DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Justin Haley called it a “pretty BS call,” but NASCAR said he clearly violated the yellow line rule, and that’s why he was not declared the winner of Friday night’s Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway.
Haley, in his second career Xfinity start, rocketed underneath Kyle Larson and Elliott Sadler to cross the finish line first and seemingly win.
However, Haley’s path caused his left-side tires to go below both yellow lines that separate the apron from the racing surface. NASCAR warned competitors in the drivers meeting before the race – as series officials do before every restrictor-plate race – not to go below the yellow lines to pass or they will be penalized.
NASCAR penalized Haley for the move. Instead of winning, he was dropped to the last car on the lead lap. He finished 18th. Larson was declared the winner.
Haley was unclear of the rule and expressed his frustration after the race.
“I just wish NASCAR would be a little more, tell us how much of the car we could have under the yellow line,” Haley said.
Section 10.8.3.c of the Xfinity Rule book states: “NASCAR defines beneath the double yellow lines as follows: when the vehicle’s left-side tires are beneath the left line of the inside double yellow lines that separate the apron from the racing surface while passing another vehicle.”
Said Haley: “There’s room for me to go up, so I don’t know why they’re calling me like that.”
Wayne Auton, managing director of the Xfinity Series, said video showed that Haley violated the rule.
“The 24 car’s left sides were clearly inside the lines, so we had to make the call,” Auton said of Haley.
Auton was asked about Haley’s position on the track, and if he was leading at the time, thus his position would have already been advanced.
“The rule states if you advance your position,” Auton said. “He clearly advanced his position at that time. It doesn’t matter if his nose is an inch out front or a foot out front, he’s still clearly inside the inside lane, and it’s a violation of the rule.”
Said Sadler on the ruling: “It’s a rule, and I’m glad to see NASCAR stay behind their rules on restrictor-plate racing, because if not, I think you’re going to see people take advantage of it. So I think they set a precedent again tonight making sure we all know we race above the yellow line. They tell us every single time restrictor-plate racing. A lot of times we get runs, especially down the backstretch here where it’s one of those things where you’ve got to put your lefts right on the line or over it, and you just can’t do it. Because you don’t want to put it in their hands.”
GMS Racing officials met with NASCAR after the race and remained displeased with the result. Spencer Gallagher, who will return to driving for the team next weekend at Kentucky, expressed his anger on Twitter: