Justin Haley made his Chicagoland Speedway debut from the sixth position in Friday night’s TheHouse.com 225. Reporting early in the race that his truck was free on entry and tight center, he raced within the top 10 until the third caution of the night on lap 31, when he brought the No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Haley returned to the field in the 14th position, gaining two spots on the restart to complete stage one in 12th. As the leaders came to pit road under caution, the No. 24 advanced to the eighth position. The Winamac, Ind., native stayed focused over the second 35-lap stage of the night to run as high as fourth, but ultimately finished the second stage in the sixth position as his truck began to handle loose on the bottom.
Throughout the first half of the final stage at Chicagoland Speedway, Haley continued to run in the top five, still in contention for the win that he needed to make the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs. Falling back to the eighth position just before the final caution of the race on lap 123, the Fraternal Order of Eagles truck stayed on track under yellow to claim the lead with 27 laps remaining.
Hoping the gamble would pay off, Haley did his best to hold off those trucks that pitted for tires, but the caution the team needed never came forcing him to pit under green for tires and fuel. Haley rejoined the field two laps down, but regained a lap thanks to having fresher tires than the leader. The No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet crossed the line in the 14th position, marking just the fourth result outside of the top 10 for Haley’s GMS team this season.
Though Haley will not compete in this year’s Driver Championship playoffs, the No. 24 team will vie for the Owners Championship in which they are currently seeded sixth.
“We really needed a little luck on our side tonight and it didn’t come. We had a really fast Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevy and when it came down to it we needed to take a chance there at the end to make something happen and get the win. We were hoping for a caution that would put us on newer tires, but it didn’t come and we didn’t get a finish that showed just what we were capable of. This No. 24 team has done a great job this year and we still have an Owners title to race for. The wins are coming and we’ve got the consistency to make it happen.”
- In his first full-time season in the NCWTS, Haley will compete for the 2018 Owners Championship with the No. 24 team. Following Chase Elliott’s win at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year, the No. 23 truck’s points were transferred over, lending to the team’s sixth-place seeding in The Playoffs.
GMS Racing PR