The ebb and flow of a 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup season dictates that teams will have good days and not-so-good days. Driver Ryan Blaney’s 35th-place finish in the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway is an example of the latter.
Following consecutive top-10 finishes, the rough surface of the Fontana racetrack took its toll on the Motorcraft Quick Lane Ford Fusion which blew a tire on the 195th of 205 laps run sending the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 into the wall and near the bottom of the scoring pylon.
“We blew a tire,” Blaney explained. “I don’t know what happened. There was no warning and the tire just exploded into (turn) three. That stunk.”
The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford ran strong all day, especially toward the end of long green-flag runs. Although he spent most of the day running around his 14th-place starting position, Blaney ran lap 79 in seventh.
“We were good on some runs, but at the end of the race we weren’t very good,” Blaney said. “We really struggled bad on restarts, really bad. It would take about 20 laps to go forward, but we just lost all of our track position and then got in the wall and that really hurt our race car. We were going to salvage a decent day and then the tire exploded.”
The finish drops Blaney from 12th to 17th in the points race. He’s now tied with Chase Elliott in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.
Like the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team will take Easter off and re-convene for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
It will be the team’s first trip to Martinsville since 2011 and will include an open house at the Wood Brothers Museum in nearby Stuart, where Blaney and the original Wood Brothers will be signing autographs from 6:30-9 p.m. on Friday, April 1.
“Friday night will be a lot of fun for everyone,” said team co-owner Eddie Wood. “We’re really looking forward to seeing all the fans and be able to thank them in person. We’ve had so much support from them this year it’s just beyond words,”