Speculation for the last few weeks has put full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver and part-time Nationwide Series driver Ryan Blaney behind the wheel of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford in the Sprint Cup Series on a part-time basis in 2015. On Thursday, Wood Brothers Racing made the move official, along with announcing a partnership with fellow-Ford team, Team Penske.
“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,” the statement from Wood Brothers Racing co-owners Eddie and Len Wood said. “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 currently drives the No. 29 Ford that is owned by Penske Sprint Cup Series and part-time Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski in the Truck Series and competes part-time in the Nationwide Series in the No. 22 Ford fielded by Team Penske. He has a development deal with team owner Roger Penske that began in 2012.
Blaney is expected to drive the No. 21 for the Wood Brothers in at least 12 races next year. The Wood Brothers have competed on only a part-time basis the last several years. The team’s current driver, Trevor Bayne, who also races full-time in the Nationwide Series Roush Fenway Racing, is slated to drive a Sprint Cup entry for RFR full-time in 2015.
Blaney’s relationship with the Wood Brothers organization will begin on Friday, as he’ll practice and qualify the No. 21 car for Bayne at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. Bayne will be in Lexington, Ohio, at Mid-Ohio for Nationwide Series-related activities. Blaney was already expected to be at MIS on Friday, as the Camping World Truck Series is also racing at the track this weekend.
Blaney’s first actual race with Wood Brothers racing will be the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season-opener, the Daytona 500, next February. He is also expected to race at tracks including Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and several others, according to the release from Wood Brothers Racing.
“We’re confident that putting a promising driver like Ryan Blaney behind the wheel of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion and joining forces on the technical side with Team Penske will result in success on and off the track,” Ford Customer Service Division Director of Marketing Mary Loiu Quesnell said. “Ryan is a fine young man, and he will represent our Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands well.”