Justin Haley: ‘In my belief, I still won – unofficially’

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NASCAR had dramatic finishes in back-to-back weeks at Chicagoland Speedway in Cup and Daytona International Speedway in the Xfinity series.

One will be part of the Cup highlight reels for decades. The other might be used by NASCAR to illustrate the yellow line rule.

Justin Haley’s last-lap pass on Kyle Larson and Elliott Sadler was deemed illegal when the left-side tires of his Chevrolet crossed over the double yellow line. Larson, who crossed the finish line behind Haley, was crowned the winner, but one week later Haley still thinks the trophy should be his.

“I did cross the start/finish line first, so in my belief, I still won – unofficially,” Haley said in Kentucky Speedway’s media center after posting the fastest lap in Thursday’s final truck practice for the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225.

On the final restart at Daytona, Haley pushed Justin Allgaier in the outside groove. Haley remained dedicated to the outside lane as Larson pushed Allgaier out of position. Exiting Turn 4 on the white flag lap, Haley was momentarily shuffled to fourth, but that gave him a clear space through traffic to the bottom groove. Like a Jack-in-the-Box, he popped out of the pack and shot past the leaders. – but his momentum carried him across the double yellow line and out of bounds on a restrictor-plate track.

“I don’t know when it sunk in. It’s just kind of how it went. I don’t get the opportunity to go over there in Xfinity much.”

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

In order to progress up NASCAR’s ladder system from the Camping World Truck Series, Haley was given three opportunities with GMS Racing in the Xfinity series. He finished 12th at Iowa Speedway and came within inches of winning Daytona. His last scheduled opportunity will come at Watkins Glen International.

“Those were kind of my three shots to make something happen and if I didn’t, I wasn’t going to go too far in my career. So, I had to make the most of it and I think I have to this point.”

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Kyle Larson wins Xfinity race at Daytona in overtime

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Kyle Larson won the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 in a narrow finish over Elliott Sadler in overtime.

Larson was declared the winner after Justin Haley made a three-wide pass of Larson and Sadler coming to the line and beat them to the checkered flag. But Haley crossed the yellow line at the bottom of the track in the attempt, which is illegal.

Larson swept all three stages of the race and led 39 laps.

“I honestly didn’t even think I had a shot to win that until I pulled over here to the lug nut check and I could see (on) the big screen where he kind of went below the yellow line,” Larson told NBCSN. “A little bit of a shock for me.”

Haley, driving the No. 24 Chevrolet for GMS Racing, was making his second Xfinity start. He was credited with an 18th-place finish.

NASCAR ruled Larson the winner while Haley was celebrating on the frontstretch.

“I just wish NASCAR would … tell us how much of the car we can have below the yellow line,” Haley told NBCSN. “I don’t get this opportunity enough … Seeing the replay there was room for me to go up so I don’t know why they’re calling me like that.”

Haley competes full-time for GMS Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.

MORE: Haley says “BS call”

Sadler earned his fourth runner-up finish at Daytona and his third in a row.

Without Haley’s bold move, the finish looked nearly identical to February’s race at Daytona when Sadler finished second to Tyler Reddick in the closest finish in national NASCAR history.

“I just didn’t know (Haley) was coming,” Sadler told NBCSN. “Just miscommunication between my spotter and myself. I was just trying to really key in on (Larson) on when to side draft. I felt like it was Daytona in February all over again. I hate it for my guys. They work way too hard for me to keep finishing second here at Daytona.”

The final stretch of the race was set up by a 16-car wreck with 19 laps to go that eliminated February Daytona winner Tyler Reddick. Austin Cindric walked away after his No. 60 Ford flipped multiple times.

That wreck resulted in a 12 minute and 18 second red flag period.

