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Blaney, Wood Brothers targeting Victory Lane in Martinsville

NASCAR's oldest race team hopes to celebrate first win of the season Sunday in the 70th anniversary of their home track.

Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing, Eddie Wood, Leonard Wood
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Pace Car
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Pace Car
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford

As Martinsville Speedway prepares to kick off its 70th season of racing, track president Clay Campbell opened the gates Wednesday for the Wood Brothers and driver Ryan Blaney to visit with the media prior to Sunday's STP 500.

NASCAR Hall of Fame member Leonard Wood joined Blaney and his nephews Eddie and Len to talk about the upcoming race. Martinsville Speedway is the home track for the legendary team that started in nearby Stuart, Virginia.

"It would be really big, historically this has been one of my best tracks," said Blaney. "It's my crew chief's favorite race track and it's all about putting 500 laps together and stay out of trouble. It would mean a lot to win here (Sunday)."

The team joined Campbell in showing off the 2017 Shelby Mustang GT350 Pace Car that Edsel B. Ford - Member, Board of Directors of Ford - will lead the field to start the race on Sunday.

For Eddie, racing at Martinsville Speedway has always been special.

"It's great to be racing here again and now we're racing full-time and this is home for us," Wood said. "It's a hard race here to stay out of the calamity for 500 laps.

For Leonard Wood, he can still remember the first race at Martinsville Speedway in 1947.

"I remember Glenn and I standing over here on the back stretch at the first race here 70 years ago," he said. "I think it would be really cool for us to be here on Sunday afternoon putting that Motorcraft Ford Fusion up front."

Blaney, picked up his career-best finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series when he opened the season runner-up to Kurt Busch at Daytona International Speedway, has already collected three top-10 finishes in five starts in 2017.

"This is a like a home track for me and I have a lot of family and friends that will come to this race," he said. 

Blaney also added the new stage format might also change the strategy for drivers on Sunday.

"I think the strategies have changed up a lot for teams at every track," he said. "I think there will be a lot of gambling during the race whether or not to pick near the end of a segment to get points and that really changes things up during the race."

Martinsville Speedway will host the first short track stage race.

"At the bigger tracks like last week you might get pretty strung out during a race," Blaney said. "Here you might get pretty aggressive to get into the points late in a segment as you can probably see a different type of aggressiveness by drivers in this race."

Blaney finished 19th in both Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway last season and has three top-five finishes in five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at the track.

 

 

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