This past Monday was a busy one for Justin Haley, as the 24-year-old NASCAR driver ran in both the Coca-Cola 600 and Alsco 300, setting a NASCAR record in the process for the most miles completed in a single day.
Justin wasn't initially scheduled to partake in the Xfinity event, as Kyle Busch was set to drive the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing. But, Busch pulled out to focus on the 600, and that opened the door for Haley to take on the challenge of racing nearly 900 miles: 898.5, to be exact.
With nothing but rain for two days, both races were forced to be run on Memorial Day. The day started with the Alsco 300, but the rain came back 40 laps in, so NASCAR made the choice to push back the Xfinity race until the completion of the Coke 600. Haley made plenty of noise during the Cup Series race, as he found himself battling right around the top 10 with less than 30 laps left in the race. The last few restarts pushed Haley back a bit in the final standings, but at the end of the five-hour 600-mile conquest, he nabbed a 15th-place finish.
Not only did he Haley finish on the lead lap, but he also completed all 600 miles. During a post-race interview, the driver of the No. 31 Chevy described just how happy he was with his team's performance.
"We fired off tight today, but the No. 31 team made some great adjustments and had good pit stops," Haley said. "We made it as high as eighth and thought we would get a top 10 there but just got shuffled at the end. A top 15 is not a bad day, but our car was by far the best car we've had all year. We made some major gains today as a team."
To make things even more grueling for Haley, he didn't get practice laps for either races due to the rain. He also had to start the Xfinity Series race at the back of the field, as he was a substitute driver.
Haley was able to put the No. 10 into the top 10 during the final stage of the Alsco 300 but had to pit with 20 laps to go, because his team wasn't sure that he had enough fuel to make it to the end. Pitting cost Haley one lap when the race was over, leaving him at 298.5 miles of the 300-mile race completed. Haley took to Twitter after his odyssey was over to share his thoughts.
"I wish I could've been better for everyone at Kaulig Racing today," Haley wrote. "Cup car had good speed but didn't get the finish we deserved, the Xfinity car was good, I just took too long to adapt and put us behind. Thank you to the fans for sticking the rain out and making this sport what it is."
Haley ended the day with 898.5 miles completed out of 900, which is a new NASCAR record. The previous record of 851.2 combined miles was jointly held by Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick. Ty Gibbs came all so close to nearly having the record along with Justin, as he finished two laps down in the Coca-Cola 600, and ended the night at 897 combined miles. Two of the youngest drivers in the Cup Series really showed their grit and determination by putting up those marathon numbers.
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