Saturday night at Kansas Speedway was almost like old times for Wood Brothers Racing, NASCAR’s oldest team and one that’s undergone a major resurgence this season.
Ryan Blaney qualified the iconic No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford on the pole for the Go Bowling 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas and he had quite a Saturday night under the lights at the 1.5-mile track.
Blaney finished third in the first stage of the race, won the second stage and led a total of 83 laps before finishing fourth behind race winner Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick.
It wasn’t the first career Cup win for Blaney, but it was an impressive performance by both the driver and his pit crew, who consistently busted off 11-second pit stops throughout the long night.
And it was a huge momentum swing for the driver and team, who started the year with a runner-up finish in the Daytona 500 but hadn’t finished better than 33rd in any of the three races prior to Kansas.
“A good showing, going out there and leading laps and running with some really good cars,” said Blaney, who is now 11th in the Cup points standings. “That’s where this team deserves to be, and that’s where they hopefully will stay, so we keep bringing fast cars to the racetrack like that, you never know when maybe one might fall our way.”
After the string of bad finishes, a return to form was definitely welcomed.
“Yes, it’s really just nice to be back on track, to be honest with you,” said Blaney, who earned his first career Cup pole this weekend. “The last three races have been really, really bad, and it’s just an extra kind of slap in the face that we’ve had really fast cars in all those races we had troubles in, and we shouldn’t have finished 35th. We should have had top 10s in all of them.”
But Saturday night’s finish put it in perspective.
“Yeah, of course we wanted to win, but at the same time, you look at the gains we made all weekend and really being fast all weekend, that puts us back to where we need to be for sure,” said Blaney.
gallery: Race results from the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas