Race 28 of 33: Drive For The Cure 250 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
Track Details: 2.28-mile Roval / 67 laps
No. 08: Gray Gaulding Result: 29th
No. 07: Ray Black Jr. Result: 32nd
Team 08 Lunsford’s Sardis Auto Chevrolet Camaro:
The weekend started a bit eventful for the 08 team after experiencing some mechanical issues during practice on Friday. Once the team was rid of the gremlins, Gaulding put some laps down and finished 14th fastest in final practice. Group qualifying took place early Saturday afternoon and Gaulding posted the 17th fastest time. Due to ‘unapproved adjustments’ the team would surrender their starting position and drop to the rear for the start of ‘The Drive For The Cure 250.’
The first caution of the day waved early and by lap 3, Gaulding had managed to advance up to the 24th position. The remainder of the stage went caution – free. When the green and white checked flag waved, signaling the conclusion of stage one, Gaulding had worked his way to the 16th position. Crew Chief Patrick Donahue went to work making adjustments after Gaulding stated he needed more rear grip. Despite the aggressive racing on track, the second stage managed to remain green for all 20 laps of the stage. Gaulding was much happier with his car and finished stage two in the 12th position.
As the final stage got underway, the fourth caution of the day immediately waved after several cars stacked up on the restart. Gaulding was able to snake his way through the mayhem and settle in the 10th position. As the laps counted down, Gaulding patiently crept further up the leader board as far as the 8th position. Inside the final ten laps of the race chaos broke loose with three more cautions. Although Gaulding was shuffled back to just outside the top ten, the 08 team was poised for another solid run. On the final lap of the day, Gaulding reported he had a flat tire. The 08 crawled around the track for the final time and limped across the finish line in the 29th position.
“It stinks to say we had a top 10, well I think we had a top 10 pretty locked up. On the restart I got under the 19, but the 23 was behind me and drove through me. I just couldn’t turn. When the rear wheels are lifted off the ground there’s nothing you can do and I spun the 19 out. I hate it for those guys, but the 23 he’s got one coming for sure. It’s about the fourth time he’s done it this year and you can count on I will get him back. But looking at the positives, I have a lot to be thankful for. I can’t thank Patrick and all my guys enough for giving me a good race car. Look out for the 08 guys in the next couple weeks.”
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:
“Much like Ray, Gray also did a great job of keeping his nose clean throughout the day. It looked like we were going to get another top 10 finish, until Gray came over the radio and said he had a flat on the last lap. Tough finishes today for both of our guys; however, I am very pleased with the effort and where we were running before the incidents occurred.”
Team 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet Camaro:
Ray Black Jr. and his No. 07 team started off the weekend confident after a solid first practice session. Crew Chief Jason Miller elected to sit out the final practice, as the team felt prepared enough for the race. In group qualifying, Ray Black Jr. posted the 24th quickest time of the session and was ready to race.
The 07 team had a conservative approach early in the 250 mile event. At the time of the first caution Black sat in the 26th position. As the rest of the stage played out, Black was able to pilot his No. 07 machine to the 22nd position. Black reported that he was happy with the car and was sticking to the conservative approach for the first two stages. After an incident free second stage, Black found himself in the 21st position.
As the final stage got underway, Miller turned his driver loose. Black quickly drove his way to the 15th position before the caution flag waved. Black continued solidifying himself well inside the top 15 until the late race cautions started popping up. With only six laps remaining, Black was battling hard for position when the 36 car made contact with him in the last turn. The contact sent the 07 car spinning across the track until Black slammed hard against the outside wall. The impact completely crushed the rear of the 07 car, forcing Black to retire early from the late race action. After such a promising run, Black would be credited with a DNF and a 32nd place finish.
Ray Black Jr:
“Hate the day ended how it did. We were being conservative throughout most of the race and we were fast when it counted. Unfortunately we got tangled up late racing hard for position, but very pleased with how we were running until then. My guys brought a fast Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet to the track and it showed. We’ll keep our heads up and finish out these last four races strong.”
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 07 Team:
“Ray and the team did a great job of being patient throughout the stages. Unfortunately we were on the receiving end of some aggressive driving late, which sent us into the wall. I hate we didn’t get the finish we deserved.”
After a tough day at the Roval, SS Green Light Racing drivers Gray Gaulding and Ray Black Jr. are positioned 14th and 16th respectively in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings. With five races remaining in the 2019 season, the teams will prepare to take on the Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware. Coverage of the ‘Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200’ from the Dover International Speedway will begin Saturday October 5th at 3:00 PM ET on NBCSN.