The Latest: Cup Series race at Daytona begins a day late
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 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 chief Austin Dillon triggered a 17-car crash which took out almost half the field and the majority of the top contenders. He passed a number of wrecked cars and then a few more that left pit stops.
The 20-year-old Haley will not lock at a place in the playoffs, however. He is a full-time driver in the second-tier Xfinity Series and was making his third Cup Series start – for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The team’s No. 77 Chevrolet can secure a postseason bid, but only if 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 due to rain, has been 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 – as part of NASCAR’s major schedule shake-up.
William Byron finished second, followed closely by seven-time Cup winner 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 entertained fans during two lightning delays by throwing a football throughout the trail and into the stands.
Wallace and Hemric each had a couple of throws and even got booed a bit.
But it certainly gave fans a reason to stick 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 motorist 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 following a 17-car mess. However, Busch ducked onto pit road for fuel under caution. That left Haley out front, and when the red flag was brought out 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 also the close 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 them at the front of the area.
Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon into the front on the exterior and made a hard move left to attempt to pass the leader. Dillon turned left No. 3 Chevrolet, branded 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 automobiles – 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 keep the lead,” Dillon said.” That’s exactly what you get.”
Kurt Busch managed to get through the melee unscathed.
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