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.”
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.”