Justitin Haley earned himself the first playoff win of the season after completing a season sweep of the NASCAR Xfinity series at Talladega.
Chase Briscoe who was appearing to take his 10th win of the 2020 season as he led 73 out of 113 laps, got knocked out of the race after a contact with Noah Gragson as they were trying to block the cars following them. Haley took the lead as two laps were remaining to end the race and held strong to his lead when a caution came out in the final lap after there was a wreck at the back.
Haley will be advancing to the semi-final round of the playoffs regardless of his performance next weekend at Charlotte Roval, this win was his third consecutive win in the NASCAR Xfinity series this season.
“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 (the 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, 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.” Haley said.
Michael Anett finished second as Ryan Sieg closely followed in the third place. Noah Gragson and Brandon Jones finished 4th and 5th respectively rounding out the top five drivers in the race. The rest of the drivers who made it to the top 10 were Daniel Hemrick, Ross Chastain, Josh Williams, Garett Smithley and Brandon Brtown. On the other hand, Chase briscoe did not put an impressive performance as he finished 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.”
Michael Annett, Riley Herbst, Harrison Burton and Brown and another four drivers sitting below the cut-off, are in danger of being eliminated in the title chase at the next weekend’s playoffs in Charlotte.
In the first stage, Chase Briscoe took the lead as he held off Cindric to end up on top at the end of the stage. Jones was third as Haley and Anthony Alfredo rounded out the top 5. Chase Briscoe started on top 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 only 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.
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.