Race 16 of 33: Circle K Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway
Track Details: 2.5-mile oval / 100 laps
No. 08: Gray Gaulding Result: 8th
No. 07: Ray Black Jr. Result: 13th
Team 08 WorldWide Safety Chevrolet Camaro:
After six top 15 finishes, Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 team had a little extra motivation coming into Daytona this weekend. Gaulding piloted his 08 Camaro to a 2nd place finish at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this season. The team brought back that same race car this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The day started out strong for the 08 team after Gaulding qualified in the 5th position for the 250 mile event.
Gaulding started the race strong, running in the top 5 and top 10 the majority of the stage. Three cautions were displayed throughout the first stage. (2 Cautions for wrecks & 1 for stage break) Gaulding was able to avoid both multi-car incidents early, but faded slightly at the end of the stage. At the end of stage one, Gaulding was in the 15th position.
Gaulding wasted no time making his way back to the front in the second stage. On lap 45 caution waved after a flat left rear tire caused the 2 car of Tyler Reddick to spin and collect the 98 car of Chase Briscoe. Gaulding sat in the 5th position at the time of the caution. The remainder of the stage went caution free and Gaulding finished the stage in the 13th position.
Problems ensued for the 08 team when the 0 car made contact with Gaulding on pit road. The contact caused slight damage to the 08 Camaro; however, the team was able to tend to the damage and send Gaulding back on track. On lap 87 the ‘big one’ occurred. The 1 car got turned in front of the lead pack, triggering a 15 car pile up. Gaulding spun through the middle of the wreck, but somehow did not hit anything. After a brief red flag, the team put 4 fresh tires on the car and once again sent Gaulding out to battle. After a 10 lap shootout Gaulding finished 9th, but would officially advance to 8th after the 10 car failed post race inspection. The 8th place result was the team’s second top 10 finish and seventh top 15 finish of the season. Gaulding remains the first car out of playoff contention and trails Ryan Sieg by 92 points heading into Kentucky.
“It was a great day for us! We didn’t have help once again. No one wanted to work with us, but we kept coming back to the top 5 with no help. Hats off to myself and all our guys for giving me a good car. This race is just so hard to win. I can’t thank World Wide Safety and everybody enough for their support. I felt like I did my job. I just went for it at the end, but nobody wanted to go. It was a good weekend overall. We finished 8th and it was a good points day. On to the next one.”
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:
“We had a really fast car this weekend. After Talladega, I think we all had really high expectations coming into this race and we did well. It was a crazy race, but Gray kept the car in one piece and brought home a strong top 10 finish for us. It was another solid points day and we’ll just keep chipping away at it. I am really proud of the effort by everyone on this team.”
Team 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet Camaro:
Ray Black Jr. came into Daytona this weekend optimistic for a great finish. The day started out with a bit of an uphill climb for the 07 team after they qualified in the 36th position. When the green flag dropped Ray Black Jr. immediately went to work. On lap 9 the 90 car got into the 36 car, triggering a multi-car wreck behind them. Unfortunately the 07 of Black was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Black went spinning through the infield before making contact with the wall. Black brought his wounded 07 Chevy to the attention of his crew. Crew Chief Jason Miller calmly constructed a game plan to repair the 07. After the first stage Ray Black Jr was in the 36th position.
The crew continued to make repairs to the 07 car throughout the race and Black remained confident they would finish strong. All the repairs caused Black to go two laps down, but by the end of the second stage Black gained one of his laps back and was in the 35th position.
Ray Black Jr was able to avoid both big wrecks that occurred on lap 73 and lap 87. The first wreck collected 8 cars and the second wreck damaged over 15 cars. Black was able to gain his final lap back and rallied to a strong 14th place finish. Black would officially be scored in the 13th position after the 10 car failed post race inspection. The 13th place result was the team’s second top 15 finish and ninth top 20 finish of the season.
Ray Black Jr:
“It was a good race overall. We got caught up in a wreck early, but the team pulled through and we got a solid result.”
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 07 Team:
“It was unfortunate the 07 team got caught up in that first incident of the night; however, I am extremely proud of the effort to keep Ray on track. The team was able to repair the car as best as they could and we simply just took advantage of all the carnage. To finish 13th after everything we went through tonight I say was a huge success.”
After surviving the fireworks in Daytona, SS Green Light Racing drivers Gray Gaulding and Ray Black Jr. remain 13th and 16th respectively in the NASCAR Xfinity Series points standings. The teams will enjoy the weekend before turning their attention to Kentucky. Coverage of the Alsco 300 from Kentucky Speedway will begin Friday July 12th at 7:30 PM ET on NBCSN.