Expect Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers Racing Team to make their strongest case for advancement in the NASCAR Playoffs during the next two weekends, beginning this Sunday in the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Talladega and Kansas, the next two stops on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series tour, are among the team’s best tracks in recent years. Strong finishes will be needed with the No. 21 currently five points below the Round 2 cutoff.
When not involved in big wrecks at Talladega, Blaney has piloted the Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21 to finishes of 11th, ninth and fourth. A win, of course, is the ultimate goal, which would give Blaney an automatic transfer to Round 3 of the Playoffs and hand the Wood Brothers their 100th NASCAR premier series victory.
This weekend, the Wood Brothers Racing Ford Fusion will be in its striking blue-and-orange Quick Lane livery. Once again the paint scheme features the Trading One Uniform for Another (TOUFA) logo on the rear quarter panel. TOUFA is the automotive technician scholarship program, developed jointly by Quick Lane and DAV, in which five military veterans receive $10,000 scholarships to pursue a careers as mechanics. Anyone can nominate a veteran by visiting www.QLtradindone.com.
On the Intensity of the NASCAR Playoffs:
“Yeah, it’s intense, for sure. From lap one, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. (It’s) supposed to be ‘on-go’ from the drop of the green flag. There shouldn’t be any riding around. I’m not saying that we do that during the regular season, but there is a lot more give in the regular season and there’s not a lot of that in the postseason and that’s good. That’s how it should be and that’s how I like racing. Intensity is high but that’s what we race for. I like it.”
On Talladega Superspeedway:
“We’re gonna try to run up front and win.”
“There’s confidence because we run pretty decent there. We’ve had some good runs at the speedways, but you never know. We’ve had great runs at Talladega and we got KO’d in the race earlier this year and got knocked-out. You just never know what can happen. It’s just circumstance and chance unless you are just dominant and can lead the whole race. I’ve seen a couple do that in
the past handful of years. But even then I’ve seen them fall back and get wrecked. There’s not a lot of comfort that you can bring to that race. Just know that you run decent that and our car is pretty fast.
Hopefully you can make the right move and decisions and have a little bit of luck on your side. That comes into play on those tracks, unfortunately. There’s confidence but not a lot of comfort.”
RYAN BLANEY NASCAR PLAYOFFS STATUS:
Is 11th on the NASCAR Playoffs grid, five points below the Round 2 cutoff
RYAN BLANEY TALLADEGA FAST FACTS:
- Finished fourth in his first Cup race at Talladega in 2015
- Finished ninth and 11th at Talladega in 2016
- Finished 39th in May after a late-race crash
WOOD BROTHERS TALLADEGA FAST FACTS:
This will be the team’s 90th start at Talladega
Has five wins, most recent in the fall of 1980 with Neil Bonnett
Team has 18 top-five finishes, most recent a fourth in spring of 2015 with Ryan Blaney
Blaney had most-recent of team’s 31 top 10s in the spring of 2016
On Talladega Superspeedway:
“I feel like we can win at Talladega although it’s hit-or-miss. You’re either going to run well or get caught up in a wreck. We know our speedway program is really good. We’ve got good speedway cars, so I’m not worried about being competitive at this one.”
WEEKEND SCHEDULE ON NBCSN & NBC (All times Eastern)
Friday: Oct. 13, 1-1:55 p.m. – Practice, NBCSN
Oct. 13, 3-3:55 p.m. – Practice, NBCSN
Saturday: Oct. 14, 4:15 p.m. – Qualifying, NBCSN
Sunday: Oct. 15, 2 p.m. – Alabama 500, NBC
CMC PR/Photo Getty Images for NASCAR