The Little Team That Did It



photo credit: Ron Olds (2019 file)

One of NASCAR crown jewells in racing is the July race at Dayton with the high speed, close racing and thrilling big wrecks along with first time winners makes it a crowd favorite. The NASCAR Coke Zero Sugar 400 was cut short by 33 laps due to lighting and foul weather in the area, but that didn’t dampen the emotions of 20-year old Indiana native Justin Haley.

Haley who competes in the Xfinity series, and is currently in 8th place standings in that series was driving for Spire Motorsports, one of the underfunded teams in Cup series that will now have a guaranteed spot in the 16 teams who will have a shot at the championship. This is the first Cup Victory in three starts for Haley.

“It’s absolutely a blessing, pretty incredible that I have so many people around me who have given me this opportunity,” Haley said, just before receiving a hug from his mother, Melissa Dennis.

“I knew eventually we’d be standing there and celebrating a win, but I was definitely not prepared on his third Cup start to be here and experience this,” Dennis said, beaming with pride and conceding she nervously spent the red flag downtime cleaning the family’s motor coach just to keep her mind busy.

On lap 120 the multicar crash that Daytona is best know for “The Big One,” happened when Austin Dillon and Clint Bowyer disagreed over space as Dillon tried to block Bowyer entering turn 1. The crash collected top team drivers Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Kyle Busch.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Coke Zero Sugar 400
Daytona Speedway

1 – Justin Haley
2 – William Byron
3 – Jimmie Johnson
4 – Ty Dillon
5 – Ryan Newman
6 – Corey Lajoie
7 – Aric Almirola
8 – Matt DiBenedetto
9 – Matt Tifft
10 – Kurt Busch
11 – Landon Cassill
12 – JJ Yeley
13 – Michael McDowell
14 – Kyle Busch
15 – Bubba Wallace
16 – Paul Menard
17 – Chris Buescher
18 – Daniel Hemric
19 – Brendan Gaughan
20 – Kyle Larson
21 – Alex Bowman
22 – Martin Truex Jr.
23 -Erik Jones
24 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
22 – Joey Logano
26 – Denny Hamlin
27 – Joey Gase
28 – BJ McLeod
29 – Kevin Harvick
30 – Ross Chastain
31 – Parker Kligerman
32 – Ryan Preece
33 – Austin Dillon
34 – Clint Bowyer
35 – Chase Elliott
16 – Ryan Blaney
37 – Quin Houff
38 – David Ragan
39 – Brad Keselowski
40 – Daniel Suarez