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My first impression is that it will be very hard to blend that in without doing something to the entire ceiling. I suspect that the wood has changed color in a different way than the exposed parts. I have seen this when refinishing cabinets that have old style hinges mounted to the front of the doors in a decorative fashion popular in the 60's or earlier. After we strip the finish, the wood itself still shows a different color where the hinges used to be and can't be sanded out without removing a tremendous amount of material. It also doesn't bleach to an even color very easily. A dark stain helps, but needs to be manipulated. Lighter stains won't hide enough. If they want to keep it light or the same color, I would explain how hard it is going to be and expect the worst but hope for the best. Me personally, I would pass unless they wanted it painted as Kevyn suggested. Another option might be a white wash.
 

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Managing expectations is key here. If he just wants it slightly less visible, I guess you could experiment with sanding, cleaning, brightening, toning, rinsing & repeating. For me, I'd give him a price to redo all boards in their entirety where the track marks are. You'll have a much easier time trying to match an entire section of that ceiling to the rest of it vs. trying to somehow clean, sand, blend, etc., a 1.5" strip in the middle of each board to its surrounds, (which wouldn't happen without spending a ridiculous amount of trial & error time, only to produce less than ideal results).
 

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Honestly, it looks like simple dust/dirt. Water + detergent + rag + elbow grease. The stripes were covered for years so it makes sense they probably didn't clean those areas.
This is true, but add the fact that that strip of wood beneath the track lighting definitely aged differently than the rest of it, from sun exposure etc. An option may be to switch over to a Spar Varnish which has more of an amber hue to it. It may mask it a bit but no guarantees. Or as others have suggested, maybe a whitewash of sorts..
 
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