Ray Black Jr. Searching for Another Consistent Streakby Kyle Pokrefky August 19, 2015 0 comments
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Recent trips to Pocono and Michigan haven’t yielded the best results for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Ray Black Jr., but the 24-year-old enters tonight’s UNOH 200 knocking on the door of the top-10 in the drivers standings.
Tonight’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway has the driver of SS-Green Light Racing’s No. 07 Chevrolet Silverado looking to give his campaign for a top-10 finishing spot in the standings a kickstart.
Prior to Black Jr’s crash out at Pocono, the Palm Coast, Fla. native had strung together a streak of six straight top-16 finishes with a best finish of 11th at Dover International Speedway kicking off said streak back in May.
Black Jr. is confident that he can get back on such a streak, but Bristol will provide an interesting challenge for the rookie.
“It’s going to be a little bit more difficult,” Black Jr. said. “Coming to Bristol and there are a lot of good trucks here for this race and I’ve never been here before. Which, I’ve done pretty good at first-time tracks so far and the short tracks have been pretty good for us. I think we’re finding pretty good speed now at Bristol Motor Speedway and if we can keep a clean nose throughout the entire race and be there at the end, we’ll have a good top-20.
“If you put yourself in a good position, we’ll get back to top-15s with [the help] of a little luck on our side. If we can get these last two races out of our mirror, then we’ll be doing well.”
Black Jr. says that the half-mile concrete oval on the Tennessee-Virginia border is nothing like he’s ever raced before – even during his tenure in his native Florida’s late model divisions.
“It’s definitely nothing like I’ve ever driven before at any kind of race track. It’s an entirely different beast,” Black Jr. noted. “Martinsville is flat and you have to let it roll. Gateway is totally different with a few different ends – even with Dover, it’s concrete and a mile-long. I thought it’d be somewhat similar, but it’s definitely not.
“Bristol you have to get in really hard and barely be on the brakes and then get right back into it. By time you know it, you’ve already done two laps. You just have to hold your breath.”
The certified scuba diver enters tonight’s race looking to complete as many laps as he can. If he can, he’ll make ground on the 10th-place driver in the standings, Ben Kennedy, who currently leads Black Jr. by 25 points.
Compared to Kennedy and his Red Horse Racing teammate, Timothy Peters, Black Jr. leads both in the number of laps completed thus far this season. The driver of the No. 07 ScubaLife Chevrolet has a tally of 1860 laps completed in the series while Kennedy and Peters have respective totals of 1780 and 1850 laps completed.
“Obviously, we haven’t had the two greatest weekends ever,” Black Jr. says of Pocono and Michigan. “But fortunately, the No. 11 had a little trouble as well at Michigan also so he only gained a point on me and he’s 10th in points.
“There’s a handful of races left in the season and we’re just going to have to keep putting out top-15s and, like I said, get some luck on our side.”
Black Jr. continued with an affirmation that he’s still right in the thick of things for a top-10 spot in the standings.
“I think we’ll be pretty reasonable right there with one or two breaks,” Black Jr. concluded. “We’ve got Talladega coming up, so that’s a wildcard – anything can happen there. It’s crazy to think we’re right there eon the cusp of the top-10 – especially after these two bad races. We’re still in fighting distance.”
Black Jr. and the Team Scuba Racing crew will start tonight’s UNOH 200 from the 20th position. Tonight’s 200-lap race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m ET.
Photo Credit: Ray Black Jr. PR