Justin Haley wins Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, captures 1st career victory (7-7-19)
By: Becca Cottingham
Headline Photo Credit: LA Times
The last July fourth weekend race at Daytona. The big rumor is all vehicle type teams will be working together. Cars are severely hooked up foe the first three laps which is something NASCAR has been trying to avoid. There will be a lot of rearview driving, blocking, and cars working together to try to get to the end without being apart of the big one. The big thing is that drivers are trying to hook up with their respective teams. All of the Fords hit pit road together with fuel only. Denny Hamlin locked it up and almost caused a huge accident. When all of team Chevy and Toyota came to pit road together. This made for a very busy pit road. The end of stage one ended with Joey Logano breaking out and finding help with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to pull in front of Kevin Harvick on the last half a lap.
Chase Elliot brought us to the green flag for the second stage. Sadly surrounded by so many Fords he was quickly shuffled back through the pack. Jimmie Johnson tried making third line to bring him some help.
Brad Keselowski made a statement during practice that he draws a line is not lifting. Kevin Harvick got extremely loose and Brad was still pushing. We then had Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tangle together for a spin out by Stenhouse. That brought out the first official accident caution of the race. Fuel mileage is a huge issue for stage two. With about twenty-five laps to go we got another caution due to a incident involving Kurt Busch getting into the wall. With three wide racing and poor handling car anything is possible accident wise. Kevin Harvick had a huge run and tried to push Brad Keselowski and just did bump Brad Keselowski. Which caused a chain reaction. We had about five cars involved and half of them were Fords. Which means a large part of their “team” took on damage.
The Fords rallies together with about six to go and starts forming a line together. The Fords made a huge push and overtook Austin Dillon. Dillon did not block the line surging. But they battle back and forth with about three to go. They could be running for a win due to weather coming into Florida. Austin Dillon was able to collect himself again and took the second stage win.
We restarted the third and final stage with weather looming. Cars tried settling down but it was difficult with the crews telling them weather could be on the way. The teams are still trying there best to work together as a team. But one move could make a huge difference. That one move was Austin Dillon getting a huge run on Denny Hamlin. So he moved up a line to try to make a go for the first spot again. Then Clint Bowyer made a move that upset Austin Dillon’s car that caught multiple drivers. As soon as they got the accident cleaned up and safe for them to go back racing. Drivers got the one to go and several drivers including the leader Kurt Busch shot down pit road to top off on fuel and maybe tires. Then we had lightening strike within eight miles of the track. That causes the one to go to a come to pit road. This caused some tempers to quickly flare. Cars were parked and the drivers out for a red flag. We had once chance where NASCAR thought we would go back racing. However, lightening struck again and the clock started all over. During that we had another strike that caused the timer to be restarted then the rain came. They had the Titian Jet driers out and ready. But the rain is not letting up enough for the race to be restarted. Justin Haley has won his first race with just three starts in the Monster Energy Cup.
July 13 at 7:30pm at Kentucky “Quaker State Presented By Walmart