Justin Haley says it was ‘BS call’ by NASCAR to nullify win

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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:

Greg Zipadelli to serve as Clint Bowyer’s interim crew chief

Greg Zipadelli
Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images
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Greg Zipadelli, competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, will serve as the crew chief for Clint Bowyer in Saturday’s Cup race at Michigan International Speedway, the team confirmed Monday.

Johnny Klausmeier will miss Saturday’s race, serving a one-race suspension because Bowyer’s car was found to have two lug nuts not safe and secure after last weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Bowyer enters Saturday’s race at Michigan (4 p.m. ET on NBCSN) 14th on the playoff grid. The top 16 will advance to the playoffs. Six races remain in the regular season.

Klausmeier will be able to resume his role for Sunday’s Cup race (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) at Michigan.

Zipadelli, who won Cup titles in 2002 and 2005 with Tony Stewart, will reprise the interim role he played earlier in the season in the Xfinity Series.

Zipadelli served as Chase Briscoe‘s crew chief for four races after crew chief Richard Boswell, the team’s car chief and an engineer were each suspended four races because ballast fell out of his car. Briscoe won three of the four races with Zipadelli as his crew chief.

Team Penske extends contract with Brad Keselowski

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Team Penske announced Monday that New Hampshire winner Brad Keselowski has agreed to a contract extension. Keselowski’s contract was to expire after this season.

A media release from the team did not state the length of the extension for Keselowski, 36. The Associated Press reported that the deal was for one year through the 2021 season.

Keselowski, who won the 2012 Cup title, has been with Team Penske since 2010, winning 31 Cup and 33 Xfinity races during that time.

“We are pleased that Brad will continue to be a part of our organization,” said Roger Penske in a statement. “Brad not only demonstrates talent and skill on the track, but his leadership away from it and his dedication to our partners have had a huge impact in making our organization one of the best in NASCAR. I am proud that we will be able to able to keep the continuity we have with Brad, Ryan (Blaney) and Joey (Logano) and look forward to competing for more wins and championships together.”

MORE: Winners and losers from New Hampshire

Said Keselowski in a statement: I have been racing for Team Penske for the vast majority of my NASCAR career and to continue to represent Roger Penske, our partners and his organization is exactly where I want to be. We’ve accomplished a lot of things together over the years, including winning both the Cup and Xfinity Championships, the Brickyard 400, the Southern 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. Now, my goal is to win the Daytona 500, another championship and continue to build Team Penske into the best NASCAR team in the garage area.”

Logano is signed to at least 2022. In March, Blaney signed a multiyear extension with Team Penske.

Keselowski’s victory Sunday was his third of the season. He’s scored at least three wins in each of the past five seasons. Keselowski is second  in the points to Kevin Harvick.

GMS Racing, Brett Moffitt to honor Jimmie Johnson with special scheme

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GMS Racing and sponsor Plan B Sales have created a special paint scheme to honor seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson on championship weekend in November at Phoenix Raceway.

Brett Moffitt, the 2018 Truck Series champion, will pilot the the specially adorned truck at Phoenix.

“Brett has been a part of the Plan B family and a great ambassador for our company over the years,” said Brent Powell, owner of Plan B Sales in a statement. “Last year we partnered with Brett and GMS for the Phoenix race, but this year is different with it being the season finale and Jimmie’s final (full-time Cup) weekend. It truly is an honor for us to showcase this throwback for Jimmie and hopefully see Brett clinch his second championship in our truck.”

Said Moffitt of Johnson in a statement: “I have looked up to him, leaned on him and had the utmost respect for everything he has done for our sport. This is the coolest paint scheme I’ve had in my career because of how much respect and admiration I have for Jimmie. I’m rooting for him to go out on top, and maybe we’ll both get the chance to celebrate a championship in Phoenix later this year.”

Johnson has announced this will be his final full-time Cup season. He drove a Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar in a July 28 test on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson has expressed a desire to race different vehicles after this season.

 

Cup playoff grid after New Hampshire

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William Byron holds a 15-point lead on rookie Tyler Reddick for the final playoff spot in the Cup playoff grid after last weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Six races remain in the regular season.

Byron finished 11th at New Hampshire, one spot behind Reddick, but Byron extended his advantage on Reddick by five points. Byron scored six stage points, while Reddick scored none.

MORE: Could New Hampshire be a sign of things to come in Cup?

MORE: Winners and losers from New Hampshire 

Jimmie Johnson fell to 25 points behind Byron for the final spot in the Cup playoff grid. Johnson overcame a spin after contact with Clint Bowyer to run in the top 10 but lost four spots in the final 20 laps to finish 12th.

“Good fight today guys,” Johnson told his team on the radio after the race. “Overcome a lot of (stuff) again.”

The series heads this weekend to Michigan International Speedway for two races. The Cup Series races there at 4 p.m. ET Saturday and at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Both races will be on NBCSN.

Ten of the 16 playoff spots have been secured by drivers who have won at least one race this year: Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon and rookie Cole Custer.

Here is a look at the Cup playoff grid. Drivers shaded in green are locked in the playoffs. Drivers shaded in yellow are in a playoff spot based on their point total. Drivers shaded in red are outside a spot in the Cup playoff grid.

 

Cup playoff grid New Hampshire