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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 caution – Kurt Busch surrendered the top spot when he pitted for tires and was announced the winner after heavy rain followed two lightning delays. There were 33 laps remaining when the 160-lap race has been halted.

Haley was 27th when leader Austin Dillon triggered a 17-car crash which took out almost half the area and the majority of the top contenders. He passed a range of wrecked automobiles and then a few more that left pit stops.

The 20-year-old Haley will not lock in a spot in the playoffs, however. He’s a full-time motorist in the second-tier Xfinity Series and has been making his third Cup Series start – all for newcomer Spire Motorsports. The team’s No. 77 Chevrolet can procure a postseason bid, but only as long as it winds up in the top 30 in points.

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

The event, which was postponed a day because of rain, has been plagued by inclement weather and full of unpredictable winners in the past couple of years. It’s moving to late August in 2020 – the regular-season finale – included in NASCAR’s significant 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 fans during two lightning flaws by throwing a soccer throughout the trail and into the stands.

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

But it certainly gave fans a reason to stick around for at least an hour without any racing.

3:18 p.m.

Lighting has stopped the NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway with Justin Haley in 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 whilst forcing for Kaulig Racing. That is his third Cup Series start.

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

3 p.m.

With dark clouds looming and the close of the race in sight, pioneer Austin Dillon wrecked almost half the area 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 area.

Clint Bowyer was pushing Dillon into the front on the outside and made a hard move left to attempt and pass the pioneer. Dillon turned left No. 3 Chevrolet, branded Bowyer and then started spinning and taking out competitors.

“I guess he did not need 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 is what you get.”

Kurt Busch managed to make it through the melee unscathed.

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