The overtime finish was setup by a nine-car crash with three laps left in the original 100-lap distance.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Larson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Larson

MORE: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kaz Grala finished fifth for his second top five of the year despite having to pit right before a restart with seven laps to go in the original distance for a tire going down … Christopher Bell placed third after spinning on pit road in Stage 1 and being called for a pit penalty … Shane Lee finish a career-best sixth in his fifth start … Timmy Hill placed seventh, matching his career-best finish (Daytona, February 2012).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Pole-sitter Ryan Preece finished 39th after suffering a radiator problem on Lap 52 … Ryan Reed finished 26th after being involved in three accidents, including the 16-car wreck … Chase Elliott placed 29th after going to the garage for a bad oil pump belt.

NOTABLE: Elliott Sadler is now tied with Michael Waltrip for most runner-up finishes at Daytona without a win (four).

WHAT’S NEXT: Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway at 8 p.m. ET on July 13 on NBCSN.

 

Tonight’s Xfinity race at Daytona: Start time, lineup and more

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The Xfinity Series competes under the lights for the annual summertime classic with the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

William Byron beat Elliott Sadler to the line last year in a race extended by four laps when an 11-car accident on the backstretch brought out a yellow on the final lap.

Here’s all the info you need ahead of today’s race on NBCSN.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Winn-Dixie District Manager Greg Sanford will give the command to start engines at 7:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 7:49 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 100 laps (250 miles) around the 2.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 30 Stage 2 ends on Lap 60.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at noon. Qualifying is at 2:10 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 3:45 p.m. Driver introductions are at 7:05 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Anthem will be performed at 7:31 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 7:30 p.m. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 7 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for scattered thunderstorms with a high of 80 degrees and a 38 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: William Byron took the lead on lap 98 and survived a green-white-checkered finish to beat Elliott Sadler to the line as the caution waved a final time over the field for a five-car accident on the backstretch.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup

Thursday’s schedule at Daytona for Cup, Xfinity

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NASCAR’s race weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida, begins today for both Cup and Xfinity teams.

Each series will have two practice sessions ahead their respective races on Friday (Xfinity at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) and Saturday (Cup at 7 p.m. ET on NBC).

Here’s today’s schedule with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. — Cup garage open

11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. — Xfinity garage open

1:05 – 1:55 p.m. — Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

2:05 – 2:55 p.m. — Cup practice (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network)

3:05 – 3:55 p.m. — Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4:05 – 4:55 p.m. — Final Cup practice (NBCSN, MRN)

Xfinity teams to honor military units, installations at Daytona with car decals

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For the third consecutive year Xfinity Series teams will honor military units and installations in their July race at Daytona International Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN) with decals on their windshields.

The effort is part of the NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola program.

Xfinity teams were given the opportunity to identify a unit or installation to honor, while NASCAR worked with Comcast’s Military and Veteran Affairs team to match units with remaining teams for the tribute.

Among the units and installations being honored are the USS Arizona Ship-14, the 701st Military Police Battalion and Nellis Air Force Base.

“The tradition of honoring the U.S. Armed Forces on Independence Day Weekend is something our fans have always taken pride in,” said Jill Gregory, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer in a press release. “All across the world, U.S. military units and bases are working around the clock to protect our country’s freedom and this is the NASCAR industry’s way of showing appreciation for that commitment and sacrifice.”

Members from the military bases and installations honored on the cars will be hosted throughout the race weekend through the NASCAR Troops to the Track presented by Coca-Cola program. In attendance will be service members from U.S. Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral in Cape Canaveral, Florida; U.S. Coast Guard Station Mayport in Atlantic Beach, Florida; the USS Georgia and the USS Maryland.

Additionally, Comcast will host 25 service members and their families from Fort Stewart USO, Central Florida USO and Jacksonville USO. Coca-Cola will host USO guests from Joint Base Lewis-McChord inTacoma, Washington and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Other military tributes this weekend include:

  • Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones driving the No. 19 Comcast NBCUniversal Salute to Service Toyota.
  • Fans will “Rise to Honor” service members during the pace laps Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET on NBC).