There are times in Sprint Cup racing when a team unloads its car for opening practice and has plenty of speed right off the truck. Then there are other days when there’s lots of work to be done after the first practice laps.
Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway was one of those days where work was required for the No. 21 SKF Ford team and driver Ryan Blaney.
Blaney was just 30th fastest in the opening practice session for Saturday’s night race at Bristol, with a best lap at 124.727 miles per hour.
He and his crew, led by Jeremy Bullins, didn’t panic; they put their heads down and got busy working on their SKF Ford, and by the time the second practice session had ended, Blaney was seventh on the speed chart with a best lap at 129.290 miles per hour.
He went on to make it as far as the second of three qualifying rounds and will start 15th on Saturday night.
“We’ll try to stay clean and be good for my first night race,” Blaney said. “I’m pretty excited.”
Eddie Wood, co-owner of the Wood Brothers team that fields the SKF Ford, said he was proud of the way his group bounced back from a slow start on Friday.
“Jeremy and Ryan and the guys worked really hard,” Wood said. “They’d pretty much gotten it fixed by the end of the first practice session, and it was really good in the second.
They spent a lot of time working on race runs and did their qualifying runs at the end of the second session. I’m really optimistic about Saturday night.
The SKF Ford is fast, and Ryan’s already got some good things going here at Bristol with a win in the truck series Wednesday night and another in the Xfinity Series race last fall.”
Wood Brothers Racing PR