Race 9 of 33: MoneyLion 300 at Talladega Superspeedway
Track Details: 2.66-mile tri-oval / 113 laps
No. 08: Gray Gaulding Result: 2nd
No. 07: Ray Black Jr. Result: 34th
Team 08 Panini Chevrolet Camaro:
Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 Panini Chevy rolled off from the 8th position for the MoneyLion 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The game plan was simple: go for it. The 08 team had something to prove after getting caught up in an incident back in Daytona, where they felt like they had a shot to run towards the front. The team brought back that same fast race car to Talladega.
The opening stage was extremely intense as the race began. Gaulding stayed in the top ten throughout the stage and finished in the 5th position, accumulating 6 stage points.
The second stage was relatively calm. As the race began to settle down the pack racing turned into a single car train. Gaulding dropped back a bit, but still finished the second stage in the 14th position.
As the final stage began the intensity began to build. Gaulding steered clear of multiple wrecks. On the final restart Gaulding found himself in the 6th position and in contention to win. Gaulding aggressively weaved from top to bottom, battling the best of the Xfinity Series. On the final lap Gaulding was all over the reigning series champion for the race win. Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 Panini Chevy crossed the stripe in 2nd place. This was the best career finish for Gray Gaulding and SS Green Light Racing as an organization.
“Man what a day! I can’t thank all my guys enough, Bobby Dotter and this whole crew, without them this wouldn’t be possible. I hung tough all day today, they were just trying to pin me on an island all day, but I think I got a lot of respect at the end. When the 98 pulled up in front of me, I think that just hurt my chance to get up beside the 2 car, but to have a shot like that and almost have a photo finish was pretty damn cool. I can’t think Panini, all my guys, all my family, and friends enough. Today was a really good day.
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:
“We had a really fast car in Daytona and we never really had a chance to show it, so today we came in with a completely different mindset. We just tried to run up front all day, we got some stage points in the first stage and were able to come home second. I’ve never had that much excitement before where we were that close to a win, especially in the Xfinity Series. He (Gray Gaulding) did an unbelievable job out there.”
Team 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet Camaro:
Ray Black Jr. and the 07 team came into Talladega on the heels of a 21st place finish at Richmond Raceway. With Super Speedway racing being the great equalizer, the team was optimistic at their chances.
Ray Black Jr. took his time in the opening stage, playing it conservative. At the end of the first stage Black was scored in the 27th position. In the second stage, the 07 team continued to slowly pick their way forward. At the end of the second stage Ray Black Jr. was in the 21st position.
As the final stage was set to begin the plan was to head to the front. With about 30 laps remaining, Ray Black Jr. came over the radio to report something was wrong with the engine. A shredded oil pump belt caused the 07 team’s engine to expire and ended Black’s late race charge prematurely. The DNF placed Ray Black Jr. back in the 34th position.
After a career best finish for SS Green Light Racing, drivers Gray Gaulding and Ray Black Jr. sit 14th place and 20th place respectively in the NASCAR Xfinity Series points standings. With Talladega in the rear view, the team will shift the focus to the “Monster Mile.” Coverage of the Allied Steel Buildings 200 from Dover will begin Saturday May 4th at 1:30 PM ET on FS1.