|Ryan Blaney is 40/1 to win at Indy.|
The historic No. 21 Ford will carry the blue, white and orange Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers livery for the first of two races (Talladega being the other) in 2017. In addition to the Quick Lane brand, the paint scheme promotes Quick Lane’s “Trading One Uniform for Another” scholarship program for veterans, now in its second year.
“Having Quick Lane as our primary sponsor and what they are doing for military personnel is extremely special and I’m fortunate to be part of it,” said driver Ryan Blaney.
To help veterans acquire the skills they need to become automotive technicians, Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers will award $10,000 scholarships to five veterans. The funds are used to pay for tuition, books and fees at any community college, university, trade or vocational school with an accredited program in automotive mechanics in the United States.
Last year, Army veterans Casey Markvicka of Burwell, Neb., Robert Jarden of Nashville, Ill., and Walter J. Decker of King, N.C. were awarded scholarships along with Marine Corp. veteran Jessica Johnson of Kennewick, Wash., and Air Force veteran Marie Sussenbach.
Everyone is invited to nominate veterans for these scholarships by going to www.QLtradingone.com and writing a short essay on why their nominee is a deserving recipient. Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers will select 10 finalists from all qualified nominees.
In November, which is Military Appreciation Month, Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers will introduce the finalists at www.QLtradingone.com and announce the five scholarship recipients at this year’s Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 26.
Blaney and the Wood Brothers Racing Team come to Indianapolis with their new paint scheme ready to rebound from last week’s 19th-place result in New Hampshire and avoid the wreckage that marred last season’s run at the Brickyard.
A year ago, Blaney found himself with nowhere to go when another driver spun into him, sending the Quick Lane Ford into the unforgiving Indianapolis wall.
In 2015, his first Cup start at IMS, Blaney started 30th and finished a respectable 12th.
“It’s been a pretty good track for us,” Blaney said of the famed Indiana oval. “We’ve just always found ourselves in a bad position at the end of the race and I’ve never been able to capitalize. This is our third time doing the Indy race so we’ll probably be more aggressive in positioning ourselves toward the front so at least we have a shot to win.”
Blaney, who appreciates the history of his sport as much as any driver, also enjoys the Brickyard for its past.
“The atmosphere alone around Indy is special,” he said. “Just being at Indianapolis is special; making your first laps, even just walking around the garage area and the infield, knowing the history that’s been there.
“It’s been super cool learning the Indy Car side of things with Team Penske,” he continued. “It’s a special track for the Wood Brothers since they pitted the winning Lotus in the ‘60s and it’s big for Roger Penske, who we’re affiliated with. It would be nice to have a good run there for him, too.”
The action gets underway from Indianapolis on Saturday morning with the first of two practice sessions. Qualifying, scheduled to air on NBCSN, also takes place on Saturday. The Brickyard 400 starts on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on NBC.