Justin Haley won today's rain-shortened Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. This was also Haley's first NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series victory.
The win is Haley's first and also his teams first win in the Cup series. Spire Motorsports, who hasn't had a top-20 finish in the teams first 17 races this season. It's best finish was with Jamie McMurray who finished 22nd in the Daytona 500 earlier this year.
Haley, who drives full-time for Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is only the fourth driver in NASCAR's modern era to win in their first three career Cup series starts.
"It's absolutely a blessing," Haley told NBC Sports after his win. "It's pretty incredible to have so many great people around me that have given me this opportunity to come to this level and the stage we're performing on. I never even saw myself running a Cup race until i got a call a few months ago to do Talladega. It's just unreal. I don't know how to feel."
Haley took command of the lead under caution when Kurt Busch pitted under caution after NASCAR initially declared that they would go back to green a lap later but the red flag would be displayed for lightning in the area, stopping the race with only 33 laps remaining.
The 20-year old has seen his luck go both good and bad at Daytona. Last year, Haley crossed the finish line first in the July Xfinity Series race at Daytona, but was disqualified after NASCAR ruled that he went below the yellow lines trying to make a last-second pass.
Rounding out the top five on Sunday was William Byron in second, Jimmie Johnson in third, Ty Dillion in fourth and Ryan Newman in fifth.
"The Big One," which we've all came to expect on tracks like Daytona and Talladega occured in Sunday's race with 18 laps to go in Stage 2. The wreck began when Kevin Harvick got a run in the tri-oval and turned Brad Keselowski into the outside wall. The wreck took out 18 cars. Notable drivers included Austin Dillion, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Ryan Blnaey, Kyle Busch, Ty Dillion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series will head into Kentucky Speedway next Saturday in the running of the Quaker State 400 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN and PRN/Sirius XM Channel 90.
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano
Stage 2 Winner: Austin Dillion
Race Winner: Justin Haley