We’re back for season two of Off the Wall With… and we’ve got five brand-new, off-track questions for your favorite racing personalities! This week, NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie Ray Black, Jr. sits down in the interview chair. He moved up this season after competing full-time in the Camping World Truck Series, finishing 11th in the standings with one top-10 finish.
So far in 2016, Black currently sits 20th in XFINITY points, posting an average finish of 27.5 as his team, SS-Green Light Racing adjusts to its new digs. The team’s owner, Bobby Dotter, a was a former series regular during the days it was known as the Busch Series.
What was your first race car and what number was it?
Ray Black, Jr.: My first one was a mini-cup. We raced it at Orlando when I was 14 and it was No. 4.
Is there a reason why you guys chose No. 4?
Black: I don’t know. I kind of always liked that number. Me and my dad decided on it. That was always a fun number. I used that one for a little bit. I switched to the No. 19 in Late Models. Once I got with Bobby [Dotter, owner], we ran the [No.] 07.
The No. 07 is big for SS-Green Light Racing, but is there any personal connection to it?
Black: Personally, I think seven is my lucky number. It’s pretty neat how that worked out. I like the [No.] 07 a lot. It’s been with Bobby forever.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you during a race?
Black: I’ve been at some races where the lights went out. We were racing for a win with two laps to go, so that was pretty gnarly. Those races come to mind. But probably the races at Daytona. You are in the zone, then all of a sudden, you’re like taking it in, trying to see what’s going around and you’re like oh my gosh, you’re going nearly 200 mph at Daytona International Speedway. Those are realistic moments that kind of get you going. Having good days are the coolest ones for me. Everybody is happy and emotions are going. That’s the best experience.
You touched on when the lights went out. As a driver, what’s your reaction to that?
Black: That was pretty gnarly. I think we were going into turn 1, and all of a sudden, it became pitch black. I was like what in the world is going on. I started backing out of it, and we ending up hitting each other — me and the guy I was racing with. We didn’t wreck, but we almost did. It was close. Once your eyes adjust by the time you get to the backstretch, you are driving by memory. It was at New Smyrna while racing Late Models. It was 2012, or maybe 2011.
What was the first concert you ever attended?
Black: Eric Church. It was probably three or four years ago. That was the one I wanted to go to the most. Me and my friends went out, and it was the best concert I’ve ever been to. I went to a few smaller concerts, but this one was also the coolest one to me.
What’s the best practical joke you were ever involved in, as either perpetrator or victim?
Black: We always joke with each other. Last year, after Homestead, we all got into a water fight. We were at the back of pit road, hanging out and celebrating. We had a fast truck that night, so we were all happy. Our front tire carrier was chasing me down pit road with a water bottle. They had water hoses like fire hydrants, and he just shot me with it. He nailed me and I was like, “Oh!” He just started spraying the whole team, like four or five guys. We were all soaked. That water was no joke. It was knocking people down.
What was the worst thing you hid from your parents as a kid?
Black: Hid from my parents? Growing up in Alabama, things were more strict there. I remember one time I had a “BB” gun and my dad didn’t know about it. But then he found out.
|Off The Wall||What was your first race car and what number was it?||What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you during a race?||What was the first concert you ever attended?||What’s the best practical joke you were ever involved in, as either perpetrator or victim?||What was the worst thing you hid from your parents as a kid?|
|David Ragan||No. 77 Bandolero||Throwing up in the car||Doobie Brothers & Tom Petty||Rather watch than be involved||Nothing!|
|Casey Mears||No. 10 Super Lite off-road||A guy running onto the track under a red flag||Soul Asylum||Being in a van when Sterling Marlin threw a quarter-stick of dynamite under it||“Borrowing” dad’s Jeep at 14 when parents were out of town|
|Chris Buescher||No. 67 dirt bike||Being upside down in a Legends car||Can’t remember exactly||Putting the wrong name on the windshield||Tore up truck playing in the snow|
|No. 07 (Bobby Dotter’s Number)||Trying to avoid the Big One at Daytona||Jason Aldean||Pranking manager Rusty||Drove a family friend’s car down the street at age 8|
|Brendan Gaughan||No. 13 Superlite||Huge fire in pits at Richmond||Chicago…with Mom||Filling a high school teacher’s car with paper||Hid a speeding ticket from Dad|