Justin Haley has won the rain-shortened Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway, his first in NASCAR’s top level.
Haley took the lead under warning – Kurt Busch surrendered the top spot when he pitted for new tires – and was declared the winner after heavy rain followed two lightning delays. You will find 33 laps left 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 number of wrecked automobiles and then several more that made pit stops.
The 20-year-old Haley will not lock at a place in the playoffs, however. He’s a full-time motorist in the second-tier Xfinity Series and was making his third Cup Series beginning – all for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The team’s No. 77 Chevrolet can secure 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 closing July race in NASCAR’s most famous track.
The event, which was postponed a day because of rain, was plagued with inclement weather and full of unpredictable winners in recent years. It’s moving to late August at 2020 – the regular-season finale – as part of NASCAR’s significant 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 successive week and took the top four spots.
Ryan Newman was fifth in a Ford.
Drivers Bubba Wallace and Daniel Hemric amused fans during two lightning flaws by throwing a football across the trail 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 stay around for at least 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 forcing for Kaulig Racing. That is his third Cup Series start.
Kurt Busch was leading the 400-mile race after a 17-car wreck. But Busch ducked onto pit road for fuel under caution. That left Haley out front, and as soon as the red flag was pulled because of a nearby lightning strike, it left Busch in 18th. As cars were parked and coated on pit road.
With dark clouds looming and the end of the race in sight, pioneer Austin Dillon wrecked almost half the field at Daytona International Speedway.
“The Big One” occurred on Lap 119 in Turn 1 and included 17 cars – many of them at the front of the area.
Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon to front on the outside and made a hard move left to attempt and pass the pioneer. Dillon turned left No. 3 Chevrolet, tagged Bowyer and then started spinning and taking 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 maintain the guide,” Dillon said.” That’s exactly what you get.”
Kurt Busch managed to make it through the melee unscathed.
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