With 13 Sprint Cup qualifying sessions under in the books this season, rookies Ryan Blaney and crew chief Jeremy Bullins are showing the benefits of their time together this year.
Blaney qualified the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion 8th for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. It was the team’s fourth top-10 qualifying effort in 13 tries, not including three races in which the team did not get to attempt a qualifying lap because of weather issues.
The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team started the day strong, posting the 12th fastest speed in the opening practice session, with a best lap at 193.085 miles per hour. Blaney was 10th fastest in the first round of knock-out qualifying with a lap at 193.313 mph and quickest overall in the second round with a speed of 195.164 mph before finishing 8th in the final round with a speed of 194.363 mph. The pole went to Brad Keselowski, Blaney’s Ford teammate and one of the Team Penske drivers with which Blaney and his fellow Wood Brothers team members share information and technology.
Blaney said his only mistake of the day on Friday was staying on the throttle longer than he should have in an attempt to go faster in the third qualifying round.
“I should have just done what I did the round before and see if it was a little bit faster,” he said. “I just tried to get too much and unfortunately lost a little bit of speed there, but I’m proud of everybody on this Motorcraft team.”
Blaney said the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team’s qualifying success at Kansas is a result of hard work all season long, and due to their affiliation with Team Penske.
“Everybody’s doing a great job,” he said. “We’re firing off with good speed when we start practice, and the more Jeremy and I work together, it’s a lot smoother transition from practice to qualifying. With time, that will continue to get better.”
Blaney also said a recent test session at Kansas was helpful for both this weekend’s race, and the upcoming races as well.
“The tests we get to do allow us to work together more at the track, and that helps us to bond,” he said.
With a starting spot for Sunday’s race secure, Blaney and Bullins now turn their attention to Saturday’s practice session in which they will prepare the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion for Sunday’s 400-mile race.
“I’m excited to get out there in race trim,” Blaney said.
Wood Brothers Racing PR