Justin Haley wins his first superspeedway race at Talladega
Justin Haley, 18, won his first superspeedway race in his first try in Saturday evening’s ARCA race at Talladega. It was Haley’s second career ARCA win.
Conditions were pleasant for the start of Saturday afternoon’s General Tire 200 at the Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, which could not have been said for the rest of the weekend.
The race was initially meant to start Friday but had been postponed due to rain, and qualifying had been cancelled due to the weather and so the field was set by owner points from 2016.
Thus, it was Dalton Sargeant leading the field away for the first of 76 laps once the green flag dropped for the fourth round of the season. However, it was a short-lived lead as Noah Gragson made it around to lead Lap 1 and then Austin Theriault moved up to the top spot on Lap 2.
Theriault proceeded to lead a single-file train around the speedway until Lap 24 when the caution flew for debris shot out of Will Kimmel’s No. 69 Chevrolet.
All of the lead-lap cars pitted for the first time under the yellow, and it was Kyle Weatherman who won the race off of pit road while pole-sitter Sargeant dropped to the back after overshooting his pit stall and so opted to come back and top off with fuel.
Weatherman led the field back to green with 46 laps to go but Theriault got a push by Shane Lee to get back up front. The field ran two-by-two for six more laps until the big one struck.
Many front runners were taken out in the wreck, including Weatherman, Gragson and Sargeant. The red flag was displayed for approximately 15 minutes before the field got back going under yellow with Lee leading the field around.
Lee led the field back to green with 36 laps left to go and led a single-file train around until 29 to go, when the yellow flew as a couple of crush panels flew off the No. 5 of Bobby Gerhart. Lee again led the field back to green with 25 to go with Brandon Lynn – who had started 20th – on his outside.
Lynn took the lead with 15 laps left to go and held it all the way until the final lap with the field running single file behind him. However, the caution flew when the No. 23 of Bret Holmes got turned into the wall and, due to ARCA’s rule that the race must finish under green, the field got set for a one-lap shootout.
Lynn ran out of fuel under yellow, moving the No. 28 of Justin Haley up to top spot. Haley had started 23rd and had gradually worked his way up to the front during the race.
Haley led the field back to green for a one-lap shootout, and banged fenders with Riley Herbst entering Turn 1, who was also competing in his first superspeedway race. Herbst dropped back to eighth while Haley held on to just finish ahead of Andy Seuss, who took second after starting 33rd.
Unofficial race results:
1. Justin Haley
2. Andy Seuss
3. Spencer Davis
4. Austin Theriault
5. Shane Lee
6. Gus Dean
7. Bobby Gerhart
8. Riley Herbst
9. Tom Hessert
10. Bo LeMastus