Coming off a disappointing end to last Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Ryan Blaney and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were looking to rebound at the Michigan International Speedway.
They did just that, posting the fourth-fastest time in opening practice and qualifying seventh for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
It was his second straight top-seven qualifying effort and the sixth time this season he has qualified seventh or better.
Blaney’s qualifying lap at 201.202 miles per hour was just a tad off the 201.698 mph that his Ford teammate Joey Logano turned in winning the pole.
Blaney, who was 13th fastest in the first round of qualifying and seventh in the next two, said the difference in his and Logano’s qualifying time likely was his speed in turns one and two in the final round.
“We were kind of tight in the second round and we tried to adjust it to get it better for the third round and didn’t quite get enough,” Blaney said. “I probably could have gone up on the track bar more and helped it. We were tight over in [turn] one and couldn’t roll the speed. I have to look at my comparisons with Joey and see where he beat me. I am sure it is all in one and two.”
“I probably tried to get too much there, but it wouldn’t turn.”
All-in-all it was a strong day for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, and Blaney is optimistic the good performance will continue through the weekend as the team transitions from preparing for qualifying to getting ready for Sunday’s race.
“It is a good start to the weekend, and we will see how we are tomorrow when we get into race trim,” he said. “We did all [qualifying] runs today, so we will have to switch over to race trim tomorrow and see how we are.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said qualifying well at Michigan, the home track for Ford Motor Company, is always important, and this week it comes as a welcome relief after a strong start to the previous weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway which ended with a crash in the race.
“We had a rough end to the race at Bristol, so it’s good to come back and be fast here at Michigan,” Wood said. “It’s always good to start up front here, and we’re proud of our Ford teammate Joey Logano and our friends at Team Penske for winning the pole.”
The Pure Michigan 400 is set to get the green flag just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.