Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the thick of a tight battle to advance to the second round of the Monster Energy Cup playoffs.
Blaney enters Sunday’s 300-mile race 10th in the standings, eight points ahead of 13th-place Kurt Busch. The bottom four of the 16 drivers in the playoffs will be eliminated from the title hunt after next week’s race at Dover International Speedway.
Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have shown speed at New Hampshire in recent races, but the nature of the races on the flat, one-mile oval put a premium on decisions made by crew chief Jeremy Bullins and others who help him determine the timing of the team’s pit stops and the work that will be done on those stops.
“Races at New Hampshire are strategy-driven, like road-course races,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “Track position is really important. It’s hard to pass, and the race is short compared to most of the ones we run.”
New this year at all tracks are stage points, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team generally has been able to consistently finish among the top 10 in the first two stages and thereby earn bonus points. In July at New Hampshire, Blaney scored six stage points.. “Maybe we can play the right strategy and win the thing. The most important factor is where you are in the pack after making your final pit stop.” Wood said.
Qualifying at New Hampshire is set for Friday at 5:15 p.m. Eastern Time, and the race is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBCSN.