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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Top Fuel driver Austin Prock earns 2019 NHRA top rookie honors

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Having just completed a promising first year in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Austin Prock is on the road to even greater drag racing success in his career.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Prock was named the winner of the 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award during Monday night’s annual NHRA Awards dinner at the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

The Road to the Future Award is NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year, and Prock was among the brightest young stars on the circuit this past season, including winning his first national event at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle, the 16th race on the 24-race schedule.

What made that first win all the more sweeter is it came at the same event that his boss, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, captured his milestone 150th career win.

One month ago, Prock set a personal best run of 3.688 seconds at 334.40 mph over veteran driver Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals three weeks ago in Ennis, Texas (suburban Dallas).

“I am proud of the season this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team put together,” Prock said in a media release. “My guys worked their asses off all season long to give me the opportunity to win the Auto Club Road the Future Award. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I would have never been here without John Force and Robert Hight (president of John Force Racing). They gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I owe the world to them. I hope I made them proud.”

Prock became only the 10th rookie in the history of the NHRA pro ranks to both win a race in their first season and also go on to win the Road to the Future award. He also was the 13th rookie in the sport’s history to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

Prock becomes the sixth John Force Racing driver to earn the Road to the Future Award, joining Tony Pedregon (1996), Hight (2005), Ashley Force-Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008), Courtney Force (2012) and Brittany Force (2013).

Austin Prock is the son of veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock, who tuned Hight to his third career NHRA Funny Car championship this past Sunday.

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