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MECS: Haley wins first Cup race in rain-delayed, shortened Coke Zero Sugar 400

(MRN) Justin Haley scored his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win when he was up front when the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway was called for rain with 33 laps to go.

Haley won in his third career series start driving the No. 77 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports. He also finished second in Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Daytona with Kaulig Racing.

“It’s absolutely a blessing, it’s pretty incredible,” Haley said. “I have so many great people around me…I never even saw myself running a Cup race until I got a call a few months ago to do Talladega. I don’t even know what to say.

“Last year at Daytona I got the Xfinity win taken away from me. To come back and win the Cup Series race is redemption.”

Haley led only one lap, the first of his Cup career.

William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Ty Dillon and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five.

Corey LaJoie, Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Matt Tifft and Kurt Busch completed the first 10 finishers.

Joey Logano and Austin Dillon won the first two stages. 

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Kentucky Speedway next Saturday night.

How Haley Won: Right time, right place. Haley was running 27th before a multi-car accident wiped out a huge pack of cars and was able to cycle near the front of the field. Kurt Busch actually had the lead but pitted when it appeared the race would go back to green a lap later. Haley inherited the lead and then when NASCAR red flagged the race for a lightning strike in the area, he had the top spot and maintained it until the race was finally called for more inclement weather.

Fin Str Car Driver Make Laps Pts Status Laps Led
1 34 77 Justin Haley Chevrolet 127 0 Running 1
2 12 24 William Byron Chevrolet 127 43 Running 0
3 14 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 127 38 Running 0
4 23 13 Ty Dillon Chevrolet 127 33 Running 0
5 18 6 Ryan Newman Ford 127 32 Running 0
6 30 32 Corey LaJoie Ford 127 31 Running 0
7 11 10 Aric Almirola Ford 127 30 Running 0
8 25 95 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota 127 29 Running 0
9 31 36 Matt Tifft # Ford 127 28 Running 0
10 8 1 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 127 27 Running 8

2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Standings

After Race 18: Daytona

Rank Driver Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Points -Leader Stage Wins Playoff Points
1 Joey Logano 2 9 12 2 700 0 7 17
2 Kyle Busch 4 10 15 0 682 -18 5 25
3 Kevin Harvick 0 5 11 3 625 -75 4 4
4 Brad Keselowski 3 7 9 0 613 -87 4 19
5 Martin Truex Jr. 4 7 11 0 597 -103 2 22
6 Denny Hamlin 2 7 10 0 588 -112 3 13
7 Chase Elliott 1 6 7 2 585 -115 2 7
8 Kurt Busch 0 4 10 0 564 -136 0 0
9 Alex Bowman 1 4 6 0 534 -166 0 5
10 Aric Almirola 0 1 10 1 512 -188 0 0
11 Ryan Blaney 0 5 7 1 508 -192 2 2
12 William Byron 0 1 6 3 498 -202 1 1
13 Jimmie Johnson 0 3 8 1 474 -226 0 0
14 Kyle Larson 0 2 6 1 473 -227 3 3
15 Clint Bowyer 0 5 8 0 444 -256 0 0
16 Ryan Newman 0 1 6 0 443 -257 0 0

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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