RICHMOND, Va. – The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team was eager to put Saturday night’s 18th-place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway behind it and focus on the NASCAR Playoffs that start next week.
“We knew tonight was gonna be a struggle,” said driver Ryan Blaney after the race. “This is probably our worst race track and it’s been my worst race track my whole career. I don’t know what I need to do (to improve here), but that’s for a different day.”
Starting 14th on the grid, Blaney was able to get into the top 10 early in the 400-lap event thanks to some quick work by the Motorcraft/Quick Lane pit crew, which gained at least six positions for its driver during the race.
Handling problems caused the Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21 to slip back to 12th by the end of the race’s first segment. The team re-started Stage 2 in 10th, again due to pit crew efficiency, but fell back to 16th by the end of the second stanza.
The final 200-lap stage was a tough for Blaney who was fairly strong in the early going of a run but fell back during long green-flag runs.
With his 14th top-20 result of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series squarely in the rear-view mirror, Blaney looked ahead to his first appearance in the postseason.
“It’s been a decent year for us,” he said. “I think all of the races in the Playoffs we can go and do really good at. I think the first round is pretty strong for us and Chicago has always been a fast race track for us, so hopefully we can start off with a strong showing and can have a good run to where we go to Loudon, which is probably our worst track in that little series. We still run decent there, but 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.”