Friday’s practice and qualifying session at Michigan International Speedway was like a big science project for Sprint Cup teams like the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion crew and driver Ryan Blaney.
In addition to trying to secure a starting berth for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400, Blaney and his team, led by crew chief Jeremy Bullins, had to tune their car to accommodate a new high-drag aerodynamic package in place for this weekend’s race at Michigan. The same package was used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but Michigan International Speedway is a different track and that requires a different set-up. Blaney was 14th fastest in practice with a best lap at 192.802 miles per hour and qualified 19th with a lap at 193.128 mph. “We are trying to figure out where we need to get some speed here,” Blaney said “I know the guys are working hard at it. We will go make some race runs tomorrow. We are in the show, which is the biggest thing. We will see where our car is and where the balance is and see where we are.”
Blaney said that he believes he will know more about the aero package after Saturday’s practice runs. “It will take tomorrow to get a good feel for what we need to do,” he said. “We only ran a few laps in race runs today. Tomorrow, when it is all race runs, we should be able to get a better feel for things.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood, while praising the work done by Blaney, Bullins and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, said the new aero package will provide plenty of drama when the green flag drops on Sunday. “The cool thing is that nobody will know what will happen until Sunday, and the fans will find out at the same time the race teams do,” Wood said.
The No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion will carry a special decal on Sunday, one with special meaning as the sport honors the late Buddy Baker, who died Monday of cancer. Just before qualifying on Friday, Wood applied a special decal to the C-post of the No. 21 Fusion. It commemorates the 19th and final Sprint Cup victory of Baker’s career, a win that came in the Wood Brothers Ford in the 1983 Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. “Buddy Baker is a big part of Wood Brothers history,” Wood said. “We will remember him and honor him this weekend and for years to come.”
Wood Brothers Racing PR