As the dark clouds and lightning descended upon Daytona International Speedway Sunday afternoon, Justin Haley climbed out of his No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet feeling like it was perhaps divine intervention. He was first on the scoreboard at the time Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 was red-flagged for lightning 33 laps short of the intended 160-lap distance.
Two hours and 12 minutes later, the 20-year old Indiana native was celebrating his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup win – in only his third career start. It was an unlikely turn of events in a very eventful race.
As Haley stood speaking with reporters during the long weather delay, a team member walked up and hugged him, delivering the career-defining news to the Xfinity Series standout: “You just won your first Monster Energy NASCAR race.”
“It’s absolutely a blessing, pretty incredible that I have so many people around me who have given me this opportunity,” Haley said, just before receiving a hug from his mother, Melissa Dennis.
“I knew eventually we’d be standing there and celebrating a win, but I was definitely not prepared on his third Cup start to be here and experience this,” Dennis said, beaming with pride and conceding she nervously spent the red flag downtime cleaning the family’s motor coach just to keep her mind busy.
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
Since the winner of the Coke Zero Sugar 400, Justin Haley, is a regular NXS competitor who gained three three rides in the MENCS for a brand new and very small team, Spire Motorsports, it is understandable to see why this award goes back on the shelf til next week at Kentucky Speedway.
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS
Snoopy Dawn and Linda R. The Lemonade Lefty had the best outcome of the eighteen fantasy league regulars Sunday. Both Snoopy and The Lemonade Lefty were backing Ryan “No Neck” Newman for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.
Lonna The Quilt Angel had a very good day at Daytona, comparably speaking. Even though she was the second highest scorer with 30 points from Aric Almirola’s 7th place finish, you will later read her fate.
Jim, aka Chiefy, was strapped in Kurt Busch’s copilot’s seat Sunday. When KuBu’s crew chief made the decision to pit on lap 127, after given the one lap to go for the restart signal. Shortly thereafter, the rain began and the race was stopped, negating what was looking to be a really cool pit strategy at that point, relegating KuBu to a 10th place finish. Nevertheless, Chiefy racked up 27 points.
Meanwhile, David The Mudslinging Throttle Jockey and Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff added a very cool 25 points to their bucket this week. Even though these two players scored the same point value, they received their numbers from two different drivers. The Throttle Jockey was rooting for another “mudder”, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and The Sheriff was hanging tight with last week’s race winner, Alex Bowman.
Rounding out the top five weekly scorers is a group of seven players, nearly half of The Redneck Fantasy League, that added 23 points to their totals. Those seven players include Karen The Highly Opinionated Southern Belle, Carlton the Doorman, Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, Jeremy The Coach, Bobby Blue Crush, Dan The Numbers Cruncher, as well as Wild Bill The Pretzel Man.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
This week I had to reach deep to be able to award “The Crappiest Pick of The Week Award”. We have to share the wealth this week and give both Kathy The Church Forecloser and Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head who secured 15 points this week, which on most any other week would be a semi-decent score to have! But this week that score lines them up for this prestigious weekly award!
Lastly, our Quilt Angel remains once again firmly in The Outhouse! Rumor has it that she has ordered some new casual living room furniture and some paint to add some flair to the living area!
Next week NASCAR will head over to the Kentucky Speedway for another try at a Saturday night race.
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!