The Latest: Haley wins rain-shortened Cup race at Daytona

NASCAR Daytona
Posted at 3:31 PM, Jul 07, 2019

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the NASCAR race at Daytona (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Justin Haley has won the rain-shortened Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway, his first at NASCAR's top level.

Haley took the lead under caution — Kurt Busch surrendered the top spot when he pitted for new tires — and was declared the winner after heavy rain followed two lightning delays. There were 33 laps remaining when the 160-lap race was halted.

Haley was 27th when leader Austin Dillon triggered a 17-car crash that took out nearly half the field and most of the top contenders. He passed a number of wrecked cars and then several more that made pit stops.

The 20-year-old Haley won't lock in a spot in the playoffs, though. He's a full-time driver in the second-tier Xfinity Series and was making his third Cup Series start — all for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The team's No. 77 Chevrolet could secure a postseason bid, but only if it ends up in the top 30 in points.

Nonetheless, it was a fitting end for the final July race at NASCAR's most famous track.

The event, which was postponed a day because of rain, has been plagued by inclement weather and filled with unpredictable winners in recent years. It's moving to late August in 2020 — the regular-season finale — as part of NASCAR's significant schedule shake-up.

William Byron finished second, followed by seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Ty Dillon. Manufacturer Chevrolet won for the second consecutive week and took the top four spots.

Ryan Newman was fifth in a Ford.


4:30 p.m.

Drivers Bubba Wallace and Daniel Hemric entertained fans during two lightning delays by throwing a football across the track and into the stands.

Wallace and Hemric each had a few errant throws and even got booed a bit.

But it certainly gave fans a reason to stick around for more than an hour without any racing.


3:18 p.m.

Lighting has halted the NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway with Justin Haley in the lead.

The 20-year-old Haley is a part-time driver for newcomer Spire Motorsports. He finished second in Friday night's second-tier Xfinity Series race while driving for Kaulig Racing. This is his third Cup Series start.

Kurt Busch was leading the 400-mile race after a 17-car wreck. But Busch ducked onto pit road for fuel under caution. That left Haley out front, and when the red flag was brought out because of a nearby lightning strike, it left Busch in cars were parked and covered on pit road.


3 p.m.

With dark clouds looming and the end of the race in sight, leader Austin Dillon wrecked nearly half the field at Daytona International Speedway.

"The Big One" happened on Lap 119 in Turn 1 and involved 17 cars — most of them at the front of the field.

Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon to the front on the outside and made a hard move left to try to pass the leader. Dillon turned left in No. 3 Chevrolet, tagged Bowyer and then started spinning and taking out competitors.

"I guess he didn't want me to pass him," Bowyer said.

All four Joe Gibbs Racing cars — Deny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and defending race winner Erik Jones — were involved. So were Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott.

"I was being aggressive and trying to keep the lead," Dillon said. "That's what you get."

Kurt Busch managed to get through the melee unscathed.


2:40 p.m.

Austin Dillon won the second stage of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway, taking advantage of Chevrolet teamwork to take the checkered flag.

Alex Bowman was second, followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Chase Elliott. The four Chevy drivers worked together — they have a mandate to do so from manufacturer higher-ups — to get to the front and hold off a Ford charge on the outside.

Chevy finished with six of the top seven spots in the 50-lap stage.

Ford driver Clint Bowyer broke up an even bigger sweep with a fifth-place finish.

Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez, both driving Fords, are out of the race following a crash. Kevin Harvick slammed into Keselowski from behind, sending him into the wall and causing others to spin and slide across the track.


1:42 p.m.

Pole-sitter and Cup Series points leader Joey Logano has won the first stage of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

Logano led 37 laps in the 50-lap stage and was the first of four Fords to the finish line. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was second, followed by Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick.

Harvick had the lead on the final lap of the stage, but Stenhouse gave Logano a big push to the front of the field just before the checkered flag.

The second stage is another 50 laps, followed by a 60-lap final stage.


1:15 p.m.

The NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway has started a day later than scheduled.

The 400-mile race, which was postponed Saturday night because of steady rain, began under cloudy skies and with a threat of afternoon thunderstorms.

NBC and NASCAR could have started the event earlier Sunday, but they didn't want to conflict with the Women's World Cup final in France. The United States beat the Netherlands 2-0 for its fourth title.

Back across the pond, the Fords showed their speed early. Pole-sitter Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski led the field in the opening laps.


12:50 p.m.

The start of the previously postponed NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway has been moved up 18 minutes because of a threat of rain.

The 400-mile race will now start at 1:04 p.m. EDT. It's warm and cloudy at the 2½-mile speedway, but afternoon thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Qualifying was canceled Friday because of lightning, and the race was postponed Saturday night because of steady showers.

Team Penske's Joey Logano will start on the pole after the 40-car field was set based on owners points.

Earlier this week, NASCAR adjusted the length of the three stages at Daytona, meaning the race would need to go 100 laps before becoming official. The first and second stages are 50 laps each, and the race can't be official until the second stage is complete. The final stage is 60 laps.


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