NEWTON, Iowa (June 20, 2016) – The first of two races at Iowa Speedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) turned into a bit of a test session for driver Ray Black Jr., as a brake pedal issue early on in the American Ethanol E15 250 cost him a shot at a Top-20 finish. The driver of the No. 07 ScubaLife.com Chevrolet earned a 30th place finish but made gains late in the race that have him and his SS Green Light Racing team excited to return to the 7/8-mile track at the end of July.
Coming into the weekend with a Top-15 finish at the track from last year’s Camping World Truck Series event, Black was looking forward to a solid weekend at the races. Despite the track seeming to be bumpier than last year, Black finished consistently in the Top-25 in both practice sessions on Friday.
While qualifying didn’t go as planned, Black remained confident that he and his team could rally from his 30th place starting position and earn another Top-20 NXS finish. Unfortunately, at Lap 22 of the American Ethanol E15 250, he reported having no brakes whatsoever forcing Black and his team to the garage. The problem, which was due to a broken brake pedal, was able to be repaired and Black returned to the track 30 laps later.
“It’s really just a bummer to have that brake pedal issue this weekend,” said Black. “The team and I had worked so hard earlier in the week and really thought we had something here, so to have that happen pretty much right off the bat on Sunday was tough.”
Once back on track, Black and his team focused on using the rest of the race as a test session for their return trip to Iowa Speedway at the end of July. The team was able to try out adjustments and pit strategies to see what worked and what didn’t work to help them be even better next time around. Despite being trapped multiple laps down and finishing 30th, Black was running lap times consistent with the Top-16, giving everyone something to look forward to.
“Once the brake pedal problem was fixed we looked at this race as a test session for the July race,” Black explained. “We tried some things on the car that we may not have tried if we didn’t have that issue and definitely made some improvements that worked that we can bring back here later this year. While it wasn’t the finish we wanted at all, the fact that our lap times were up there is really encouraging.”
As the NXS now has a week off, Black will be flying down to St. Kitts, West Indies to help his father with the construction of the international location of the CDA Technical Institute before returning to the track at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, July 1, 2016 for the Subway Firecracker 250.