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 caution – Kurt Busch surrendered the top spot when he pitted for new tires – and was declared the winner after heavy rain followed two lightning flaws. You will find 33 laps remaining when the 160-lap race was halted.
Haley was 27th when chief Austin Dillon triggered a 17-car crash which took out almost half the area and most of the top contenders. He passed a range of wrecked automobiles and then a few more that made pit stops.
The 20-year-old Haley won’t lock in a place in the playoffs, however. He’s a fulltime driver at the second-tier Xfinity Series and has been making his third Cup Series start – for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The team’s No. 77 Chevrolet could secure a postseason bid, but only as long as it winds up in the top 30 in points.
Nonetheless, it was a fitting end for the final July race at NASCAR’s most famous track.
The event, which was postponed a day because of rain, was plagued by inclement weather and full of unpredictable winners in recent years. It’s moving to late August at 2020 – the regular-season finale – included in NASCAR’s major schedule shake-up.
William Byron finished second, followed by seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Ty Dillon. Manufacturer Chevrolet won for the second consecutive week and took the top four spots.
Ryan Newman was fifth in a Ford.
Drivers Bubba Wallace and Daniel Hemric amused lovers during two lightning flaws by throwing a football throughout the trail and in the stands.
Wallace and Hemric every had a few errant throws and got booed a bit.
However, it certainly gave fans a reason to stay around for at least an hour with no racing.
Lighting has halted 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 while forcing 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 when the red flag was pulled because of a nearby lightning strike, it left Busch in 18th. As automobiles were parked and covered on pit road.
With dark clouds looming and the end of the race in sight, leader Austin Dillon wrecked almost half the area at Daytona International Speedway.
“The Big One” occurred on Lap 119 in Turn 1 and included 17 cars – most of them in the front of the field.
Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon to front on the outside and made a tough move left to attempt and pass the pioneer. Dillon turned left 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 automobiles – 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’s exactly what you get.”
Kurt Busch was able to make it through this melee unscathed.
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