Justin Haley took advantage of a last turn incident involving teammates Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson to win Sunday’s Truck Series playoff opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in overtime.
Haley took the lead coming to the checkered flag after Gragson, running in second, caught Gilliland and made contact as he tried to make the pass. The contact sent both trucks around.
Haley, one of the eight playoff drivers, claimed his second win of the season.
“That was amazing,” Haley told Fox Sports 1. “I knew going in there Gragson was probably going to do something not the smartest. That was going to line us up pretty good. … I saw it coming and I knew we were in the catbird’s seat.”
The top five was completed John Hunter Nemechek, Brett Moffitt, Timothy Peters and Matt Crafton.
Gragson, a playoff driver, finished ninth. Gilliland placed 11th.
Gilliland told FS1 he expected the contact from Gragson.
“Should never have let him get to me,” Gilliland said. “Should have just given him the inside, maybe let him wreck himself, I don’t know. He’s done that to me on like five or six road courses. It sucks. We had the fastest truck and we didn’t win again. I’m going to have to talk to him for sure.”
Gilliland, in his rookie year, added: “I’d go fight him right now, but I can’t. I just need to get my emotions in check and go talk to him. But I’m extremely mad.”
Gragson took the blame for the incident, saying “That one’s on me.”
“I wasn’t trying to take him out,” Gragson told FS1. “Was expecting him just to give me a little bit more room on the bottom. It just wasn’t there. Wasn’t meant to be.”
Gragson also said: “I apologize to Todd, I apologize to the 4 team, apologize to everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports. We’re in the playoffs and I’m trying to get a win. I was squirting the throttle right there in-between (Turns) 9 and 10. … Just wasn’t quite there. Just unfortunate. That one’s on me.”
STAGE 1 WINNER: Noah Gragson
STAGE 2 WINNER: Noah Gragson
MORE: Race results, point standings
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Timothy Peters scored a top five in relief of Spencer Gallagher … Brett Moffitt placed third after starting the day in 17th. … Matt Crafton earned his first top five in four races … Austin Hill placed eight for his fourth top 10 of the year.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Austin Wayne Self brought out the final two cautions of the race for incidents. He finished 21st … Roger Reuse placed 27th after wrecking out on Lap 35.
NOTABLE: Jesse Iwuji placed 25th, two laps down in his series debut.
WHAT’S NEXT: World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 9 p.m. ET on Sept. 14 on Fox Sports 1