Ryan Blaney needed two tries to advance out of the first round of qualifying on Friday at Dover International Speedway, and those extra laps on his tires put him at a disadvantage in Round Two.
Still, he wound up earning the 15th starting position for Sunday’s AAA 500 Drive for Autism. It was the 10th time in 13 races this season that Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team earned a top-15 starting spot.
It also bettered the team’s qualifying results from 2016 at Dover, where Blaney was 18th in the spring and 20th in the fall.
Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team started the day at Dover by posting the eighth-fastest lap in opening practice with a speed of 158.625 miles per hour.
In qualifying, Blaney, struggling with a loose handling condition, was in 31st place after his first run on the clock. He made a second attempt, and his speed of 157.000 mph boosted him to 17th place and earned him a spot in the second round. But the three laps he put on his tires were costly. His lap at 157.446 mph in the second round wasn’t fast enough to advance to the third and final round.
Still, the prospects for Sunday look promising, according to team co-owner Eddie Wood.
“We had good speed in practice, and the cars have been fast all year,” he said. “I think we’ll be fine.”