Blaney in No. 21 For Final Time This Weekend

Ryan Blaney 2017With Ryan Blaney and his crew chief, Jeremy Bullins moving to the Team Penske No. 12 next year, the 2017 Homestead-Miami weekend will be the last time Blaney and Bullins will be a part of the No. 21 Wood Brothers team.

For the 2018 season, the No. 21 Ford Fusion will be driven by Paul Menard. Greg Erwin will serve as the No. 21 crew chief.

Performance Resurgence

The three years with Blaney behind the wheel represented a resurgence in performance for NASCAR’s oldest continuously operating race team.

Wood Brothers No. 21 Ryan Blaney 2017Blaney and the Woods ran the 2015 season on a limited schedule of 16 races, before returning to full-time in 2016.

Their 2017 season has been a banner year for the team, celebrating a win at Pocono Raceway, along with poles at Kansas Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. In 2017, the team also had a total of four stage wins and a nine-week run in the Monster Energy Cup playoffs.

Heading into Miami Finale

The Wood Brothers single car team heads into the Ford Championship Weekend eighth in the points standings, just 10 points behind seventh-place Matt Kenseth.

Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have run a total of 87 races together, with eight top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, 49 lead-lap finishes and 317 laps led.

They’ve also achieved several milestones for the Wood Brothers, including the team’s 99th Cup victory at Pocono in June and its 118th pole last week at Phoenix. The team celebrated its 1,500th Cup start back in September at Richmond Raceway.

One-Year Deal to More

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said it’s been a rewarding three-year run that started as a one-year deal and grew into two more.

“The initial expectations of everyone was Ryan was going to go back to Team Penske wherever they were ready,” Wood said.

“We’re fortunate enough to keep him a couple of extra years.”

Part of Wood Brothers History

Wood said like all the drivers who have driven for the team, Blaney will always be a part of the Wood Brothers family.

Blaney’s image is displayed on the team’s wall of winners in the Wood Brothers Museum in Stuart, Virgina. His name will also be displayed along with the all-star line-up of drivers who have won races and poles for the Woods.

Ryan Blaney No. 21 Wood Brothers at Martinsville Speedway 2017From Blaney’s perspective, he said earlier this year that he feels fortunate to have been a part of Wood Brothers history, as well as that of Team Penske.

“I’ve been really lucky to drive for two great teams and get to know some great families and great people along the way,” he said in a press conference announcing his move to a third car at Team Penske.

“Growing up in the sport, I looked up to teams like the Wood Brothers and the Penske organization. To drive for them is definitely something that I would always want to do as a kid.”

“It’s really nice to be able to be in a spot to do that.”

Blaney said in his post-race comments at Phoenix that he’ll give it his best shot in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead even though he won’t be among the four drivers competing for the Cup title.

“It’s a shame we’re not racing for the championship, but we can still try to win the race,” he said.

Ford EcoBoost 400 Schedule

Qualifying for the Ford EcoBoost 400 is set for Friday at 6:15 pm, while the race is scheduled to start right after 2:30 pm on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.

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