Justin Haley has won the rain-shortened Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway, his first at NASCAR’s top level.
Haley took the lead under caution – Kurt Busch surrendered the top spot when he pitted for new tires – and was announced the winner following heavy rain followed two lightning flaws. You will find 33 laps remaining when the 160-lap race has been halted.
Haley was 27th when leader Austin Dillon triggered a 17-car crash that took out nearly half the area and the majority of the top contenders. He passed a range of wrecked cars and then several more that made pit stops.
The 20-year-old Haley won’t lock at a place in the playoffs, though. He is a fulltime driver in the second-tier Xfinity Series and was making his third Cup Series beginning – for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The group’s No. 77 Chevrolet can procure a postseason bid, but only as long as it winds up in the top 30 in points.
However, it was a fitting end for the final July race in NASCAR’s most famous track.
The event, which was postponed a day due to rain, was plagued with inclement weather and filled with unpredictable winners in the past couple of decades. It is moving to late August in 2020 – the regular-season finale – included in NASCAR’s major schedule shake-up.
William Byron finished second, followed closely by seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Ty Dillon. Manufacturer Chevrolet won for the second consecutive week and took the top four places.
Ryan Newman was fifth in a Ford.
Drivers Bubba Wallace and Daniel Hemric amused lovers during two lightning delays by throwing a football across the track and in the stands.
Wallace and Hemric each had a couple of throws and got booed a bit.
But it surely gave fans a reason to stick around for more than an hour with no racing.
Lighting has stopped the NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway with Justin Haley in the lead.
The 20-year-old Haley is a part-time driver for newcomer Spire Motorsports. He finished second in Friday night’s second-tier Xfinity Series race whilst driving for Kaulig Racing. That is his third Cup Series start.
Kurt Busch was leading the 400-mile race following a 17-car wreck. However, Busch ducked onto pit road for fuel under caution. That left Haley front, and as soon as the red flag was brought out because of a nearby lightning strike, it left Busch in 18th. As cars were parked and covered on pit road.
With dark clouds looming and also the close of the race in sight, pioneer Austin Dillon wrecked nearly half the area at Daytona International Speedway.
“The Big One” happened on Lap 119 in Turn 1 and involved 17 cars – most of them at the front of the field.
Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon to the front on the outside and made a hard move left to try and pass the leader. Dillon turned left in No. 3 Chevrolet, tagged Bowyer and then began spinning and carrying out competitors.
“I guess that he did not need me to pass him,” Bowyer said.
All four Joe Gibbs Racing cars – Deny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and defending race winner Erik Jones – were included. So were Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott.
“I was being aggressive and trying to keep the guide,” Dillon said.” That is what you get.”
Kurt Busch managed to make it through this melee unscathed.
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