A 17-car wreck on Lap 118 of a scheduled 160, considerably narrowed the list of contenders for the win in Sunday’s rain-delayed Coke Zero Sugar 400, but when the race was finally called for weather after 127 laps it was Xfinity Series driver Justin Haley who earned the win.
After the wreck, Kurt Busch emerged as the leader but elected to pit under caution. Just as he and others headed down pit road, lightning strikes within an 8-mile radius of the track placed the race under a red-flag.
Busch pitting had moved Haley’s No. 77 Chevrolet – typically a back-marker in most races – into the top spot. He was running 27th before the wreck.
Since the race never restarted and two stages had been completed to make the event official, Haley was declared the winner.
Haley, 20, is a fulltime competitor in the Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing. He won four races in the Truck Series last season and finished third in the series standings.
One year ago, Haley lost the July Xfinity race at Daytona when he was penalized for passing for the lead after going below the double yellow line, handing the win to Kyle Larson.
William Byron ended up finishing second Sunday at Daytona, Jimmie Johnson third, Ty Dillon fourth and Ryan Newman completed the top-five.
Rounding out the top-10 were Corey LaJoie, Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Matt Tifft and Kurt Busch.