Ford Championship Weekend will be bittersweet for Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Ford EcoBoost 400 as the final race of the three-season Wood-Blaney partnership provides the bitter while the sweet is a celebration of a very successful 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series campaign.
Blaney’s first career win, his two poles and his deep NASCAR Playoffs run is plenty to celebrate. As is the Wood Brothers’ best season since 1995 when Morgan Shepherd drove the iconic No. 21 to sixth in the driver standings.
There is, however, one goal left to accomplish – getting the Woods their 100th NASCAR premier series win.
A top-10 qualifier in his first two runs at Homestead, Blaney needs to stay out of trouble early in the race to improve on his previous results at the track to have a chance at his second career win and the Woods’ landmark 100th.
In 2015, Blaney started sixth but had a bad re-start on worn tires after the event’s first caution period that sent him back to 31st. He battled back to finish 17th.
Last season he started eighth, had an early race brush with the wall that caused a flat tire, lost a lap and finished 26th.
On His Last Start for the Wood Brothers:
“I have mixed emotions about the last start. It’s been a great past couple of years. My main focus is trying to win for the Wood Brothers one last time.”
On Getting the Wood Brothers Their 100th Victory:
“It’s really all I’ve been thinking about. I️ want to be the guy who gets number 100 for them. That’s something huge.”
On Giving the No. 21 Its Best Season Since 1995:
“I️ haven’t really thought about the points deal since we got knocked out, but that’s a good stat. Hopefully we can finish the best we can.”
On Homestead-Miami Speedway:
“Miami is a fun place. You can move all around the track from top to bottom. It’s a great place to end the season. It’s a shame we’re not racing for the championship, but we can still try to win the race.”
RYAN BLANEY HOMESTEAD FAST FACTS:
- Is eighth in the driver standings
Has four top-five finishes in 2017
- Has 14 top-10 finishes in 2017
Led 301 laps so far this season
WOOD BROTHERS HOMESTEAD FAST FACTS:
- This will be the team’s 19th start at Homestead
- Has two top-10 finishes at the track
Best finish was ninth (Elliott Sadler in 2002 and Ricky Rudd in 2004)
CREW CHIEF JEREMY BULLINS
On the 2017 Season:
“Although we were planning to be in the Championship Four, if you stand back and look at our season objectively you have to say it was a great year. A win, two poles, four stage wins, 14 top 10s and a deep Playoff run is something the entire team can be proud of.”
On Winning 100 for Wood Brothers Racing:
“Now, we just need to finish strong at Homestead and give the Wood Brothers their 100th Cup win. We can do that if we continue to do our jobs at the level we showed during the Playoffs.”
WEEKEND TV SCHEDULE ON NBC, NBCSN & CNBC (All times Eastern):
Friday Nov. 17, 12:30-1:55 p.m., Practice, NBCSN
Nov. 17, 6:15 p.m., Qualifying, NBCSN
Saturday Nov. 18, 10-10:55 a.m., Practice, CNBC
Nov.18, 1-1:50 p.m., Practice, NBCSN
Sunday Nov. 19, 2:30 p.m., Ford EcoBoost 400, NBC
CMC PR/Photo Getty Images for NASCAR