Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have run just one race together at the Dover International Speedway, site of this weekend’s Citizen Soldier 400. In their one appearance there back in May, Blaney, with the help of his spotter Josh Williams, managed to miss the wrecks that seem to happen almost instantly on the high-banked concrete oval and delivered an eighth-place finish.
Blaney also has had success at Dover in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series races at the Monster Mile.
He has a pole and three top-seven finishes in three truck series starts, including a second-place run. Last year in the Xfinity Series, he sat on the pole and finished fourth.
He’s never qualified for a Cup race at Dover. In May, qualifying was washed out by rain, and there’s rain in the forecast again this weekend.
“Friday’s forecast looks like a washout, so we may have to wait until 2017 to run our first laps in qualifying at the Monster Mile,” crew chief Jeremy Bullins said, adding that he and Blaney don’t have any notes from previous qualifying sessions to use if it doesn’t rain on Friday afternoon. But rain at other times still could present challenges.
“The weather always makes it interesting as the track changes so much as it rubbers up, and every time it rains hard all the rubber gets washed away,” he said. “We could face a green track every day.”
Bullins said he has confidence in Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team no matter how the weather situation plays out.
“Regardless, we feel like we are hitting our stride and look to continue that momentum this weekend,” Bullins said. “Dover is a place we ran top 10 in our first trip there together, and we obviously feel like we’ve grown a lot in the several months that have passed.
“Having a good baseline to work from will give us a jump start on the weekend.”
Qualifying for the Citizen Soldier 400 is set for Friday at 3:40 p.m. and the race is expected to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.