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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Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool