A second drive-train failure in as many weeks relegated Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team to a 32nd-place finish in Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway.
As he has in most races this season, Blaney got off to a fast start at Dover and finished both of the first two 120-lap stages among the top 10. He was seventh in the first stage, earning four points, and eighth in the second, earning another three.
But on a restart at the beginning of the third and final stage of the race, the No. 21 Fusion slowed, and Blaney drove to the garage where the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team attempted to fix the problem of the car not pulling properly.
But the initial diagnosis didn’t reveal the extent of the problems, and Blaney returned to the garage for further repairs.
He returned to the race, 31 laps behind the leaders, and soldiered to a 32nd-place finish.
His disappointing run at Dover followed a similar situation at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where his car also lost power to the wheels during a pit stop while running among the leaders.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said the emphasis now is on preventing future problems.
“We will be working hard to figure out exactly what’s going on,” he said, adding that it does not appear to him that Blaney is doing anything wrong. “Usually when you have an issue like that it’s because the driver releases the clutch and starts the tires spinning before the jack is dropped. We don’t think that’s the case.”
Wood said he believed the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team was on pace to score another top-10 – or possibly a top-five – finish.
“It looked good for a while there,” Wood said.
“We’ll just have to put it behind us and get going for Pocono next week.”
Blaney dropped one spot in the championship standings, to 13th place, headed into next Sunday’s 400 miler at Pocono Raceway.