Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 Panini team came into Bristol full of confidence after a 14th place finish last weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Gaulding considers Bristol Motor Speedway one of his favorite tracks and last night proved no different.
Gaulding would roll off from the 13th position for the Food City 300. It didn’t take long for the first caution of the night to come out after the 68 car made contact with the wall on lap 8. On lap 38, ‘the big’ one took place on the back stretch. The wreck collected front runners Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, Erik Jones, and Joey Logano. The caution came at a perfect time for the 08 team as they thought they had a tire going down. Crew Chief Patrick Donahue called Gaulding to the pits under caution for four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment to tighten up the Panini Chevy. Gaulding restarted from the 23rd position and began picking his way back through the field. Cautions waved for the 23 car spinning, debris, and the 2 car spinning before the end of the stage. At the conclusion of the first stage Gaulding sat in the 8th position, collecting three stage points.
After pitting, Gaulding started the second stage from the 17th position. On lap 120, the race was red-flagged for the 90 car spinning into the wall after losing a tire. Gaulding restarted from the 12th position on lap 125. The remainder of the stage went caution free. Leader Kyle Busch was forced to retire from the race after his engine let go as he claimed the stage two victory. Gaulding was in the 11th position after the second stage.
Gaulding started the final stage from the 8th position on lap 178. The seventh caution of the night waved on lap 221 after the 1 car made contact with the wall. Crew Chief Patrick Donahue made the call to leave his driver out on old tires with hopes of getting a late race caution. Gaulding restarted from the third position, but was quickly overtaken by fresh tires. On lap 279 the eighth and final caution of the day waved. Donahue called Gaulding in for tires with only 20 laps remaining. Gaulding took advantage of a couple of the leaders struggling late and was able to pilot his No. 08 Panini Chevrolet to a sixth place finish. The result was Gaulding’s third top ten of the season for SS Green Light Racing. Gaulding remains 13th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings and trails Ryan Sieg by 97 points for the final playoff spot.
“It was an unbelievable night. I just can’t thank all our partners enough: GPS Pure, Panini, and Patrick Mahomes for being on the hood! We’re a small organization at SS Green Light Racing and this is what I work for. This is what these guys work for. We’ve got five guys and moments like this is what we cherish.”
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:
“I’m extremely proud of Gray and the entire 08 team. Patrick brought a very fast Panini Chevy to the track this weekend and Gray took advantage of it. Despite all the attrition, I think we had a top ten car on speed alone, which says a lot for our small team. This was a great result and an awesome points day. I’m looking forward to carrying this momentum into the next couple weeks.”
Ray Black Jr. came into Bristol this weekend after finishing in the 15th position here in the Spring. Black would start from the 24th position, but was confident he would quickly move up the running order in his No. 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet.
The race began with a bit of uncertainty for the 07 team. On lap 18 Black radioed to Crew Chief Jason Miller that he thought they were blowing up. The car seemed to be down on power and Black began loosing positions, but nothing catastrophic happened. After ‘the big one’ on lap 38, Black brought the 07 to the attention of his crew. Black restarted from the 31st position and was focused on getting back on the lead lap. On lap 51 caution waved for the 23 car spinning. Black worked his way back to the 25th position and received the free pass. After a little pit strategy and some aggressive driving by Ray Black Jr, the 07 found themselves in the 15th position at the conclusion of stage one.
After pitting during the stage break, Black started stage two from the 23rd position. After the red flag was lifted, Miller again called his driver to the pits for service. Black restarted from the 20th position on lap 125. The remainder of the stage went caution free and Black worked his way up to the 18th position by the end of the second stage.
Black started the final stage from the 17th position on lap 178. On lap 221 Black came to the pits for what would be his final stop of the night. Black worked his way as far forward as the 13th position during the final stage. After a 15 lap shootout to end the race, Black brought his No. 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevy home in the 15th position.
Ray Black Jr:
“We fought through a lot of adversity early in the race, but we were able to battle back. Proud of my guys for their never quit attitude.”
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 07 Team:
“The 07 team continues to make the most out of tough situations. Ray was playing catch up most of the night after we thought we were losing an engine early. Jason called a smart race and Ray drove his heart out for a top-15 finish.
After surviving the battle at the Last Great Colosseum, SS Green Light Racing drivers Gray Gaulding and Ray Black Jr. remain thirteenth and sixteenth respectively in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings. With only four races remaining until the 2019 playoffs, SS Green Light Racing will resume road course racing action next week as the series heads to Road America. Coverage of the CTECH Manufacturing 180 from Road America will begin Saturday August 24th at 3:00 PM ET on NBCSN.
SS Greenlight Racing PR