Haley’s Daytona Win Taken Away For Going Below Yellow Line, Larson Deemed Victorious

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – Friday night’s Coca Cola Firecracker 250 ended a lot like February’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the Daytona International Speedway. Both races ended in a photo finish. Both also ended with Elliott Sadler finishing second by the narrowest of margins too. But, tonight’s race was a little different. See, the battle at the line for that exciting photo finish, well we originally thought that it was for second place.

Justin Haley came out of no where coming off of the exit of Turn 4 and heading into the tri-oval he moved from the top to the bottom lane and went below the yellow line in order to pass both Sadler and Kyle Larson for the lead. That move allowed the 19 year old to cross the start/finish line on the high banked 2.5-mile oval first. 

It was a historic upset right? The crowd was cheering with applause thinking Haley just accomplished a thrilling feat.

But, NASCAR though deemed that Haley’s move was illegal determining that he went into the out of bounds line in order to complete the pass.

Unfortunately for Haley, he moved up two spots for going below the line when he didn’t really need to and went from thinking he won his first ever XFINITY Series race in just his second ever start to finish 18th.

In wake of that, Kyle Larson ended up beating Sadler by just 0.005-seconds for his first restrictor plate victory and second win in-a-row. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver won last weekend’s race at the Chicagoland Speedway too and he’s now taken his No. 42 Chevrolet to victory lane in three races in 2018 and 11 times of his career.

Sadler, had to settle for second for the fourth time of his career in Daytona. He literally tied his teammate Tyler Reddick back in February as the margin of defeat was 0.000-seconds. Combined, he has two runner-up finishes in two tries at Daytona this year and his defeat was 0.005-seconds in doing so.

The Virginia native now has three top five finishes in as many tries on restrictor plate tracks this season and 14 top 10 finishes in 16 races overall.

Christopher Bell brought his No. 20 Toyota home third for his second top three finish over the last three races and ninth top four overall during his rookie season.

Ryan Blaney finished fourth in his No. 22 Ford as he and Larson each led a race high 39 of 105 laps on Friday night.

Kaz Grala rounded out the top five in his No. 61 Ford.

The race went a lot like February too in the sense that the first half of the race was tame by nature. The first 70 laps saw just two cautions, each for stage breaks. But, from Ryan Reed’s Lap 71 spin, it was on from there.

On Lap 81, we saw the first “big one” which saw Austin Cindric get tagged entering Turn 1 which sparked a melee in which Cindric got upside down a flipped. We’d have a 12-minute, 18-second red flag as a result.

Then, on Lap 87, we’d see another three car crash in Turn 3. With three laps-to-go in regulation, a nine car crash occurred in the tri-oval when a few cars tried to go four wide. Reed, Ryan Sieg, Cole Custer and others were collected.

The series now heads to the Kentucky Speedway next weekend.

Coca Cola Firecracker 250 Results

  1. 42 Larson
  2.  1 Sadler
  3. 20 Bell R
  4. 22 Blaney
  5. 61 Grala R
  6.  3 Lee
  7. 66 Hill
  8. 21 Hemric
  9.  7 Allgaier
  10.  4 Chastain
  11.  5 Annett
  12. 19 Jones
  13. 11 Truex
  14. 40 Finchum R
  15. 36 Labbe R
  16. 38 Yeley
  17. 76 Boyd
  18. 24 Haley
  19. 01 Miller -1
  20.  2 Tifft -2
  21. 74 Harmon -3
  22. 99 Black Jr. -3
  23. 93 Green -7
  24. 90 Williams OUT
  25. 00 Custer OUT
  26. 16 Reed OUT
  27. 39 Sieg OUT
  28.  0 Smithley OUT
  29. 23 Elliott OUT
  30. 55 Hightower OUT
  31.  9 Reddick OUT
  32. 35 Gase OUT
  33. 60 Cindric R OUT
  34. 51 Clements OUT
  35. 52 Starr OUT
  36. 15 McLeod OUT
  37. 78 Jones OUT
  38.  8 Bacarella OUT
  39. 18 Preece OUT
  40. 45 Bilicki R OUT

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