The 25th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies set the weekend standards pretty high Thursday night with a 39-36 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers, but Ryan Blaney and the crew of his No. 21 Virginia Tech Ford Fusion believe they can do their part to make the Hokie faithful proud in this weekend’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Blaney, driving the burgundy and orange Fusion for the Wood Brothers from nearby Stuart, was eighth fastest in the opening round of qualifying on Friday at Martinsville. He was a tick of the clock slower in the second round, which puts him starting 15th for Sunday’s 500-lap grind on one of NASCAR’s shortest – but toughest – tracks.
“We don’t come out here to try to run 20th,” Blaney said in his post-qualifying comments, adding that there is still time to get additional speed out of the Virginia Tech Fusion before the start of Sunday’s race. “We’ll have a couple of race practices tomorrow and see if we can get a little bit better and work our way up during the race.”
“Obviously, you’re not happy when you don’t sit on the pole, but I thought there were some things we could take away from it and try to apply them for tomorrow.”
Although Blaney has just one Sprint Cup start at Martinsville, earlier this year in which he finished 19th, he does have five starts there in the Camping World Truck Series, where he recorded three top-five finishes and an eighth-place finish along with one front-row start.
Sunday’s race is set to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. with TV coverage on NBCSN.