NCWTS Rookie Earns Ninth Top-15 Finish of the Year
JOLIET, Ill. (September 20, 2015) – Rainy weather may have delayed the start of the American Ethanol E15 225, but NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie driver, Ray Black Jr. didn’t waste any time getting up towards the front once the green flag waved. The driver of the No. 07 ScubaLife.com Chevrolet utilized fuel strategy to help him climb through the field to finish 11th and maintain his 11th place position in the championship standings. Black’s 11th place result also ties his second-best finish of the season, as he previously finished just outside the Top-10 at Dover International Speedway.
Due to a heavy rainstorm on race day, Black qualified 21st as the lineup was set by practice speeds. After waiting until Saturday morning to start the race, Black and the ScubaLife crew were more than ready to go.
While the truck started off a little on the tight side, Black drove hard from the start and settled into 16th place for the first half of the race. This effort put the rookie driver in a position to lead a lap under a caution and gain a bonus point in the standings.
“The truck was stable, a little on the tight side but overall very good,” said Black. “The guys had worked hard on it all week long, and tuned it up really well during practice. Getting in position to lead a lap early on was also great. Every point helps when it comes to the standings.”
As the laps started winding down, it became evident that fuel mileage was going to come into play for the finish. Crew chief Jason Miller made a call under an extended caution for track cleanup to come down pit road a second time to top off on fuel.
From there, it was just a matter of saving enough fuel to make it to the end. As competitors kept running out of gas, Black continued to move through the lineup. He would end up running out of gas in the last two laps of the race, but managed to fight hard and hold onto an 11th place finish.
“So close! We were so close to getting a Top-10 this week!” he explained. “We’ll get it soon. We ended up being just a half-gallon short on fuel, but considering I needed to save three laps worth, I’d say we did pretty good for ourselves.”
With this finish, Black moves closer to 10th place in the championship standings and also widens his lead over 12th. Next up for Black and the ScubaLife team will be New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 26. In the meantime fans can follow him and his sponsor, ScubaLife, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @TeamScubaRacing and @RayBlackJr.