Justin Haley swung from 3rd to 1st on the final straight-away; Denied win
NASCAR Xfinity director explains the penalty – Haley doesn’t agree with the call
On the final lap at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Larson found himself defending a hornets nest in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Eventually, both lanes came with a head of steam.
He had to pick one. Larson went high. Elliott Sadler filled the low lane. They came off turn 4, door to door. They pinched each other and moved up the banking. They were in a race for the win.
Until they weren’t. Justin Haley swung from the outside second row and filled the space left open on the inside lane. He fooled them both and stole the win!
Until he didn’t
NASCAR quickly ruled that Haley dipped his left front tire below the double yellow line. Per the NASCAR rulebook, it’s illegal to advance your position below the yellow line.
As Justin Haley did a burnout on the start-finish line, he was handed the penalty. Instead, Kyle Larson was declared the winner. Now, NASCAR had two drivers celebrating a win.
NASCAR Xfinity Series director
“The #24 made a bold move to win the race. Which is what you’re suppose to do,” NASCAR Xfinity Series director Wayne Auton.
“Looking at all the video we can. As the rule states, we define it as left side tires, left of the inside line that separates the apron and the race track.”
“The #24 car’s left tires were clearly inside the line. So, we had to make the call. That’s clearly defined on the video in the drivers’ meeting. Plus, all the drivers have been informed of that for a long time here.”
“Unfortunately, the #24 got caught up in it tonight, running his first ever Xfinity Series race. The kid done a heck of a job. None of us want to make that call. But, we’ve also told the drivers, ‘if you think you’re putting yourself in that position, throttle back and don’t advance your position.’ ”
“It’s definitely the right call, per the rulebook. It’s been like that for pretty many years now. He was clearly inside the left line. There’s two lines here at Daytona, two at Talladega. The same rule applies at both race tracks.”
“If your left side tires are inside that inside line then you’re gonna be black flagged. We don’t want to be put in that position to make the call. Especially when a kid might win his first ever Xfinity race at his first ever race.”
What if he already made the pass? Then goes below the line after the pass?
“The rule states, if you advance your position. He clearly advanced his position. It doesn’t matter if his nose is an inch out front or a foot out front.”
After the race, NASCAR officials showed the video to the GMS Racing owner Mike Beam and the #24 crew chief.
“They agree with our decision. They’re not happy that we had to make the decision. But, we had to make it per the rulebook for the benefit of NASCAR racing.”
Did you inform Justin of the penalty before he began celebrating on the front stretch? Would there be an additional penalty for that?
“Listen, the kid just thought he won his first ever race. I’d be excited as heck if I was him. I don’t care what they’re telling me on the radio.”
“The race director said to hold all the cars. Then we also had to figure out who won the race between the #1 and the #42. We’ve had two races at Daytona this year. The last one was 0.001 and this one was 0.005. We had to look at the video.”
Why is it a double yellow line?
“We had a single yellow line originally. Starting here at this race track is where this rule came into play. Going down into turn 1, a car went down on the apron, came back up and had a big accident.”
“We went to a single yellow line. The competitors [said] that it’s hard to see one line. I think it’s been about 3 years now that we’ve had the double yellow line.”
“A lot of time we get feedback from the drivers on a lot of the stuff that we need to do. That was one of the things we took into consideration. It’s definitely made our job a whole lot easier.”
“It’s a competition rule for the safety of the drivers. Nothing happened tonight when the driver went down there. Unfortunately, the rules are what they are for the safety aspect.”
“It’s definitely a plus for all the competitors to know that they don’t have to worry about somebody going down on the apron anymore and coming back up in the middle of traffic.”
When a drivers runs down on the apron into the corner, it puts the lead driver in a vulnerable position. The car on the bottom cannot hold the car down on the flat part of the apron. He’s going to come up into the guy that’s above the line, 100% of the time, into turn 1 and turn 3.
“I only had my left side on the yellow line, not even below it. It’s an amazing moment. But, you know, that’s just how it works in this sport,” Justin Haley told PRN after the call.
Would you say you agree with the call made by NASCAR?
“Oh, not at all. It would be different if we were getting crouched down or something like that. NASCAR says you can’t pass below the yellow line. They don’t classify 2 tires or 4 tires.”
“There was room for me to come up. It’s not like I made a really aggressive maneuver. It’s what happens in big time auto racing.