CP MOTORSPORTS – BLANEY, WOOD BROTHERS RETURNING TO FULL–TIME COMPETITION IN 2016
It's been a long road for the Wood Brothers in NASCAR.
One of the most storied teams in motorsports history has faced it's lions share of trials and tribulations over the past seven years. It was in 2008 when team owners Eddie and Len Wood announced the legendary no. 21 team would no longer compete in the Sprint Cup series on a full time level.
In a press conference Friday at Miami–Homestead Speedway, the team announced it would field a full time program for the 2016 season with Ryan Blaney behind the wheel.
“It has been a dream come true," Blaney said. "Growing up in the garage with my dad racing and seeing what he used to do when I was a kid and now being able to be a part of a full season in the Cup series. And to be with a couple of great organizations like the Wood Brothers and Ford will be amazing."
Len Wood knows this is the right time to go back on the hunt for a Sprint Cup championship.
“In 2008 we stoodhere with Edsel Ford and Brian Wolfe, who was the Ford Director at the time, and talked about how our performance was not where we wanted it to be," Wood explained. "The suggestion was made to go to a limited schedule and get our performance backand then try to get back full time. 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 believes the experience he gained over the past few season running a limited schedule in the Sprint Cup series has been paramount to his development as a driver.
"Being able to work with Jeremy Bullins has been great," Blaney explained. "I started working with him in 2012 when I signed with Team Penske and he was on the XFINITY car. He was on that car until last year and we were lucky to bring him to the 21 car on the Cup side. He is a great crew chief and it has been really helpful to have some years and races put in withhim both on the XFINITY and Cup side.
"He and myself, I think we really get along well and have our own language and I think this year was a perfect example of getting better throughout the year, whether that is communication between myself and him or the cars getting better. It is great to work with a guy that is really hungry and that is what Jeremy is. I think that really benefits us for next year.”
Edsel B. Ford II who is a member of the Ford Motor Company's Board of Directors has been an intrical member of the Wood Brothers team over the past several years. Ford was on top of the team's pit box when then driver Trevor Bayne piloted the red and white No. 21 to victory lane in the Daytona 500.
Ford explains the move is special to his family.
“We have been talking about a full season for as long as I can remember," Ford said. "I want to thank Ford Motor Company and Raj Nair, the Group Vice President of Worldwide Product Development for Ford Motor Company, for standing up and taking this on. It is something the Wood Brothers deserve. I think Dave is exactly right. They have proven themselves. This is a historic team.
"They have been part of our family for 65 years and that is very important to me personally.”