DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Justin Haley used a late push from Daniel Hamric to edge Kaulig Racing teammate AJ Allmendinger and win the rain-delayed Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday.
Haley shed tears after crossing the finish line, his third victory at Daytona. It was his fourth win in the last last seven Xfinity races on superspeedways and the fifth for Kaulig over that same stretch.
Kaulig claimed three of the top four spots Saturday. The powerhouse team looked set to sweep the podium when Allmendinger turned below leader Christopher Bell with four laps to go and drove by with Jeb Burton and Haley in tow.
The trio looked as if they might stay in line and get a 1-2-3 finish, but Haley had other thoughts. He got a run on the outside thanks to Hemric’s push and powered by Allmendinger and Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports in the final few hundred feet.
Allmendinger beat Allgaier by a fender for second. Burton was fourth, just ahead of Hemric.
It was the fifth win of the season for Kaulig.
The 100-lap race started Friday night but was halted after 19 laps because of heavy rain. Once officials realized the track was going to take too long to dry, they pushed the race a day.
Hemric and Burton notched enough points in the race to secure playoff spots.
Series points leader Austin Cindric crashed for the second straight week. Cindric hit hard into the outside wall on lap 28 after Myatt Snider tapped him from behind in a turn. Several other cars got caught up in the melee.
Cindric had similar issues last week at Michigan, where his crew had to remove his hood because it covered his windshield. He returned to the track to pick up a few more points. He couldn’t do the same at Daytona and finished 39th in the 40-car field.
Michael Annett took another step toward making a full recovery from a stress fracture in his right leg. He finished 30th after getting caught up in an early wreck.
But just finishing the race was progress. Annett had femur surgery in July. He sat out races at Atlanta and New Hampshire. He had surgery during the Olympic break, returned at Watkins Glen and finished 11th on the road course.
He felt fine immediately after the race, but his leg started to tighten a few days later.
“Definitely more sore than I thought it was going to be,” he said.
He sat out two more races – at Indianapolis and Michigan – in hopes of getting closer to 100%.
Annett has a NASCAR waiver that would make him eligible for the playoffs if he finishes in the top 12 in points. He’s currently 13th.
Darlington Raceway next Saturday, the first of three events before the playoffs.
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