If he finds Victory Lane in the GEICO 500 Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Justin Haley will become the seventh driver in the history of NASCAR’s premier series to win in their debut.
Haley will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut piloting the No. 77 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports, looking to become the first driver to win in their first start in over 56 years. The team confirmed Haley would pilot the organization’s single-car ride Tuesday.
“This is a dream come true,” Haley said in a news release. “I couldn’t be prouder than to make my Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut with Spire Motorsports and the Fraternal Order of Eagles.”
Haley will become the sixth driver to compete for the team in its inaugural season.
Quin Houff, D.J. Kennington, Jamie McMurray, Garrett Smithley and Reed Sorenson have each competed in at least one event this season for the team.
McMurray scored the highest finish for the team in the Daytona 500 (22nd).
Six drivers have won in their Cup Series debut, according to research across two racing databases.
The feat was accomplished five times across NASCAR’s first three seasons; twice in 1949 and 1950, and once in 1951.
The last driver to record a victory in their debut was Johnny Rutherford in February of 1963, winning in a Daytona 500 qualifier race.
Additionally, the 19-year-old Haley will race the Cup Series event on his birthday.
Three drivers, according to Jayski, have won on their birthdays. Cale Yarborugh won at North Wilkesboro in 1977, Kyle Busch won at Richmond in 2009 and Matt Kenseth at Las Vegas in 2012.
Live television coverage of the GEICO 500 will be on FOX at 2 p.m. E.T. Sunday.
DRIVERS WHO WON IN THEIR DEBUT
Jim Roper (Charlotte Speedway, 1949)
Jack White (Hamburg Speedway, 1949)
Harold Kite (Beach & Road Course, 1950)
Leon Sales (North Wilkesboro Speedway, 1950)
Marvin Burke (Oakland Stadium, 1951)
Johnny Rutherford (Daytona International Speedway, 1963)
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.