Blaney to run full season with Wood Brothers

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 20:  Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 20: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Ryan Blaney will run the full 2016 schedule of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events for Wood Brothers Racing, the team and Ford Motor Company announced on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“It has been a dream come true,” said Blaney, who is running a partial schedule for the Wood Brothers this season. “Growing up in the garage with my dad (Dave Blaney) 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 be with a couple great organizations like the Wood Brothers and Ford will be amazing.”

Ford is solidly behind the legendary team’s expansion to a full schedule.

“We have been talking about a full season for as long as I can remember, and 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,” said Ford board member Edsel B. Ford II.

“It’s something the Wood Brothers deserve. They have proven themselves. This is a historic team, and they have been part of our family for 65 years, and that is very important to me personally.”

Jeremy Bullins will continue as Blaney’s crew chief as the team ramps up as a full-time operation.

“I’m looking forward to next year. I can’t thank Edsel and Dave (Pericak, global director, Ford Performance) and as Edsel said, Raj Nair. They made it happen. I believe we’ve been pretty good this year, and that gives us great momentum for next year. I can’t thank Motorcraft and the Quick Lane boys enough for what they do for this car on the race track, and I’m just really excited about it.”

In their 65-year history as NASCAR’s oldest continuously operating team, the Wood Brothers have accumulated 98 victories, the last coming with Trevor Bayne in the 2011 Daytona 500.

According to NASCAR officials, Blaney will be eligible to run for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2016 on a one-time exemption, even though he has 17 Sprint Cup starts to his credit, 15 this season. Blaney was not a candidate for the rookie award this year.

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