DEARBORN – Leading eight laps and finishing fourth at Chicagoland Speedway last season gives Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team confidence this weekend as the NASCAR Playoffs begin at the Tales of the Turtles 400.
A late-race pit strategy gamble put Blaney and the Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21 Ford in position to win in overtime at Chicagoland a year ago but cars with newer tires were able to get by on the last re-start and he ended up with a very strong top-five result.
This is the first NASCAR postseason appearance for both Blaney and the Wood Brothers.
On the NASCAR Playoffs:
“I think the playoffs are going to be really good for us. I think the biggest thing is just not making mistakes, getting stage points and not messing up on pit road with speeding or things like that. You don’t want silly things happening that kind of take you out of the first round because I think round two is really, really strong for us. There are some really good tracks for us in there, but I’m proud to just be in it. It’s nice to be a part of it with the Wood Brothers in my last year with them and hopefully we can have a good 10 weeks. It’s gonna be fun.”
On Chicagoland Speedway:
“I think the first round is pretty strong for us and Chicago has always been a fast race track for us. I wish we went to Chicago a couple of times a year. It’s an amazing race track. I couldn’t think of a better place to start off the Playoffs. We’ve always seemed to run fairly well there and it’s a track I’ve personally enjoyed in the Cup series, trucks and XFINITY cars. I like going there and it’s always good to start your Playoff run on the right foot. We had a strong run there last year and hopefully we can repeat that if not do a little better.”
RYAN BLANEY NASCAR PLAYOFFS STATUS:
Starts the 2017 NASCAR Playoff ninth on the grid
RYAN BLANEY CHOCAGOLAND FAST FACTS:
- Started 22nd and finished fourth in 2016
- Led eight laps in his first run at Chicagoland
WOOD BROTHERS CHICAGOLAND FAST FACTS:
- This is the team’s 14th start at Chicagoland Speedway
- Begins the team’s first appearance in the NASCAR postseason
- Best finish was fourth last year
On Going to Chicagoland to Start the Playoffs:
“Chicago is a place I feel like we can go and easily be a top-five car, if not contend to win the race.”
On Being Able to Test at Chicagoland:
“It’s always nice to get a test. We don’t get a lot of track testing anymore with the organizational testing program, but fortunately Chicago and Martinsville and Homestead we’re all gonna get to test because they’re all Playoff races for us. Having the opportunity to test at the first track was good in a lot of ways. It gave us the opportunity to work on our setup for there, but it also gave us the opportunity to try some things to make our cars better that you don’t get the opportunity to do on a race weekend, so hopefully all of that will parlay into some performance to kick this thing off.”
On Looking Ahead to the Playoffs:
“Winning a race in June allows you to be aggressive with some of that stuff. Fortunately, with our Team Penske alliance and having access to the technology and the things that they’re working on, we’ve been able to be part of the solution as far as trying to make things better and work forward and look forward. We’re actively working on things that we found recently to make our Chicago cars better, so we’re just trying to push as hard as we can. We know everybody else will and we’ve got to be the best we can be.”