Quiet Day Nets Haley His Best Kansas Cup Finish


Justin Haley (51) battles Todd Gilliland Sunday night at Kansas Speedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Justin Haley wheeled his No. 51 Children’s Mercy Hospital Ford Mustang Dark Horse to a comfortable 18th-place finish Sunday night in the AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Haley’s effort tied his best NASCAR Cup Series finish at Kansas as a driver, and also marked the highest-ever result for Rick Ware Racing as a team in the Sunflower State.

The Winimac, Ind., native stayed quiet through most of the 268-lap event, but came to life during the final 100 laps, gaining speed and moving into the top 15 for a large portion of the final stage.

After a final pit stop and using the choose rule to line up 20th for the overtime restart, some wild shuffling over the last two laps saw Haley’s Ford stay inside the top 20, emerging in 18th at the finish line as Kyle Larson won in the closest Cup Series finish ever at the front of the pack.

Haley climbed from his car content, despite the fact he was running up in 13th when Kyle Busch spun on the backstretch to bring out the final caution flag.

“It was a really good day for the No. 51 team,” Haley said after the race. “If we didn’t have that caution at the end I think we could’ve ended up with a few more spots, but it was still a great finish.”

Haley moved up one spot to 32nd in the standings, 153 points behind the playoff cutline, but knows both he and Rick Ware’s organization still have plenty of strides they can make together. 

“We’re gaining [with] each race and it’s been a lot of fun to see the improvement coming out of RWR,” the 25-year-old added.

Haley and the NASCAR Cup Series will return to action Sunday, May 12 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway during NASCAR Throwback Weekend at the historic, egg-shaped oval. 

Coverage of the Goodyear 400 begins at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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