Justin Haley completes season-sweep of Talladega Xfinity races
Justin Haley completed a sweep of the NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and earned his first playoff win of the season.
Chase Briscoe, who led 73 of the 113 laps, appeared headed to his 10th win of 2020 but got knocked out of contention following contact with Noah Gragson while the two were blocking.
Haley moved into the lead with two laps remaining and cemented his win when a caution was displayed on the final lap for a wreck on the backstretch.
It’s Haley’s third consecutive superspeedway win in the Xfinity Series this season and the victory advances him to the semifinal round of the playoffs regardless of his performance next weekend at Charlotte Roval.
“We had that penalty there and we struggled to get back – just bunny-hopping. Thankfully Kevin Hamlin, my spotter, was able to guide me through the bunny-hops and be able to go from the bottom (lane),” Haley said.
“We were so far back with 10 to go. Matt Kaulig (team owner), we love you. Three in a row. I guess I told you earlier I wasn’t saying it’s luck but three in a row is pretty hard to do on luck.
“Just super thankful. This is such a blessing.”
Told the last series driver to win three superspeedway wins in a row was Dale Earnhardt Jr., Haley said, “To be in that class is pretty special. This is my third Talladega win. I’m going to have to build a bigger trophy case.”
Michael Annett finished second, Ryan Sieg third, Noah Gragson and Brandon Jones rounded out the top-five.
Completing the top-10 were Daniel Hemric, Ross Chastain, Josh Williams, Garrett Smithley and Brandon Brown.
Briscoe ended up 20th.
“At the end you are doing everything you can to protect the runs and (Gragson) is doing everything he can to make moves. It is just part of racing here,” Briscoe said. “It was exciting, at least on my end.
“I about wrecked two or three times trying to block. It was cool. He had talked to Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) about how to run this place and I had talked to Dale about how to run this place and it was weird because I knew what he was trying to do every time so I was trying to protect it.”
Annett, Harrison Burton, Riley Herbst and Brown and the four drivers sitting below the cutoff line and in danger of being eliminated from further playoff contention following next weekend’s race at Charlotte.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, most of the lead-lap cars pit but several stayed out, including A.J. Allmendinger, who inherited the lead.
Justin Allgaier was penalized for having too many crew members over the wall during his top and had to restart the race from the rear of the field.
On the restart on Lap 56, Allmendinger led the way followed by Timmy Hill. Gragson, the first off pit road, restarted fifth.
With 50 laps remaining, Allmendinger maintained a small advantage over Gragson while Annett ran third.
On Lap 76, as several teams were getting ready to head down pit road for green flag stops and slowing, both Austin Hill and Austin Cindric got knocked out of line and both slammed into the inside retaining wall. Jeffrey Earnhardt also got collected in the incident.
“I had no chance of even making it to pit road. Really unfortunate,” Cindric said. “I really wanted to have a great run. Ran up front all day, unfortunately, circumstances kept me and (Briscoe) from being up front there.
“Really sucks, but it’s part of racing.”
Annett, Ryan Vargas and Haley all were penalized for pitting too soon and will have to restart from the rear of the field.
After the remainder of the field pit under the caution, Brown was the first off pit road thanks to a fuel-only stop. On the restart on Lap 84, Brown led the way followed by Allgaier, Jones, Chastain and Briscoe.
Briscoe powered back into the lead on Lap 85.
On Lap 92, NASCAR displayed a caution for debris on the frontstretch. Most drivers remained on the track and Briscoe still led the way on the restart with 18 laps remaining.
With 10 laps to go, Briscoe remained out front followed by Gragson, Hermric and Chastain.
Briscoe held off Cindric in a one-lap dash to take the Stage 2 win and complete a sweep of both stage victories at Talladega.
Hemric was third, Haley fourth and Allgaier rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, all lead-lap cars elected to pit with Briscoe the first off pit road.
On the restart on Lap 30, Briscoe was followed by Jones, Harrison Burton, Cindric and Riley Herbst.
Jones led Lap 31 at the line but Briscoe flexed his muscle and moved back out front on Lap 32.
With 10 laps remaining in the second stage, Briscoe and Cindric continued to control the race up front with Haley third, Hemric fourth and Allgaier rounded out the top-five.
On Lap 43, Herbst came off Turn 4, was hit by Austin Hill and slammed the inside wall before sliding across the infield grass.
Most cars elected not to pit under the caution and Briscoe continued to lead the way on the restart on Lap 47.
Just as the field was taking the green flag, Harrison Burton appeared to get into the back of Chastain, who turned up the track and was broadsided by Colby Howard. NASCAR red flagged the race for nearly 10 minutes to clean the track of debris.
The race returned to green with one lap remaining in the stage and Briscoe leading the way.
Briscoe took control early and held off Cindric to claim the victory in an uneventful Stage 1.
Jones ended up third, Haley fourth and Anthony Alfredo rounded out the top-five.
Briscoe started on the pole but Gragson led at the line for Lap 1 and Allgaier led at the line on Lap 2 before Briscoe moved back to the top spot on Lap 3 with a push from Cindric.
With 10 laps remaining in the first stage, Briscoe and Cindric ran nose-to-tail with Allgaier third and Haley fourth.
With five laps to go, Briscoe and Cindric remained out front with Haley moving into the third position.
|16||44||Tommy Joe Martins||Chevrolet||113||2:08'44.296||19.033||0.240|
|25||16||A.J. Allmendinger||112||2:07'35.691||1 Lap||1 Lap||24|
|26||4||Jesse Little||Chevrolet||112||2:07'35.777||1 Lap||0.086||5|
|27||93||Myatt Snider||Chevrolet||112||2:07'35.870||1 Lap||0.093|
|28||02||Brett Moffitt||Chevrolet||112||2:07'35.876||1 Lap||0.006|
|29||52||Kody Vanderwal||Chevrolet||100||2:08'48.931||13 Laps||12 Laps|
|30||7||Justin Allgaier||Chevrolet||95||1:53'22.345||18 Laps||5 Laps||1|
|31||6||Ryan Vargas||Chevrolet||92||1:46'51.576||21 Laps||3 Laps|
|32||08||Joe Jr.||Chevrolet||77||1:25'58.787||36 Laps||15 Laps|
|33||0||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Chevrolet||76||1:27'19.778||37 Laps||1 Lap|
|34||61||Austin Hill||Toyota||75||1:23'27.161||38 Laps||1 Lap|
|35||22||Austin Cindric||Ford||75||1:23'28.563||38 Laps||1.402|
|36||18||Riley Herbst||Toyota||48||55'47.572||65 Laps||27 Laps|
|37||15||Colby Howard||Chevrolet||45||45'34.519||68 Laps||3 Laps||1|
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