Ray Black Jr. earns debut top 10 in 99th Xfinity start

Photo by Zach Catanzareti/Kickin' The Tires

By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer

At the very edge of his first 100 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ray Black Jr. put to end one streak that has hung over his head since 2015.

After multiple accidents to end Saturday’s NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway, (one that included himself) Black continued on the lead lap and in the lead draft during a final three-lap stint to the checkered flag.  And when chaos sparked on the last lap, Black jumped a few more spots to earn  an eighth-place finish, a career-high and first top-10 finish in his 99th start.

“It feels so good, I don’t know what to say,” Black said. “Of all places, Daytona. It’s where I got my first top five in the Truck Series. It’s been years and years at Daytona trying to get top 10s and this is my first ever Xfinity top 10. I’m happy for it, it took a long time.”

Finishing 11th on two occasions, a finishing position up three spots is just a little improvement in the eyes of Black. For his Bobby Dotter team, however, Black knows it’s a bigger deal.

“At this point, it’s just another finish,” he said. “But for my guys, it’s a big day. I want to get better, we keep improving. We put ECR motors in it this weekend and for all the [superspeedway] races, so that was huge.”

The backstretch got exciting for Black, who dodged a momentarily airborne Michael Annett along with others spinning into Turn 3.

“That last wreck was wild,” he said. “I seen [Annett] get right-reared and I was like, ‘Oh boy.’ We made it through, it was just meant to be I guess. It was definitely a wreck fest there at the end.

“We almost got stuck a lap down, I was nervous. We got a break finally. I’m excited for my guys, we got caught up in one wreck, got doored, like, T-boned. Luckily, it wasn’t that big a deal, they patched it up.”

Speaking of the team, there is a fun night in store for the No. 07 crew, who will be celebrating their maiden top 10 at a local ale house along with family and business employees of Black’s.

“We’re going to party tonight that’s for sure,” he said. “I’m probably going to drink some beer, honestly. I was thinking of some Crown Royal but I think beer is for tonight. This is like my home track so I got my dad, my sister, my girlfriend, my buddy from Orlando. All my employees down in Jacksonville for our company, we’re going to go to the Ale House and celebrate.”

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