Indiana native, Justin Haley 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 declared the winner after heavy rain followed two lightning delays. 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 field and most of the top contenders. He passed a number of wrecked cars and then several more that made pit stops.
The 20-year-old Haley won’t lock in a spot in the playoffs, though. He’s a full-time driver in the second-tier Xfinity Series and was making his third Cup Series start — all for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The team’s No. 77 Chevrolet could secure a postseason bid, but only if it ends 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, has been plagued by inclement weather and filled with unpredictable winners in recent years. It’s moving to late August in 2020 — the regular-season finale — as part of NASCAR’s significant 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.
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