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NASCAR Xfinity: Justin Haley wins at Talladega

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – JUNE 20: Justin Haley, driver of the #11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, celebrates with AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #16 Ellsworth Advisors Chevrolet, after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Unhinged 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 20, 2020 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Justin Haley took the lead in turn four of the final lap of the Unhinged 300 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Saturday for his first-career NASCAR Xfinity Series win.

“First of all I want to dedicate the win to Nick Harrison and the Harrison family, he started this journey with me last year in my rookie year, losing him was pretty big,” Haley said, referring to his former crew chief who died last year. “It’s just an incredible day, emotionally. I’m fighting for a ride, fighting for the next time I get in a race car next year, so any time you can win, it definitely helps. Hats off to the No. 11 crew, everyone at Kaulig Racing. Matt Kaulig we love you. I have to thank my family.”

Kaulig Racing drivers finished one-two, with Haley’s teammate Ross Chastain taking runner-up honors and a $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus for being the highest finisher among the four drivers vying for the bonus at Talladega.

The other three drivers contesting for the bonus included Chastain’s Kaulig Racing teammate A.J. Allmendinger, who finished seventh. The other two drivers in the running for the bonus, Brandon Jones and Chase Briscoe each were involved in on-track incidents in the second half of the race.

As the Talladega bonus winner, Chastain will contend for the last of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses June 28 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. He’ll challenge the other top-three finishing Xfinity Series drivers from the Talladega race who enter the Pocono race, including Haley and fourth-place finisher Austin Cindric.

Part-time driver Jeb Burton finished third, so he’ll also contend for the Dash 4 Cash bonus if he enters the Pocono race.

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series regular Brett Moffitt rounded out the top-five.

Haley and Briscoe were stage winners in the first half of the 113-lap race, with Haley winning the first 25-lap stage and Briscoe taking the stage-two win at lap 50.

Haley and Michael Annett combined to lead all but one lap of the opening stage. The only lap one of them didn’t lead was lap 15, which was led by Chastain. By that point, Annett had been shuffled back several positions. Haley retook the lead on lap 16 and led the remainder of the stage.

Several drivers not among the early frontrunners pitted during a lap-10 competition, and then, stayed out during the caution after the first stage. That strategy but Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier up front for the restart, with Allgaier taking the lead on lap 30. After Allgaier and Chastain each led briefly, Anthony Alfredo led five laps, beginning with lap 33. Briscoe, then, took his stage-winning lead on lap 38.

After taking his stage win, Briscoe lost several positions on pit road. When the race restarted, he was shuffled out of line and fell back outside the top-20. Matters got worse for Chastain around lap 76 when he was involved in a wreck that also involved Riley Herbst and Timmy Hill.

That wreck was the first of three on-track incidents in the race, the second two resulting in red flags for track cleanup. The second multi-car wreck came on lap 95 and involved Harrison Burton, who won the first of two races a week earlier at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The final caution came with eight laps remaining and involved Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier and Jones, among others.

Gragson led early in the third and final stage that made up the final 63 laps of the 113-lap race and was up front for the caution that resulted from Briscoe’s incident. Gragson, along with most of the race field, pitted during the caution, and Chastain assumed the lead, having pitted just before the caution.

Chastain still was the leader after the lap 95 caution. When the race restarted, Cindric challenged for the top spot, eventually taking it. Then, Jeb Burton challenged Cindric for the lead, taking the top spot just before the final caution. Burton still was the leader when the white flag waved.

Anthony Alfredo finished sixth, A.J. Allmendinger was seventh, Gray Gaulding eighth and Alex Labbe was ninth. Gragson finished 10th, despite his involvement in a late-race crash.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Unhinged 300 at Talladega Superspeedway:

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Posted by on June 21, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,Xfinity Series. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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