Despite a disappointing 29th-place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway today, Ryan Blaney – driving his last race for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team – handed Wood Brothers Racing its best season since 1995. Blaney and the Wood Brothers end up ninth in the overall season points standings.
Blaney’s otherwise stellar 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season included a win, two pole positions, 14 top-10 finishes and a nine-week NASCAR Playoff run.
“It’s been a fun year for sure,” Blaney said after the race. “It’s a shame it ended not on a high note but it’s been fun to run every week at the race track and be competitive.
“To win a race, that was pretty great,” he continued. “It’s been a fun year overall and it’s kind of bittersweet to see it come to an end. Still, I’m happy for what’s next to come.”
Blaney transitions to a third Team Penske Cup entry in 2018.
A review of Blaney’s 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, only his second as a full-time driver, includes:
- Two poles (at Kansas in May and last week at Phoenix)
- One win (at Pocono Raceway in June)
- Four top-five finishes
- 14 top-10 finishes
- 301 laps led
- The Round of Eight in his first NASCAR postseason
- Amassed 226 stage points (ninth among drivers) and won four stages
- Finished ninth overall.
An early race miscommunication and an ill-handling race car contributed to today’s result at Homestead-Miami. That, however, didn’t keep Blaney from reflecting fondly on his three years driving for NASCAR’s oldest and most-historic team.
“I love driving for the Wood Brothers,” he said. “It’s been a fun three years and I’ll always remember it. They’re very humble people and a humble family. All they want to do is race. They’re racers and that’s how I grew up. I think that’s what made our relationship special.”
The next race for the Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21 will be the 2018 Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway with new driver Paul Menard behind the wheel. Menard finished Sunday’s race in 16th place.