@RayBlackJr is moving up the NASCAR ranks.
Announced Tuesday morning, Black will compete in the XFINITY Series full-time in 2016 for SS Green Light Racing. Black will drive the No. 07 ScubaLife.com Chevrolet.
“I’m very eager for this season to start and to take the next step in racing by moving up to the NASCAR XFINITY Series!” said Black. “It’s a much bigger stage with some of the best racing competition in the world. The truck series was a great starting point for me in NASCAR, but it’s always good to keep challenging yourself, and I feel that’s what this move will do for me. It’s a great opportunity for me to show everyone what I can do!”
The news comes off Black’s first full season in the Camping World Truck Series, where he had a career-high fifth place finish in the season opener at Daytona, 17 top-20 finishes, and a finish of 11th in the final standings.
“Running the full season last year gave me a lot of confidence that will help me this year,” said Black. “We know we can run competitively at a high level of performance. We might have a little bit of an adjustment period with the XFINITY cars since we haven’t consistently run them other than the race we did at Texas in the fall last year, so we do have a lot to learn. But once we get a feel for the cars, I think we should be good to go. We really got some solid momentum going in 2015, and I don’t see why we can’t better that in 2016!”
Black also made his XFINITY Series debut in 2015, competing in the fall race at Texas Motor Speedway. The 24-year-old started 22nd and finished 27th in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.
Running full-time in XFINITY will not only serve as Black’s first season in the series, but it will also serve as SS Green Light Racing’s first full-time season.
“We ran one XFINITY race with Ray last year, and it went much better than everyone expected,” stated Bobby Dotter, the team owner. “Ray really took to the feel of the car! Our goal was always to be in the XFINITY Series with Ray, we’ve just sped up that timeline a little bit. Ray is ready for the step up, and the team is ready to grow with him next year.”
“It’s exciting knowing that I’ll be the first full-time XFINITY team for Bobby. It’s a cool bit of history to be part of and a great opportunity for everyone involved,” Black explained. “The team and I really meshed well together last year! We kept growing and getting better as the season went on. I think we’ll only keep improving as a team with this coming season.”
As the 2016 season nears, Black has established goals for himself and his team.
“I think finishing in the Top-15 in the championship standings is a solid goal for the year as a driver,” Black stated. “As far as a team goal, we are really looking to log all the laps we can and minimize any mistakes that we can. It should be a fun year, and I can’t wait for it to get started!”
In addition to continuing his partnership with ScubaLife.com, Black will also be joined by his crew chief from last season, Jason Miller.
Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
EMAIL MITCHELL AT firstname.lastname@example.org
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, it’s owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.