Ryan Blaney breezed through all three rounds of knock-out qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday to put his No. 21 SKF/KAMAN Ford Fusion in the eighth starting spot for Sunday’s Can-Am 500.
It was Blaney’s 11th top-12 qualifying effort this season.
Blaney and the No. 21 crew unloaded fast and improved their speed throughout the day at Phoenix. He was ninth fastest in the opening practice session with a best lap of 138.894 miles per hour. He was fifth fastest in the opening round of qualifying with a lap at 139.340 mph, then went 139.811 in the second round to post the fourth best speed.
In the final round he ran a lap at 139.638 mph despite unexpectedly having to navigate around another car on his final lap.
Blaney said in his post-qualifying comments that while he is happy with a top-10 starting spot he was hoping for more.
“It wasn’t exactly what we want obviously but not a bad starting spot,” he said. “We didn’t adjust enough the last run to kind of get where we needed to be.”
“That is still not a bad starting spot, and we can see the front from there. Hopefully we will be good in race trim tomorrow and get this Ford Fusion dialed in for Sunday.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said a strong performance on Friday sets the stage for the No. 21 team to deliver a good finish on Sunday for sponsors SKF and KAMAN Industrial Technologies.
“The key to a good weekend is being fast off the truck,” Wood said. “Ryan and the SKF/KAMANteam were able to do that here at Phoenix, and we were in the top 10 all day.”
“That allows us to get a good pit-stall selection on Sunday, and having speed on Friday makes it more likely that we can tune the car for more race-day speed during Saturday’s practice session.”
Sunday’s Can-Am 500 (kilometer) race is set to get the green flag just after 2:30 p.m. ET with TV coverage on NBC.