Motorsport News

Justin Haley Takes RWR to New Heights at Darlington

Nascar Cup Series driver Justin Haley NKP

Rock the clock and turn back the years.

NASCAR’s annual throwback weekend took center stage for the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway (May 12), and a few underdogs were ready to steal the show.

Top Dog: Justin Haley

Taking a trip down memory lane to when equipment failures were prevalent in the sport, it wasn’t unusual to see a small team driver crack the top 10. But as time has worn on, finances have increased and the larger teams reap the resources, so seeing an underfunded team in the top 10 at Darlington has become a rare occurrence.

Leave it up to Justin Haley to fix that, as a ninth-place finish gave Rick Ware Racing its first top 10 on a non-superspeedway.

Haley’s race reflected much of what we have seen from the No. 51 this season, starting out steady and methodically improving over the course of the event.

The Winamac, Ind. native started out nestled mid-pack in the 28th position. He grabbed three positions before the end of stage one to wrap up the stage in 25th.

After fighting a tight-handling car to begin stage two, Haley once again began to edge forward, surging to 17th when a caution flew with 20 to go in the stage. He wrapped it up in 14th.

Haley dropped out the top 15 briefly in the final stage, but he didn’t stay there long. Despite getting squeezed into the wall by Michael McDowell as the race approached lap 200, Haley began passing some of the larger teams of the sport. With about 40 laps remaining, he cracked the top 10 just as a caution flew for Kyle Larson spinning.

Last week at Kansas Speedway, a late caution foiled Haley’s attempt at a top 10. He didn’t let that repeat.

Haley held steady inside the top 10 to earn a strong finish at one of NASCAR’s toughest tracks.

As NASCAR heads into the All-Star week, RWR’s transactions are paying dividends. As Haley grabbed his first top 10 of 2024, it should be mentioned that RWR has an alliance with RFK Racing, the race’s winning team that saw both its drivers up front.

With Ford finding their stride at Darlington and Haley competing for a top 10 at back-to-back intermediate tracks, the patience at RWR is beginning to come full circle. That should have it and Haley optimistic for the future.

It might get the 25-year-old the fan votes he needs too.

How Does it Compare?

When you look back at recent Darlington renditions, Erik Jones is a common name at the top of the list in most of them. He finished…

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