FORT WORTH, Texas (November 6, 2016) – It was a tough weekend for NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) driver Ray Black Jr. and his SS Green Light Racing team at Texas Motor Speedway, but together they overcame multiple obstacles to secure a 27th place finish at the 1.5-mile track.
Black and his team spent both practices on Friday trying to dial in the handling of the No. 07 ScubaLife.com Chevrolet Camaro, as it would swing from not turning enough to being too loose. Black would go on to finish 21st in both practices and felt confident about his chances for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.
During Saturday morning’s qualifying session, Black laid a fast lap down during Round One and made it through to Round Two with the Top-24. During his first run in Round Two, Black reported that he felt the engine shut off on him during his lap. The team cooled off the car and then went back out to make another run to make sure the issue wouldn’t repeat itself. Unfortunately, Black would get squeezed into a bad spot on the track as fellow competitors came onto the track and had a brush with the outside wall.
After examining the damage caused to the right quarter panel and rear of the car, the team determined repairs were needed, forcing Black to give up his 24th place starting spot and begin the race from the rear.
Once the green flag dropped, Black quickly began moving up through the field before settling in around 27th place. On Lap 70, Black had a right rear tire go down on him, sending him spinning across the track. Luckily, Black kept control of the car and was able to avoid picking up any damage besides the blown tire.
After pitting for four new tires, Black restarted in the 31st spot and began battling back from there. As the laps wound down, fuel mileage began to come into play with Crew Chief Jason Miller asking Black to save as much as he could out there.
With the final caution of the race coming out with just over 40 laps remaining, Black and his team decided to gamble and take a wave around to get one of their laps back and have more positions to race for, while also hoping that Black had saved enough fuel to get them through to the end. The team’s gamble would pay off, as Black had saved enough fuel and would make it until the end to finish in the 27th spot.
“I’m proud of how my team battled throughout the weekend for me,” said Black after the race on Saturday. “Qualifying was a bummer – I just got squeezed into a bad spot, but they really got the car put back together well for the race. The handling was tough to get at the start of the race and that tire going down didn’t help, but we managed it well and were able to get the most we could out of that car. We gambled there at the end, but it paid off for us and we made it work!”
Next up for Black and his SS Green Light Racing team will be the Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET.