SPARTA, Ky. -- Rain has been Ryan Blaney's foe in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying.
Last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, rain washed out qualifying, which meant Blaney went home. His Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford team has made just 11 starts this season (with four more left) and Blaney and his team have been sent home due to three qualifying rainouts and cancellations. Under the NASCAR rulebook, the teams with the fewest attempts get sent home in the event of qualifying being canceled.
"It's very frustrating to be honest with you," Blaney told NASCAR.com at Kentucky Speedway, where he is driving in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend. "Not only for me, but for the whole team. They work so hard to get those cars to the race track.
"Having a fast car for all three of those races is just an extra slap in the face after you get sent home. That's really unfortunate."
That frustration comes from Blaney having a fast piece at the track. He finished his lone Chicagoland practice ninth. Blaney also was ninth in final practice at Daytona, but didn’t make the race as that qualifying session was rained out. Blaney also didn’t make the show at Kentucky when that qualifying session was canceled because rain wrecked havoc on the schedule and NASCAR wanted to give teams more time to feel out the reduced downforce package that was debuting that weekend.
"We've been lucky to have fast cars. That's the first thing to know that you have fast race cars that you bring to the track so that's something you can be confident about and be proud of. And if everyone knows that we're there, it's a lot better than being 30th and getting rained out, then you are like 'well, we weren't that good anyway.'"
And while Blaney admits he would be "a little bit biased" on changing the qualifying rules, he sees both sides of the coin.
"It just differs with situations," Blaney said. "You have guys that show up to the racetrack every single week. Maybe they don’t have the proper funding or the technology to run quite as well but they are at the racetrack every single week. On the other hand you have us, who are fortunate enough to have really good funding and a team behind us to where we're fast but we don't race every week. It's kind of a toss-up. There's always going to be a positive and negative to each rule. It’s NASCAR's judgment to do whatever they do."
With the No. 21 Wood Brothers team not running this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Blaney is driving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford in the NASCAR XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Blaney won this race in 2013 for his first XFINITY Series win and his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski won the summer XFINITY Series race here this season in the same car.
The No. 22 has been piloted by Keselowski, Blaney, Joey Logano and Alex Tagliani this season and leads the owner standings in the XFINITY Series as it looks for a third straight owners’ title.
"The best thing we can do is to try and focus on winning races in this 22 car and try to bring home a championship," Blaney said.