Justin Haley charges to Xfinity playoff win at Talladega
Justin Haley went from 10th to the lead in the final 10 laps to win Saturday’s Xfinity playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway and advance to the next round.
It is Haley’s third consecutive superspeedway win. He won at Talladega in June and at Daytona in August. Only Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had won three consecutive Xfinity races on superspeedways.
“Got this thing into the Round of 8, that’s the most important,” Haley told NBCSN.
Haley was leading when the caution came out on the last lap for a crash on the backstretch that collected playoff driver Harrison Burton and four others. On the lap before, Chase Briscoe lost the lead and hit the wall.
Michael Annett crossed the finish line second but his car was disqualified for failing inspection after the race. Ryan Sieg went from 18th with 10 laps to go to finish second. He was followed by Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric.
Ross Chastain entered the race below the final transfer position. He did not score points in the first stage. He was turned on a restart late in stage 2 and then hit by Colby Howard and scored no points in that stage. Chastain rebounded to finish sixth. He goes into next week’s race at the Charlotte Roval holding the final transfer spot. He leads Burton by seven points.
Haley had a great run late to win his third race of the season.
“Once I got to the lead, I was pretty confident, but I don’t even know how I got to the lead,” Haley said. “I was back there for a good bit and I had to kind of hop my way up there and use the draft. When I got to fifth behind Burton, I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going to ride here and let everyone race, split up and then I’m going to get a good draft and get up there.’ That’s exactly what happened. A good bit of guessing.”
STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Briscoe
STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Briscoe
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ryan Sieg’s second-place finish marked back-to-back top-five finishes. ... Noah Gragson’s third-place finish is his sixth top 10 in a row.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Riley Herbst crashed after contact with Austin Hill. Herbst finished 35th. ... Austin Cindric was eliminated when he was hit from behind as the field pitted under green. The contact sent Cindric’s Ford into the inside SAFER barrier. He finished 34th. ... Justin Allgaier went to the garage on Lap 96 after his car was smoking. He finished 29th.
NOTABLE: Justin Haley’s win means Kaulig Racing and JR Motorsports have combined to win six of the last seven superspeedway races.
NEXT: The series competes on the Charlotte Roval at 3:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 10. The elimination race will air on NBC.