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 new tires – and was declared the winner after heavy rain followed two lightning flaws. You will find 33 laps left when the 160-lap race was halted.
Haley was 27th when chief Austin Dillon triggered a 17-car crash which took out nearly half the area and the majority of the top contenders. He passed a number of wrecked cars and then a few more that made pit stops.
The 20-year-old Haley won’t lock at a spot in the playoffs, however. He is a full-time 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 because of rain, was plagued by inclement weather and filled with unpredictable winners in recent decades. It is moving to late August at 2020 – the regular-season finale – as part of 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 places.
Ryan Newman was fifth in a Ford.
Drivers Bubba Wallace and Daniel Hemric amused fans during two lightning flaws by throwing a soccer across the track and into the stands.
Wallace and Hemric each had a few errant throws and got booed a little.
However, it certainly gave fans a reason to stay around for more than an hour with no racing.
Lighting has stopped 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 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. But Busch ducked onto pit road for fuel under warning. That left Haley out front, and when the red flag was pulled due to a nearby lightning strike, it left Busch in 18th. As cars were parked and coated on pit road.
With dark clouds looming and also the end of the race in sight, leader Austin Dillon wrecked nearly half the area at Daytona International Speedway.
«The Big One» occurred on Lap 119 in Turn 1 and involved 17 cars – many of these in the front of the field.
Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon into the front on the outside and made a tough move left to attempt to pass the pioneer. Dillon turned left No. 3 Chevrolet, tagged Bowyer and then started spinning and carrying out rivals.
«I guess that he did not 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 lead,» Dillon said.» That is what you get.»
Kurt Busch managed to get through the melee unscathed.
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