Blaney’s Second Round Playoff Berth on the Line at Dover

Ryan Blaney 2017Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Wood Brothers Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford are celebrating their first playoff berth. After a slow start to the playoffs at Chicagoland Speedway, and then a strong start and finish at New Hampshire, the team has a real chance to advance to round two. The team’s second round chances are all about the finish this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

With two playoff races down in the first round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs for 2017, Ryan Blaney enters Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway in eighth place in the standings. Dover is the final final race in Round One. Blaney holds a 26-point gap between him and 13th-place Austin Dillon. The bottom four of the 16 drivers who entered the championship hunt will be eliminated after Sunday’s race.

Cautiously Optimistic About Dover

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he’s cautiously optimistic about Sunday’s race at Dover, given the team’s steady performance under great pressure the past two weeks, with finishes of 11th at Chicago and ninth at New Hampshire, and the speed the team has shown at Dover International Speedway in recent races there.

“We had a fast car at Dover in June,” Wood said.

“We were seventh in the first stage and eighth in the second before a mechanical issue set us back.

Stage Points

Wood said that the team has seen this year how important stage points can be.

No. 21 Wood Brothers piloted by Ryan Blaney 2017“…so we’re hoping for a solid qualifying effort that will give us track position early, which will be a key to earning stage points,” he said.

The Wood Brothers have a Cup owners’ championship from 1963. But this year marks the first time that the team has participated in the multi-round format that determines the Cup series champion.

Memorable Season for Wood Brothers Team

The No. 21 Wood Brothers team said in a press release that no matter how Sunday’s race turns out, the 2017 season will go down as a memorable one for the sport’s longest continuously operating race team.

“We’re grateful just to be in a position to advance to the second round of the playoffs,” Wood said.

“It’s just our second year back on a full-time basis after running a partial schedule for seven seasons.

“We’ve been fortunate to have the support of Motorcraft and Quick Lane and all the people at Ford Motor Company, and our alliance with Team Penske has been a key to us getting our 99th win at Pocono and being on the verge of advancing to the Round of 12.”

Qualifying for Sunday’s 400-miler is set for Friday at 3:40pm Eastern Time. Sunday’s Apache Warrior 400 race is scheduled to start at 2:15pm. TV coverage is on NBCSN.

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