Monday, July 3, 2023

Justin Haley - Unsung Hero

Justin Haley - Unsung Hero

It must have been so tempting to ‘throw it in there’ and possibly take out the front of the field

Justin Haley, No. 31 Benesch Camaro ZL1 #NASCAR
Justin Haley, No. 31 Benesch Camaro ZL1 #NASCAR


An unsung hero is someone or something that has done great work, provided a great benefit, or performed a heroic deed, but has not received the credit or recognition they deserve


By now almost everyone has heard the NASCAR Cinderella story about New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen, the first driver to win a race in his first NASCAR Cup Series start since Johnny Rutherford accomplished the feat 60 years ago.


This three-time Supercars champion, driving for Trackhouse Racing with Sponsor Enhance Health, Project 91, charged from eighth on a Lap 61 restart to the front of the field and won the series’ first street race on the Chicago Street Course in overtime.


Don’t get me wrong, NASCAR Race Mom (NRM) was impressed with the unexpected drive. The racing was even more exciting because the pass for first was not made once, but twice due to an ill-timed caution.


It was amazing racing . . . . . not only on van Gisbergen’s part but on the part of second place finisher - Justin Haley.


Haley started the ‘Grant Park 220’ from 37th after not being able to qualify due to unapproved adjustments.


After staying out at the end of stage two, Haley would take over the race lead to begin the final stage, but would need to save fuel if the remainder of the race were to go green. Haley continued to lead as more cautions fell throughout the final stage, leading a total of 23 laps.


When a caution fell with eight laps remaining, Haley fought to keep his lead on the restart over the No. 91, who had sixteen-laps-fresher tires, but ultimately lost the battle for first. Haley went on to finish second.


It would have been easy to get caught up in the fray as Justin sparred with the world-class driver, van Gisbergen who was on sixteen-laps better tires. However, in a mature move, Justin raced hard but clean.


“Yeah, it was tough,” Haley said. “I put it in the tire barrier yesterday and we stayed up all night. I stayed with the guys through the rain and rewrapped this thing, put a new body on it…


“Obviously congrats to Project 91. It sucks, obviously, where we are right now we don’t have a… we aren’t in position to win every week, so coming that close obviously is not what you want.


“But just really proud of everyone at Kaulig Racing and what an awesome event. Can’t wait to come back next year.”


It must have been so tempting to ‘throw it in there’ and possibly take out the front of the field. In a culture where winning is everything, the clean drive by Justin Haley on the streets of Chicago treated the fans to first-class competition and their fairy tale ending. You have a new fan in NRM Justin Haley.


Enjoy the action below:


source: NASCAR Media

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