young wheelman is improving at the team’s home track.
He had a pair of 19th-place finishes in his initial two races at Martinsville last season. In April of this year, however, he started seventh and scored points in the first two stages before a stuck jack on pit road and a Stage 3 wreck pushed the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion back to a 25th-place finish.
In addition to winning at Martinsville to secure a spot in the championship four at Homestead, Blaney still wants to hand the Wood Brothers their 100th premier series victory. There is perhaps no better place for that than in the family’s home state.
On Martinsville Speedway:
“I thought we were pretty decent, actually, in the first race here. We got in some trouble towards the three-quarter mark of the race. This hasn’t been my best track, but I feel I’ve gotten a little bit better here as we’ve raced here, but I’m just learning things and trying to build a notebook. I think that’s what it’s all about.”
On Giving the Wood Brothers Their 100th Win at Martinsville:
“It would be great. I think any win at any race track we won at to get number 100 would be special, but to do it here, being a home track for both of us – the Wood Brothers and myself – would be very neat. It would be a huge deal. It would be awesome to come here and make it happen. It’s really cool to see the fan support for the Wood Brothers here at this race track and it’s only about 25 minutes down the road to Stuart (VA), where they originated, so that would be a big deal.”
On the 2017 Season So Far:
“I think we've done a great job this year. I would say this is probably the most fun I've ever had racing with anybody, no matter what car. (The Wood Brothers team) just make it a really fun year. Just to be competitive, still be in this thing, that's just a bonus, to be honest with you. So I didn't really have any goals, expectations. I just wanted us to do well, see where it ended up. It's going pretty decent for us right now. Hopefully we can keep that going.”
Ford Performance PR