Matt Tifft

Results, points after Cup Series race at Daytona

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In one of the most unlikely wins in recent NASCAR history, timing proved to be everything for 20-year-old Justin Haley, who was awarded the victory in Sunday’s rain-shortened Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Haley led only the final lap of the event, which was red-flagged because of lightning and then rain after 127 of a scheduled 160 laps. After a stoppage of more two hours, NASCAR attempted to dry the track at times, several more waves came through the area, prompting sanctioning body officials to end the event 33 laps shy of its scheduled 160-lap slate.

Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Jimmie Johnson took the two spots behind Haley, and Ty Dillon made it a sweep of the top four for Chevrolet the top four finishing spots in the 40-car field.

Ryan Newman led a three-car Ford contingent by finishing fifth, followed by Corey LaJoie and Aric Almirola. Eighth-place finisher Matt DiBenedetto was the highest-finishing Toyota driver, followed by ninth-place Matt Tifft and Kurt Busch in 10th place.

Click here for the full results.

POINTS

Joey Logano (25th Sunday) and Kyle Busch (14th) remained 1-2 in the NASCAR Cup standings after Daytona.

Logano leads Busch by 18 points. Kevin Harvick is third (75 points behind Logano), followed by Brad Keselowski (-87), Martin Truex Jr. (-103), Denny Hamlin (-112), Chase Elliott (-115), Kurt Busch (-136), Alex Bowman (-166) and Aric Almirola (-188).

Click here for the points standings.

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Justin Haley wins rain-shortened Daytona for first Cup Series victory

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After leading just one lap, Justin Haley was declared the winner of Sunday’s rain-shortened Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, giving him a win in his third career Cup start and providing one of the biggest upsets in NASCAR history.

The win is the first for Spire Motorsports and comes in its first year of existence. It did not have a top-20 finish in its first 17 races. It’s best finish was 22nd with Jamie McMurray in the Daytona 500.

Haley, 20, is a native of Winamac, Indiana, and drives full-time for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series. He’s only the fourth driver in the modern-era to win within their first three career Cup starts. He’s the first part-time driver to win in Cup since Brian Vickers at New Hampshire in 2013.

Haley inherited the lead under caution when Kurt Busch pit after NASCAR initially declared they would go back to green a lap later. But the red flag was displayed for lightning in the area, stopping the race with 33 laps to go.

Haley was in position to inherit the lead after an 18-car crash with 43 laps to go.

“It’s absolutely a blessing,” Haley told NBC Sports. “It’s pretty incredible to have so many great people around me that have given me this opportunity to come to this level and the stage we’re performing on. … I never even saw myself running a Cup race until I got a call a few months ago to do Talladega. It’s just unreal. I don’t know how to feel.”

Following Alex Bowman‘s win last weekend at Chicagoland, this is the first time two drivers have earned their first Cup wins in consecutive races since Casey Mears and Martin Truex Jr. in 2007.

“The stars aligned,” Haley said. “I didn’t ever think I was going to get redemption back from last year at Daytona when I got the Xfinity win taken from me.”

Haley crossed the finish line first in last year’s July Xfinity race at Daytona, but was disqualified after it was ruled he went below the yellow lines on the bottom of the track to make a last-second pass.

Sunday’s top five was completed by William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Ty Dillon and Ryan Newman.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Joey Logano

STAGE 2 WINNER: Austin Dillon

More: Click here for results and point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Ty Dillon earned his first career Cup top five in his 108th start … Corey LaJoie finished sixth with his first career top 10 in his 75th Cup start … Matt DiBenedetto placed eighth for his second top 10 of the season … Rookie Matt Tifft finished ninth for his first career top 10 in his 18th Cup start.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez were eliminated in a six-car incident with 18 laps to go in Stage 2. It began when Harvick got a run in the tri-oval and turned Keselowski into the outside wall … Notable drivers in the 18-car wreck included Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Ty Dillon, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.

NOTABLE: The lap Justin Haley led in order to win is the only lap he’s led in Cup. The last driver to win a race with only one career lap led was Brad Keselowski at Talladega in 2009 … Haley is the 20th driver to earn his first Cup Series win at Daytona.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “They keep on asking you how you feel and I can’t do anything about it. If we go racing, we go racing. If it rains out, it rains out and we can’t do anything about it. At the end of the day, I was just waiting.” – Justin Haley

WHAT’S NEXT: Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 13 on NBCSN

Check back for more

Martin Truex Jr. leads Toyota fleet in final Cup practice at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Martin Truex Jr. turned the fastest lap as Toyotas took the top four spots in the final Cup practice Thursday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.

Truex’s No. 19 Camry made a lap at 205.936 mph, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (205.738 mph) and Erik Jones (205.724 mph). The No. 95 of Matt DiBenedetto was fourth fastest at 205.381.

Matt Tifft (205.292) rounded out the top five, followed by Parker Kilgerman, Clint Bowyer, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Hemric and Ty Dillon.

In an incident late in the session, Brad Keselowski bumped William Byron,  who was able to recover without losing control of his No. 24 Chevrolet but sustained enough damage for a backup car.

