Justin Haley, driver of the No. 11 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing, is uncertain of his status for a ride in 2021. His win in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series UNHINGED 300 at TALLADEGA will help his cause.
Haley broke away from Jeb Burton on the final lap to take the checkered flag, his first career win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), becoming the third NXS driver to record his initial victory in the series in 2020.
Haley led a total of 17 laps in the 113-lap race, and was running second behind Burton on the final restart, with three laps to go following an 11-car incident which brought out the red flag. Haley pulled away from the pack on the final lap to notch his first NASCAR national series victory since taking the rain-shortened NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 on July 7, 2019 at Daytona International Speedway.
An emotional Haley climbed from the right-side window of his car after the race, with more than one reason to be choked up by the maiden win. Haley’s crew chief during his rookie season, Nick Harrison, passed away unexpectedly on July 21 last year, and Haley celebrated his bond with his former crew chief.
“First of all I want to thank Nick Harrison and the Harrison family,” Haley said. “He started this journey with me last year in my rookie year. Losing him was pretty big. It’s just an incredible day, emotionally. I’m fighting for a ride and to get into a race car next year. Any time you can win it helps. Big hats off to the No. 11 crew and everyone at Kaulig Racing. Matt Kaulig (owner), we love you; thank you so much. I’ve got to thank my whole family. It’s pretty special for me.”
Kaulig Racing teammate Ross Chastain (2nd) fended off AJ Allmendinger to win the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash and come away with the $100,000 bonus.
“I’m so proud of this Kaulig Racing team,” Chastain said. “We came to pit road under green and it worked out perfect. That’s how you draw it up. The caution came out and set us up for track position. The car was fast. When I saw Justin get free of the No. 8 car (Jeb Burton) I knew it was his race. I honestly have never been so happy to finish second.”
Burton finished third, with the remainder of the top-5 consisting of Austin Cindric (4th) and Brett Moffitt (5th).
Haley also won Stage 1 of the race, his second career stage win. Chase Briscoe took Stage 2, his second stage win of 2020.
Rookie Harrison Burton, who had registered a top-10 finish in each of the first 10 races this year, finished 31st after being involved in a six-car incident with 18 laps remaining, ending that impressive streak.
The Dash 4 Cash series will run the final of its four 2020 races next Sunday, June 28 at Pocono Raceway. The four drivers with a chance at the $100,000 bonus, based on their finish in today’s race, will be Haley, Chastain, Jeb Burton and Cindric.
Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR’s biggest and Most Competitive track, will be one of the first sports venues to have a return of fans – up to 5,000 – in attendance for Sunday’s GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race. Set for a 2:00 PM CDT start, it will be broadcast LIVE on FOX, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. Chase Elliott is the race’s defending champion. For information, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.
NASCAR’s modified event procedures, protocols and number of attendees for the GEICO 500 have been finalized with guidance from public health officials, medical experts and local, state and federal officials. In order to adhere to local social distancing guidelines, the limited number of guests will be allowed in the frontstretch grandstands/towers. In addition, there are limited motorhome/5th-wheel camping spots available outside the track high atop the Alabama Superstretch.