22 Aug 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 at NASCAR’s top level.
Haley took the lead under caution – Kurt Busch surrendered the top spot when he pitted for new tires and was announced the winner following heavy rain followed two lightning flaws. There were 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 nearly half the area and the majority of the top contenders. He passed a number of wrecked automobiles and then several more that left pit stops.
The 20-year-old Haley will not lock in a place in the playoffs, though. He’s a fulltime driver at the second-tier Xfinity Series and has been making his third Cup Series beginning – for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The group’s No. 77 Chevrolet could procure 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 closing July race at NASCAR’s most famous track.
The event, which was postponed a day due to rain, has been 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 entertained fans during two lightning flaws by throwing a football throughout the trail and into the stands.
Wallace and Hemric each had a few errant throws and even got booed a little.
However, it surely gave fans a reason to stick around for at least an hour with no racing.
Lighting has stopped 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. 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 out front, and as soon as the red flag was pulled due to a nearby lightning strike, it left Busch in 18th. As cars were parked and covered on pit road.
With dark clouds looming and also the close of the race in sight, pioneer Austin Dillon wrecked almost half the field at Daytona International Speedway.
“The Big One” happened on Lap 119 in Turn 1 and included 17 cars – most of these in the front of the area.
Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon into front on the exterior and made a hard move left to try 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 need 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’s what you get.”
Kurt Busch managed to make it through the melee unscathed.
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