The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will be a window into the past this weekend at the Bojangles’ Southern 500, wearing the 1976 Mercury Montego paint scheme made famous by the Wood Brothers and their legendary driver David Pearson, but the focus of the team will be squarely on the future.
Still striving for a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, current driver Ryan Blaney needs to find victory lane to keep his hopes alive for a title in his rookie season.
A strong fourth-place showing in the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday proved the team has what it takes to run with the leaders.
“I’ve said all year that I’m not worrying about the points or where we are in the standings,” Blaney said. “If we go out every week and do the best we can, run like we’re capable of running, minimize mistakes and stay out of trouble like we did last week at Michigan, all of that will take care of itself.”
Last season, Blaney started ninth and finished 30th at the annual Labor Day weekend race.
This year at Darlington, Blaney will be driving a Motorcraft/Quick Lane throwback paint scheme that honors the best driver in Wood Brothers Racing’s storied 66-year history – David Pearson.
Blaney will also wear a fire suit patterned after the suit Pearson wore in 1976.
Pearson forged the team’s best season by capturing eight poles and winning 10 of the 22 races he entered in ‘76, including the Daytona 500, the World 600 at Charlotte and the Southern 500, to claim NASCAR’s unofficial triple crown.
The scheme includes Pearson’s name on the door, double blue stripes across the hood and down the side panels, red metal-flake paint, gold foil numbers, retro contingency sponsor logos, silver wheels and white-lettered Goodyear Eagle tires. It also includes an image of a Motorcraft oil filter on the C pillar, just as there was for Purolator 40 years ago.
In addition to the triple crown races, Pearson won twice at Riverside and Michigan, and posted single victories at Atlanta, Darlington (Spring) and Ontario (Calif.).
“I’ve been looking forward to this weekend because of the throwbacks,” said crew chief Jeremy Bullins. “It’s very cool to see the teams participate and honor those who came before us and to see the paint schemes that we were fans of when we were young, some even before my time that I’ve only seen pictures of and heard stories about.
“Our David Pearson scheme is incredible and we can’t wait to race it,” he added. “What a great way to celebrate the history of our sport and at one of the greatest tracks on the circuit.”
Overall, the Wood Brothers have 89 starts at Darlington and have amassed eight wins and 12 poles.
“I think any weekend with the Wood Brothers is historic,” Blaney said. “But when you throw in Darlington, the David Pearson paint scheme and throwbacks, it’s pretty neat to be part of such a cool program.
“Being able to drive the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion with a paint scheme that really highlights the team’s great history is truly an honor,” he said.
In addition, Wood Brothers crew members will be wearing uniforms – complete with white pants with a blue stripe down each leg – that match those worn by their predecessors 40 years ago.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!