Justin Haley wins at Texas, gets spot in championship finale
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Justin Haley joined teammate Johnny Sauter in the four-man field for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, winning at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night for an automatic berth.
Haley raced to his third victory of the season and second of the playoffs, taking the lead with a half-lap remaining after fellow teenager Todd Gilliland ran out of gas. Haley locked up the second spot in the Nov. 16 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a week after GMS Racing teammate Sauter took the first position by winning at Martinsville Speedway.
“That was amazing,” the 19-year-old Haley said. “I thought we had it lost there. I didn’t quite maximize my pit road (on the final green-flag stop) … This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. To get two Chevrolets — me and Johnny — back to back to Miami, that’s what we want. We’ve got a 50-percent chance of winning it.”
Ben Rhodes was second, followed by playoff driver Brett Moffitt. Gilliland ended up fourth after leading a race-high 60 laps.
“I didn’t know we were close on fuel at all,” said Gilliland, who hit the wall in qualifying and had to start from the rear of the field after his team made unapproved adjustments to the truck. “It’s horrible. I’m incredibly disappointed. I still feel like we could have been faster if I hadn’t wrecked during qualifying.”
Among the other championship contenders, Matt Crafton was ninth, Noah Gragson 10th and Grant Enfinger 12th.
Sauter had an unscheduled stop early after running over some debris and puncturing a tire en route to an 11th-place finish.