Ryan Blaney expected to be named to replace Trevor Bayne in Wood Bros. No. 21 Sprint Cup car

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One of the brightest young stars in NASCAR is expected to be announced Thursday as the new driver for the legendary Wood Brothers Racing Sprint Cup team in 2015.

Ryan Blaney, son of veteran Sprint Cup and sprint car Hall of Famer Dave Blaney, is expected to be introduced as the replacement to Trevor Bayne in the No. 21 Ford Fusion. Bayne is moving to a full-time ride in Sprint Cup next season with Roush Fenway Racing.

The announcement is slated to take place in a 2 pm ET press conference Thursday at Michigan International Speedway, according to Ford Racing.

Team co-owners Eddie and Len Wood and other team officials are expected to be on hand, as well as Blaney.

Reports have circulated that the 20-year-old Blaney will run a limited Sprint Cup schedule for the Wood Brothers next season while also running a likely full-time slate on the Nationwide Series circuit for Penske Racing.

Blaney is currently atop the Camping World Truck Series standings. In 21 starts, he has three wins, eight top-5 and 15 top-10 finishes.

“We’re focused on winning the truck championship this year,” Blaney said. “Keep growing this (program). Those days will sort themselves out down the road.”

Team Penske spokesman Jonathan Gibson told NASCAR.com, “Ryan Blaney continues to do a great job with our organization and we have a plan for his progression within Team Penske.”

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F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.