NASCAR rookie Justin Haley frustrated after being taken out by champion driver Kyle Larson
Justin Haley stated, “Kyle just came down and put me in danger.”
On Sunday, NASCAR opened the 2022 racing season. And it opened with a bang on the 1/4-mile bullring oval inside the LA Coliseum via the Busch Light Clash.
Watch the Kyle Larson via Justin Haley video below.
The race doesn’t provide points, it;s just a pre-season event. However, nearly $2 million was on the line for the payout throughout the field.
It was also the debut of the NASCAR Next Gen car. The spec chassis is identical from team to team and designed to level the playing field from the super teams to the underfunded teams.
The spec car worked. Justin Haley is the proof of that as he took his Kaulig Racing machine and drove it to a heat race win, grabbing a starting position in the top two rows for the main event. He then found himself battling with 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, Kyle Larson.
With 34 laps to go in the 150 lap main event, William Byron drove it deep into the corner and pushed on the rear bumper of Justin Haley. As Haley was forced up the track, he ran into 3rd place runner Kyle Larson.
All three drivers continued rolling. However, Haley remained inside of Larson down the back stretch following the move.
Larson thought the bump was intentional from Haley. So, as they rolled down the straightaway, Larson turned left. He pointed Haley directly toward the inside wall.
Haley removed his hands from the steering wheel and braced for impact. When the No. 31 tagged the wall, it ripped the left front off the car. Haley was done for the event.
NASCAR was forced to throw the red flag. They brought equipment to the infield to push the inside wall back into it;s proper place. The impact was hard enough to move the concrete barrier several feet out of place.
Justin Haley comments after getting wrecked by Kyle Larson
“The No. 24 got into the back of me and shove me into Kyle,” Justin Haley told Fox Sports.
“Then, Kyle just came down and put me in danger. Not really impressed with the move.”
“It’s hard to be a rookie and gain respect. The No. 18 passed him clean and he didn’t turn down on Kyle.”
“I don’t know. It’s kinda BS but glad we had a fast Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. Now, everyone knows who we are so we’re at least glad that we can show up and put out names on the chart.
Justin Haley added via twitter, “We proved that we belong, and that means more to me than anything.”
Haley is running his first season as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver. He picked up a Cup win in the 2019 July race at Daytona International Speedway.