Wood Brothers Racing will field the No. 21 car for all 36 races next season with Ryan Blaney behind the wheel. It will be the first time since 2008 that the Wood Brothers — a 62-year-old organization — has ran a full season.
Len Wood, co-owner of the No. 21 Motorcraft Quick Lane Ford Fusion, spoke about why this is the perfect time for a full-time return at the Sprint Cup level.
“Our performance was not where we wanted it to be and the suggestion was made to go to a limited schedule and get our performance back,” Wood said. “We have done that as hard as we could the whole time. I think this past year our performance has been where it needed to be and I think we are ready to make the next step with Ryan Blaney and Jeremy (Bullins) as our crew chief.”
Blaney has been under Team Penske’s umbrella for three years and team owner Roger Penske earlier this year said he would move to full-time with the Wood Brothers and a possible third Penske car. Thanks to the technical alliance with WBR, Blaney will get proper funding and backing to run with the same team all season.
— Team Penske (@Team_Penske) November 20, 2015
— Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) November 20, 2015
Just 22 years old when next season begins in Daytona, Blaney already has four wins at both the Xfinity and Trucks level. He’ll get a chance to make a statement right out of the gate at a superspeedway after earning a fourth-place finish at Talladega in 2015. He also took a seventh-place result at Kansas to compile two top 10s this year.
“I have been fortunate enough to get great opportunities and meet great people being with Team Penske in 2012 which led to the Wood Brothers this year and then beyond for next year,” Blaney said of the opportunity. “Obviously it is a little overwhelming right now of knowing what is going to come but I am excited for it. I don’t get excited about a lot of things and maybe I don’t show it but I am really excited about this program for next year and having the opportunity.”
The son of Dave Blaney will have to compete against another second-generation NASCAR star next season in Chase Elliott. Both will be competing for Rookie of the Year honors with Elliott taking over for Jeff Gordon in the Hendrick Motorsports stable.
Blaney already has the edge in NASCAR wins with four, but will need consistency at the Sprint Cup level to win the honor. With 17 starts under his belt already at NASCAR’s highest level, the Wood Brothers have a competitive driver and strong single-car team for 2016.