By Nick Lewis
Justin Haley won the Unhinged 300 at Talladega Superspeedway, marking his first career Xfinity Series victory.
At just 21 years old, Haley has won a race in every NASCAR national series with the Xfinity Series being the last one on the list. Haley had help from his Kaulig Racing teammate Ross Chastain also known as the “Melon Man” on the final restart who pushed him to clear of Jeb Burton.
Burton was battling for the race lead with Haley with five laps remaining in the race when Burton’s teammates triggered a chain-reaction crash while following Ross Chastain in the high line. The crash warranted for a red flag with Burton leading Haley and Chastain for one final restart.
Burton chose the inside lane which lined up Haley and Chastain together on the outside. Burton said he thought the No. 21 of Anthony Alfredo was between Haley and Chastain but according to NASCAR scoring that was not the case.
“I thought before that last caution we were sitting in a good spot,” said Burton. “That last restart I thought that the 21 car was in front of the 10 car. They were on the red flag and when we came back around, I took the bottom because I was like ‘alright I’ll just put the 22 behind me’ then the teammates were lined up so somehow they switched positions.”
Haley was surprised that Burton had chosen the bottom lane and gave Haley his teammate behind him. The win by Haley was the first win for the number 11 car at Kaulig Racing which has been running since its inception in 2016.
Haley said he was joking around that the No.11 car was cursed due to the fact it was the first car running for the organization but the last car to win. Haley took a sharpie before the race and added a small number 1 next to the 11 on the race car to make it the No. 111 and said that he might continue to do so going forward.
After climbing out of his car at the Start/Finish Line, Haley dedicated this win to his former crew chief Nick Harrison who passed away in the middle of last season which was Haley’s rookie year in the Xfinity Series.
“Obviously your crew chief is your best friend especially when you’re on the road this much,” said Haley. “Being able to have that bond with him it was super hard and he loved superspeedway racing, it was his bread and butter.
“I’ve been wanting to get one for him for so long I finally could do it so it’s pretty special.”
Haley’s teammate Ross Chastain was the winner of this week’s “Dash 4 Cash” bonus of $100,000 and he said it was the first time he was happy to finish second.
Kaulig Racing has won half the Dash 4 Cash races that are run each year with Allmendinger winning last week’s Dash 4 Cash at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“The all mighty dollar still wins in the world,” said Chastain. “It’ll go a long way, it doesn’t all go to me, no driver gets all of it. Everybody gets bonuses as a team; it helps the whole program. It makes the bad days a little easier and it helps the bottom line for sure.”
Finishing after Haley and Chastain was Burton, Austin Cindric, Brett Moffitt, Anthony Alfredo, Gray Gaulding, Alex Labbe, and Noah Gragson. Next week’s Dash 4 Cash qualifiers are Haley. Chastain, Cindric and Labbe.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will travel to the Pocono Raceway, also known as the “Tricky Triangle,” sharing a race day with the NASCAR Cup series on Sunday the 28th. The race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.