Kaulig Racing Delivers Wild Photo Finish at Daytona

Justin Haley

Getty Justin Haley races at Daytona International Speedway.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers got back into action on Saturday, Aug. 28, following a 16-hour postponement due to heavy rainfall at Daytona International Speedway. They resumed the Wawa 250 midway through Stage 1 and fought for the win on the 2.5-mile oval. Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley won the final drag race to the finish line, beating his teammates for the checkered flag.

The final 10 laps of the race featured a wild battle between different organizations. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell had the lead, but the three Kaulig Racing drivers — Haley, AJ Allmendinger, and Jeb Burton — lined up together and made a massive run to the front. The No. 16 of Allmendinger took the top spot and held it until the final turn.

Bell dove to the bottom to try to start a run and take back control, but the Kaulig drivers went three-wide to block every other contender. They remained in this formation around the final turn as Haley beat Allmendinger by a hair while Burton finished fourth.

With the win, Haley now has four trips to Victory Lane at superspeedways in the Xfinity Series. He has two wins at Talladega Superspeedway and two at Daytona International Speedway.


The Defending Champion Left the Track Early Once Again

Austin Cindric

GettyAustin Cindric sits on pit road after a wreck.

Austin Cindric, the winner of the 2020 Xfinity Series championship, entered the Wawa 250 on a mission. He had the goal of winning his second consecutive race at Daytona, as well as rebounding from a crash that ended his trip to Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 21.

Unfortunately for the points leader, his day came to another early end. The No. 2 Chevrolet of Myatt Snider hit the No. 22 Team Penske Ford from behind and sent it violently into the wall. The collision destroyed the front right side of Cindric’s stock car and sent him to the garage once again.

Cindric remains the championship favorite with three regular-season races remaining on the schedule. He has the most wins (five) of the Xfinity Series drivers and has considerable experience in the playoffs. However, the recent spike in on-track incidents opened up opportunities for other drivers. Allmendinger, in particular, took the top spot after finishing second.


2 Winless Drivers Clinched Playoff Spots

Harrison Burton

GettyHarrison Burton races at Daytona International Speedway.

While one winless driver in Haley locked up his first checkered flag of the season to solidify his spot in the playoffs, two others took care of business at the right time. Daniel Hemric and Harrison Burton, who both driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, each clinched their spots in the playoffs with strong finishes.

Hemric recovered from the collision early in the race that sent Cindric to the garage. His pit crew repaired the No. 18 Toyota Supra and then he bounced back from a penalty for a crew member over the wall too early to lock up a fifth-place finish. He now has a secure spot in the playoffs based on his points and the number of races remaining in the regular season.

Similarly, Burton turned in another strong performance as he finishes out his Xfinity Series career. He battled with Bell, Hemric, and the Kaulig drivers in the remaining laps and took ninth, his 16th top-10 finish of the season. He now sits comfortably above the cut line with a secure spot in the playoffs based on points.

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