NASCAR: Wood Bros. plan expanded 18-race Cup schedule for Ryan Blaney (VIDEO)

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The 65th anniversary season of Wood Brothers Racing will apparently go a bit longer.

This afternoon during the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, team co-owner Eddie Wood confirmed that its planned 2015 Sprint Cup schedule has been pushed to 18 races thanks to the tentative addition of six more events.

“Our normal commitment is with Ford Motor Company and their Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands, and we’re gonna run our 12 races like we’ve been doing for the last few years,” Eddie Wood said. “We’ll run the speedways and the faster mile-and-a-half [tracks].

“But we’re excited to say that we’ve been working really hard through our [technical] alliance with Team Penske, and we’ve tentatively added six races to our schedule. You want to race every week, and it kills you when you’re not there. We’re really thankful that we’re able to do that.”

Eddie’s brother and fellow team co-owner, Len Wood, told reporters that the six new events are Kentucky, the first race at New Hampshire, the Bristol night race, the Southern 500 at Darlington, and the Chase races at Chicagoland and Charlotte.

The decision means more seat time for the team’s new driver, Ryan Blaney, who will also compete for both Penske in the XFINITY Series and in a limited role with Brad Keselowski Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.

Blaney made his first two career Sprint Cup starts in 2014 for Penske, finishing 27th in his spring debut at Kansas and then 22nd in the Chase race at Talladega.

With his Wood Brothers debut at the Daytona 500 drawing closer, Blaney says he has been immersing himself in the team’s rich history by visiting its museum in Stuart, Virginia.

Through those visits, he has discovered just how important the team has been to the sport and also how much common ground he and the team have.

“This family legacy is pretty unique to me,” Blaney said today. “I come from a long family of racing, and that’s the same with the Wood Brothers. It’s kind of neat. It’s really special and something we can share. I think that’s gonna create a really good bond.

“Because that’s all we want to do – myself, the Wood Brothers, and [crew chief] Jeremy Bullins – all we want to do is win and do well. That’s all we care about: Racing.”

Blaney was also excited about the Wood Brothers’ new alliance with Team Penske, saying that it would help them make “the next step to where we need to be.”

As for his crew chief, Bullins, this opportunity is a homecoming for him. He worked on the Wood Brothers’ Pro Cup and Late Model cars in 1999 before moving up to race engineer on their famous No. 21 Sprint Cup team, a role he held from 2000 to mid-2002.

He rejoins after a successful three-year run as crew chief for Penske’s No. 22 NXS program, where he helped them win 21 races and two NXS owner championships. Blaney himself contributed two of those victories.

“It’s special in a lot of ways,” Bullins said. “One, to be able to continue our relationship with Team Penske and having good teammates to work with in the 2 [Keselowski] and 22 [Joey Logano]. But the Wood Brothers is where I started. This is where I got my first opportunity. To come back here as the crew chief and be able to lead the team is a great opportunity.

“Ryan and I have worked together since 2012. There’s a relationship there and we feel like we can build on that history and get ourselves in a position to be successful.”

IMSA results, points, stats package after Sunday at Road America

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Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor delivered Team Penske’s first victory this season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, winning at Road America from the pole position Sunday and moving up to sixth in points after finishing no better than seventh in the first three races this season.

The Team Penske No. 7 Acura DPi led a race-high 48  of 63 laps, including the final four after Castroneves seized a restart to take first from Renger van der Zande, who finished second with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 10 Cadillac DPi.

Other class winners at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course were the No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07 of Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley in LMP2, the No. 3 Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in GTLM and the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 of Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo in GTD.

RAIN-SOAKED RELIEF: Castroneves delivers Penske’s first win with late pass

Here are the race stats, points and results from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America:


RESULTS: Click here for the overall finishing order and here for the class breakdown.

POINTS: In the DPi standings, the No. 10 Cadillac of Briscoe and van der Zande leads by six points (124-118) over the No. 5 Cadillac of Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais.

The No. 3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor leads the GTLM standings with 130 points, 10 more than the No. 912 Porsche of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor.

In GTD, the No. 12 Lexus of Bell and Montecalvo moved into the lead by four points (121-117) over AIM Vasser Sullivan teammates Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz in the No. 14 Lexus.

The No. 38 of Performance Tech Motorsport leads in LMP2.

Click here for the points standings for drivers and teams after Road America.

STATS PACKAGE FOR ROAD AMERICA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Leader sequence

Lap chart

Race analysis by lap

NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT classes will race Aug. 21-22 at Virginia International Raceway.