Xfinity driver Haley stuns to win NASCAR Daytona in third Cup start

NASCAR

Xfinity regular Justin Haley claimed a shock victory at Daytona in just his third NASCAR Cup Series start, after the race was truncated by stormy weather that wrong-footed Kurt Busch.

A strategic gamble following a multiple car pile-up halfway through stage three propelled Spire Motorsports’ Haley to victory.

On lap 119 of the scheduled 160, stage two winner Austin Dillon picked up momentum off of Turn 4 and passed race leader Denny Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota through the Tri-Oval.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer followed Dillon and moved to the inside of the Richard Childress Racing driver on the approach to Turn 1.

But Dillon aggressively blocked Bowyer and the two made heavy contact, with Dillon spinning in front of the field and collecting over 20 cars.

Busch squeezed through on the outside and Haley, who was running in 27th, also managed to avoid contact.

The rain had led to the postponement of the race on Saturday evening and it returned to pose the threat of a potential race-ending red flag.

As a result, Busch initially opted not to pit in order to retain the lead.

When officials declared there was one lap remaining before the restart, Busch and several others dived into the pitlane and handed the lead to Haley who had stayed out.

A lightning strike 7.4 miles away from the circuit then forced officials to abort the restart, leading to a red flag and a disgruntled Busch to take 10th.

Haley, who is not eligible for a playoff spot as a part-time driver, was declared the winner after further storms.

Busch’s race had already proved complex in stage two when he hit the wall at Turn 1, cutting a tyre and spinning at Turn 3.

He finished the stage in 30th before charging back through the field at the start of the final stage.

Pitting for fuel at the start of the final caution period, Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron and Jimmie Johnson ended up finishing second and third.

Both managed to narrowly avoid being caught in lap 119’s pile-up.

Byron’s previous career best finish was sixth and third is Johnson’s best result since last year’s spring Bristol race.

Ty Dillon and Corey LaJoie also secured career-best results after emerging from the lap 119 chaos unscathed to end up fourth and sixth respectively.

Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman finished between them in fifth.

Newman’s team-mate Ricky Stenhouse Jr – who was spun out of the lead by Busch at the start of stage two – propelled Joey Logano to a stage one victory via a tandem draft on the back straight on the final lap.

Both drivers were later collected in the pile-up.

Logano passed Kevin Harvick to win the opening stage but when the SHR driver attempted to draft with Brad Keselowski, Harvick tagged the rear of the Penske Ford on lap 83.

Keselowski slammed into the outside wall and Harvick picked up significant damage. David Ragan was also caught up in the incident, along with Daniel Suarez and Daniel Hemric.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap Laps
1 J.J. Haley Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 2h14m58.s 127
2 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet s 127
3 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet s 127
4 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet s 127
5 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford s 127
6 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford s 127
7 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford s 127
8 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota s 127
9 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford s 127
10 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet s 127
11 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet s 127
12 J.J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing Ford s 127
13 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford s 127
14 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota s 127
15 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet s 127
16 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford s 127
17 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet s 127
18 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet s 127
19 Brendan Gaughan Beard Motorsports Chevrolet 1 Lap 126
20 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap 126
21 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 1 Lap 126
22 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 1 Lap 126
23 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 2 Laps 125
24 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 2 Laps 125
25 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 2 Laps 125
26 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 2 Laps 125
27 Joey Gase Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 2 Laps 125
28 B.J. McLeod Petty Ware Racing Ford 3 Laps 124
29 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 3 Laps 124
30 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 5 Laps 122
31 Parker Kligerman Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota Accident 121
32 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Accident 119
33 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Accident 118
34 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Accident 118
35 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Accident 118
36 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford Accident 118
37 Quin Houff Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 19 Laps 108
38 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford Accident 86
39 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford Accident 85
40 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Accident 83

Drivers’ standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Joey Logano 700
2 Kyle Busch 682
3 Kevin Harvick 625
4 Brad Keselowski 613
5 Martin Truex Jr. 597
6 Denny Hamlin 588
7 Chase Elliott 585
8 Kurt Busch 564
9 Alex Bowman 534
10 Aric Almirola 512
11 Ryan Blaney 508
12 William Byron 498
13 Jimmie Johnson 474
14 Kyle Larson 473
15 Clint Bowyer 444
16 Ryan Newman 443
17 Daniel Suarez 440
18 Erik Jones 430
19 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 398
20 Paul Menard 390
21 Chris Buescher 369
22 Austin Dillon 366
23 Ty Dillon 310
24 Daniel Hemric 293
25 Matt DiBenedetto 276
26 Ryan Preece 235
27 Michael McDowell 222
28 Darrell Wallace Jr. 218
29 Corey LaJoie 213
30 David Ragan 208
31 Matt Tifft 181
32 Reed Sorenson 51
33 Quin Houff 43
34 J.J. Yeley 29
35 Jamie McMurray 19
36 Stanton Barrett 2
37 Casey Mears 1

Manufacturers’ standings

Pos Constructor Points
1 Toyota 0.657
2 Ford 0.642
3 Chevrolet 0.61

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