Wood Brothers And Blaney Say Thanks To Their Fans By Earning Daytona 500 Starting Spot

Wood Brothers And Blaney Say Thanks To Their Fans By Earning Daytona 500 Starting Spot

February 14, 2016

For Eddie Wood, co-owner of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, and the rest of his family, the outpouring of fan support over the past 66 seasons, through the good times and the struggles, has been humbling.

This proved true again this past week, as fans and others in the NASCAR community have reached out through social media and other ways to express their support for the Woods.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team was looking for a way to say thank you to their supporters in a manner that measured up to the sentiments expressed on their behalf.

On Sunday, during pole qualifying for the Daytona 500, the team and rookie driver Ryan Blaney said “thanks” to their fans the best way they knew how – by posting the seventh fastest speed and thereby earning a starting spot in the Daytona 500 no matter the outcome of Thursday’s Can-Am Duels, that will set the line-up for the Great American Race. The strong qualifying effort came at a place that is a huge part of the Wood Brothers history, as the team has won NASCAR’s showcase event; the Daytona 500, five time over the years, most recently in 2011.

Under NASCAR’s new qualifying rules for the 500, 36 cars are locked in the 500. The Woods and seven other teams were left to fight over four starting spots. Two positions are based on being the top finishing open car in each Duel. The final two are awarded to the fastest two open cars from qualifying, not already earning a spot based on their respective Duel finish.

“This one is for our fans and the people that have supported us over the past week and over the past seven decades,” Wood said. “We’ve never taken the support of our fans for granted, and we’re just elated to be able to give them reason to celebrate this week.”

“It’s been awkward for us the past few days, and I’m sure it’s been that way for our fans as well. Now we can all focus on something positive, a great run in the Daytona 500.”

For Blaney, the fast run in qualifying takes the pressure off him in Thursday’s Duels and allows him and crew chief Jeremy Bullins to focus on the 500. But first, there are the Duels, and Blaney will start fourth in the first of two 150-mile runs.

“The biggest relief for us is to know you are locked in and are good to be able to race in the 500,” Blaney said. “That kind of lets us go race on Thursday a little bit more than we would have instead of playing it conservative if we weren’t locked in. It is nice to have such a fast car and be locked into the race.

“It is a load off our shoulders for sure. I think anytime you can make it to the last round (of qualifying) you feel good about the speed of your race car. I think our speed is pretty good. We definitely aren’t the fastest, but we have good speed and I think we will dial it in and be good for the 500.”