NASCAR Driver Spent Offseason Building Dive School in St. Kitts
FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. (March 8, 2016) – Aside from competing in his first NASCAR XFINITY Series season, 2016 marks a big year for Ray Black Jr. in his passion for diving. The driver of the No. 07 ScubaLife.com Chevrolet spent some of his offseason helping his father build the latest location for the Commercial Diving Academy Technical Institute (CDA) on the island of St. Kitts, and looks to return there during the two off-weekends at the end of the month.
“I had a great time working with my dad down in St. Kitts during the offseason!” said Black. “The CDA is currently building an international school there for students from across the world to come and learn the tools of commercial diving. I was doing some survey dives for them during the winter and looking for good locations to setup the school and checking out the land. The school still has about a year and a half of building to go, so it was nice to be down there in these early stages and help get it started.”
Black, who has been diving since he was around 12 years old, is a fully-licensed deep sea diver and a DCBC Supervisor and an ACDE Instructor in the commercial diving industry. He began diving after seeing his dad’s passion for it and has since gone on to take over ownership of Blacksmith Marine Offshore, one of his father’s earlier companies that provides multiple services including underwater welding, ship husbandry, and deep water salvage. He has over 200 dives recorded with his deepest ones being around 240 feet below the surface.
Black, who completed his own dive training at the CDA, says the new school in St. Kitts will be similar to the ones in Ocala and Jacksonville, Fla. once finished.
“Right now, we have some students in St. Kitts but they are just in the classrooms,” he explained. “For the first three months of training, it’s classroom learning only. Supplies are being shipped down there now to complete the next stages of building, so I’ll be heading back down during the series’ two off-weekends at the end of the month to help put together the next stages of the school. It’s a lot of hard work, but I enjoy it. It’s nice to be down there with my dad and see everything come together. Plus, St. Kitts is a great place to do a little island-hopping and explore!”
Before he heads down to the Caribbean though, Black is focused on the second stop on NASCAR’s West Coast Swing – Phoenix International Raceway. He recently raced at the tricky one-mile track back in November with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he finished in the 20th position.
“We had really good short run speed at Phoenix last year,” Black stated. “We just struggled with the long run and handling in the turns. Having a great setup from the start will play a huge factor in finding success this time around. We had a solid run at Vegas, so our goal is to keep running stronger and finish even better at Phoenix!”
The Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 is set to go green on Saturday, March 12 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The race will be aired live on FOX and also covered by MRN.