The Latest: Cup Series race at Daytona begins a day late

5:30 p.m.

Justin Haley has won the rain-shortened Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway, his first at NASCAR’s top level.

Haley took the lead under warning – Kurt Busch surrendered the top spot when he pitted for new tires and was announced the winner after heavy rain followed two lightning flaws. You will find 33 laps left when the 160-lap race was halted.

Haley was 27th when chief Austin Dillon triggered a 17-car crash which took out nearly half the field and the majority of the top contenders. He passed a number of wrecked cars and then several more that left pit stops.

The 20-year-old Haley won’t lock in a place in the playoffs, though. He is a full-time driver at the second-tier Xfinity Series and was making his third Cup Series start – for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The group’s No. 77 Chevrolet could procure a postseason bid, but only as long as it ends up in the top 30 in points.

Nonetheless, it was a fitting ending for the final July race in NASCAR’s most famous track.

The event, which was postponed a day because of rain, has been plagued with inclement weather and full of unpredictable winners in recent years. It is moving to late August in 2020 – the regular-season finale – included in NASCAR’s major schedule shake-up.

William Byron finished second, followed closely by seven-time Cup winner Jimmie Johnson and Ty Dillon. Manufacturer Chevrolet won for the second consecutive week and took the top four spots.

Ryan Newman was fifth in a Ford.

4:30 p.m.

Drivers Bubba Wallace and Daniel Hemric amused lovers during two lightning delays by throwing a soccer across the track and in the stands.

Wallace and Hemric each had a few errant throws and even got booed a bit.

But it certainly gave fans a reason to stay around for more than an hour with no racing.

3:18 p.m.

Lighting has halted the NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway with Justin Haley at the lead.

The 20-year-old Haley is a part time driver for newcomer Spire Motorsports. He finished second in Friday night’s second-tier Xfinity Series race while driving for Kaulig Racing. This is his third Cup Series start.

Kurt Busch was leading the 400-mile race following a 17-car mess. However, Busch ducked onto pit road for fuel under warning. That left Haley out front, and when the red flag was brought out due to a nearby lightning strike, it left Busch in 18th. As cars were parked and covered on pit road.

3 p.m.

With dark clouds looming and the close of the race in sight, pioneer Austin Dillon wrecked nearly half the field at Daytona International Speedway.

“The Big One” occurred on Lap 119 in Turn 1 and included 17 cars – many of them in the front of the field.

Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon into the front on the exterior and made a hard move left to try and pass the pioneer. Dillon turned left No. 3 Chevrolet, branded Bowyer and then began spinning and carrying out rivals.

“I guess he didn’t want me to pass him,” Bowyer said.

All four Joe Gibbs Racing cars – Deny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and defending race winner Erik Jones – were included. So were Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott.

“I was being aggressive and trying to maintain the guide,” Dillon said.” That’s what you get.”

Kurt Busch managed to make it through the melee unscathed.

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