Kyle Busch was fastest in the opening session for Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400.

Click here for speeds from the final Cup practice.

Alex Bowman holds off Kyle Larson to earn first career Cup win

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JOLIET, Illinois – After a nasty thunderstorm Sunday afternoon caused a more than three-hour delay, Alex Bowman stormed to his first career NASCAR Cup win in the Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

After building a nearly 3.5-second lead, Bowman saw Kyle Larson pass him with eight laps to go. But Bowman then regained the lead two laps later and held on to take the win for the first time in 134 career Cup starts.

“I was just tired of running second,” the 26-year-old Bowman told NBCSN. “I didn’t want to do that anymore. This was the last box — aside from going to chase the championship — that I needed personally myself to validate my career.

“This is all I hear, about me not winning a race. Now everybody can stop giving me crap, we finally did it.”

MORE: Race results, points

Bowman, who earlier this season had three consecutive runner-up finishes, admits this takes a big load off his shoulders emotionally.

“We struggled so bad last year and the beginning of this year, I had questions whether Mr. H. (team owner Rick Hendrick) was going to let me keep doing this,” Bowman said. “To be here winning a race in the Cup Series means so much.”

After taking the checkered flag to conclude the 267-lap race, Bowman forgot that the infield grass was so water-logged from the earlier storm and got his Chevrolet Camaro stuck in the mud. He needed to have the car towed out to get to victory lane.

“I’m the dumb guy that won the race and then got stuck in the mud,” Bowman quipped.

It marked the second straight race at Chicagoland Speedway that Larson finished second, having lost to Kyle Busch on the last lap of last year’s race.

“I wish I could have got the win, but still a good day,” Larson told NBCSN. “I felt good about my car, especially on the long runs. … I was actually surprised I even got to him (Bowman). I just thought he was going to check out. He was struggling, we got to him and got by, but he did a good job to regroup and get the win. It was cool to see him get the win. I’m happy for him.”

Joey Logano finished third, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. and pole sitter Austin Dillon.

Logano, who earned his seventh top-10 finish in 11 Cup starts at Chicagoland Speedway, now holds an 18-point lead over Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Cup standings.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Denny Hamlin

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: While Bowman had the best race, it was a great run for Larson and Johnson, who both have not won a race since 2017. … Bowman’s win marked only the second time this season that a driver other than a Joe Gibbs Racing or Team Penske driver has won a race. The only other driver to win is Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott, who took the victory at Talladega.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Clint Bowyer spun into the infield with two laps left in Stage 1. Bowyer had to slowly work his way through the water-soaked grass to prevent getting stuck, causing him to lose significant time, even with the race under caution as a result. Bowyer had another flat tire on Lap 96, making a bad day even worse. Bowyer finished 37th in the 38-car field … Kyle Busch placed 22nd after he had multiple unscheduled pit stops for flat tires and to put out a fire from tire rubber build up in his right rear. It’s just his second finish outside the top 10 through 17 races

NOTABLE: Toyota had won the last four and five of the last six races at Chicagoland Speedway before Bowman’s Chevy won Sunday. … The race was suspended on Lap 12 due to the heavy rainstorm. The delay was three hours, 18 minutes before the race resumed. … Three drivers were sent to the rear of the field at the start of the race: the No. 24 of William Byron (engine change), the No. 32 of Corey LaJoie (transmission change) and the No. 36 of Matt Tifft (pre-race inspection failure).

QUOTE OF THE DAY: This is all I wanted my whole life and I feel like this is a validation for a lot of people who said we couldn’t do this.” – Alex Bowman.

WHAT’S NEXT: Coke Zero Sugar 400, Saturday July 6, 7:30 p.m. ET, Daytona International Speedway.

Bowman received some noteworthy congratulations after his win:

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Today’s Cup race at Chicagoland: Start time, lineup and more

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A year ago, it was all about “Slide Job!” and Kyle Busch‘s last-lap battle with Kyle Larson.

The Cup Series is back at Chicagoland Speedway for the first time since. Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske have combined to win 15 of this season’s 16 races. Will their dominance continue? Or will Victory Lane have a new visitor?

Here’s all the info for today’s event:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Camping World President Brent Moody will give the command to start engines at 2:53 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:02 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 9 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 1 p.m.. Driver introductions begin at 2:15 p.m. The invocation will be given by Glenn Spoolstra, director Windy City Raceway Ministries, at 2:46 p.m. Jim Cornelison will perform the National Anthem at 2:47 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 267 laps (400.5 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race at 3 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. with NASCAR America on NBCSN. Countdown to Green airs at 2:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race. MRN’s coverage begins at 2 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast, which is also available at mrn.com.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for mostly cloudy skies with a high of 89 degrees and a 21% chance of scattered thunderstorms for the start of the race. 

LAST TIME: Kyle Busch beat Kyle Larson in a last-lap duel a year ago. Kevin Harvick was third. 

TO THE REAR: William Byron (engine), Matt Tifft (failed inspection first time)

PROVISIONAL STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup