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 warning – Kurt Busch surrendered the top spot when he pitted for tires – and was announced the winner after heavy rain followed two lightning delays. You will find 33 laps remaining when the 160-lap race was halted.
Haley was 27th when leader Austin Dillon triggered a 17-car crash that took out almost half the field and most of the top contenders. He passed a number of wrecked automobiles and then a few more that left pit stops.
The 20-year-old Haley won’t lock in a spot in the playoffs, however. He’s a full-time motorist in the second-tier Xfinity Series and has been making his third Cup Series start – all for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The team’s No. 77 Chevrolet could secure a postseason bid, but only if it ends up in the top 30 in points.
Nonetheless, it was a fitting end for the closing July race at NASCAR’s most famous track.
The event, which was postponed a day because of rain, was plagued by inclement weather and filled with unpredictable winners in recent decades. It’s moving to late August in 2020 – the regular-season finale – as part of 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 successive week and took the top four spots.
Ryan Newman was fifth in a Ford.
Drivers Bubba Wallace and Daniel Hemric entertained lovers during two lightning flaws by throwing a football across the trail and into the stands.
Wallace and Hemric every had a few errant throws and got booed a little.
But it surely gave fans a reason to stick around for more than an hour without any racing.
Lighting has halted the NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway with Justin Haley at 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. This is his third Cup Series start.
Kurt Busch was leading the 400-mile race after a 17-car mess. However, Busch ducked onto pit road for fuel under caution. That left Haley front, and as soon as the red flag was pulled due to a nearby lightning strike, it left Busch in 18th. As automobiles were parked and covered on pit road.
With dark clouds looming and the close of the race in sight, pioneer Austin Dillon wrecked almost half the area at Daytona International Speedway.
“The Big One” happened on Lap 119 in Turn 1 and involved 17 cars – many of them at the front of the area.
Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon to front on the exterior and made a tough move left to try and pass the pioneer. Dillon turned left No. 3 Chevrolet, tagged Bowyer and then started spinning and taking out rivals.
“I guess he didn’t want 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 involved. 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 this melee unscathed.
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