NASCAR

Ryan Blaney named as new 2015 Wood Brothers Driver

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Already building a strong fan base (©GettyImages)
Already building a strong fan base (©GettyImages).

Ryan Blaney is set to strap into a legendary drivers seat. The car has been driven by such names as Junior Johnson, Fred Lorenzen, Neil Bonnett, Donnie Allison, Tiny Lund, Cale Yarborough, and members of the Wood Brothers family. The list is long and legendary and will grow in 2015 as current driver former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne moves to another team.

Now the question is if the newest driver for Wood Brothers Racing will be up to the task of taking the wheel of a car made famous by some of the biggest names in the sport? The answer is Yes!

Wood Brothers Racing has announced that Ryan Blaney will step into the famed car
driven by some of the most legendary names in auto racing starting in the 2015 season. The other big news coming from the team is that Wood Brothers has formed a new technical alliance with Team Penske.

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Blaney started racing under the Team Penske banner in 2012 as a developmental driver. It’s a role he’s mastered as it’s turned into being a driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as well as some races in the Nationwide Series. Blaney also raced in the ARCA Racing Series. Eddie and Len Wood said it was a driver selection that was pretty easy.

“Wood Brothers Racing is excited to align with Roger Penske and his team and we couldn’t be more pleased to put Ryan Blaney in the No. 21 Ford Fusion,” said Eddie and Len Wood, co-owners of Wood Brothers Racing, in a joint statement. “Ryan is a third-generation racer and one of the best young drivers out there. He has been a winner in many different kinds of cars since he started racing at a very young age and we fully expect that to continue while he is with us.”

Blaney So Far

Blaney, the son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dave Blaney, has plenty of seat time as he as competed with great results in everything his driven. He’s the current points leader in the Truck Series, has already won races under the NASCAR banner in both the Nationwide Series and Camping World Series ride. He was a force on the track during his ARCA racing and like many drivers he started his racing career in quarter midgets. He won his first race at the age of 9 and quickly moved up the ladder racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

The only issue is that many drivers will tell you that a Cup Series car is a completely different animal. It’s a challenge and opportunity that Blaney is thankful for as he talked about driving the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion.

“I want to thank Wood Brothers Racing, Team Penske, Ford Racing and everyone at
Motorcraft and Quick Lane for the opportunity to race next season in the Sprint Cup Series. To get a chance to race at the top level of NASCAR in such a historic car as the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion is a dream come true. I’m really looking forward to 2015.”

2015 Schedule

So far the plan for the upcoming season is that Blaney will initially drive a partial-season schedule in 2015 in the Cup Series. The first race on the planned schedule is set for the season opener with the Daytona 500. The minimum races planned so far will be “at least” twelve events.

The terminology indicates that if things go well and the opportunity is available that Blaney could run additional race during the season. Some of the other tracks named in the partial schedule besides Daytona include Las Vegas, Texas, Talladega, Charlotte, Michigan and Indianapolis. He will also compete in the Nationwide series in 2015 for Team Penske.

Blaney will have an opportunity to jump behind the wheel this season as he qualifies the No. 21 car Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The move comes as the current driver, Trevor Bayne, will be away from Michigan as he will be driving in the Nationwide Series Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The plan is for Bayne to finish up with the Nationwide race and return to Michigan in time to start the Cup Series race. Due to Blaney making the qualifying run Bayne will have to start the race at the back of the field.

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